Darkwood – Xbox One Review
Our Xbox One Review of Darkwood
I do love a good horror game. Whether that`s a full on horror title, one that focuses on a wave of jump-scares and scare tactics as it`s main emphasis, or a survival horror where you must focus to make sure you don’t risk getting killed by whatever paranormal entity is around you, or something that is quite simple and none of the above. We`ve had a range of them on this gen, and we`ve now got another addition to the genre. Darkwood, is a survival horror that doesn’t emphasis on jump-scares. It`s quite simple but effective. In short, I`m quite enjoying it.
Darkwood is a horror developed by Acid Wizards and Crunching Koalas and is published by Crunching Koalas. It is described as a “survival horror that does not rely on jump-scares”. You will for the majority of the game take on the role of a character who is found in the forest (Of course, a very stereotypical and mysterious place for a horror game) and is thrown into a room by Doctor, who has set out to escape the forest and looks to you, who they believe for you to have found a way in, must know a way out. Tortured and beaten and locked away, you`ll need to find and explore your way out, and not knowing what`s in store, you use must your wits to defeat the evil that is present throughout, and more importantly, survive.
Early in the game, you`ll notice something that for me is quite a bit of a bugbear, and that is the length of time it takes to boot up and into a game, and between loading screens. Maybe I`m being a bit too picky, and for some people it won’t be too problematic, but for me, it was something that I picked up on early and bugged me throughout.
Once you get past the loading times and screens and into the game, you get a game that on the concept and the ideology behind it, is very, very good. I love the approach that the developers have taken with Darkwood, and it` not a game that focuses on graphics, as it`s an indie title that has put more focus into the story and creating quite an uneasy and nervy tension for their players throughout. From the birds-eye point of view throughout Darkwood, you`ll explore for objects and things you can use to craft together to aid you throughout, and picking up items and collectibles, all of which will come in handy later. I always like a game that makes you explore, and combined with some good puzzles too – Not so obvious but coming across certain rooms where you have to work out how you`re going to get out of the area and not having such an obvious answer is good, and for me, in a dark environment, not knowing what`s going to come around the corner I found quite tense, and added a dimension to the game.
Exploring and collecting items are going to be a huge part of your game, from things that`ll aid you in weaponry, such as traps and guns, to collecting things that`ll help level you up, such as food. A pretty good feature that I liked is throughout the game you go, you`ll be able to use skills, that you can use to help you throughout, but, and this is the thing for me, is you`ll then need to choose a counter-skill. What’s a counter skill? A counter skill is a skill that the game can use against you, in order to level the playing field out – and offers quite a unique difficulty experience that you have selected. I personally, really like that. I love the fact (A bit mad) that the game wants to balance out that experience for you and choosing the option of how it is going to balance the game for me is a great feature, and a great part of Darkwood.
Darkwood is a game that offers a ton of replay ability and is a great game that I`m quite enjoying at the moment. It`s not your typical survival horror that`ll combine jump-scares all over the place, and I like the approach that Acid Wizards and Crunching Koalas have taken. It`s not going to be for everyone, but unless you were a horror fan, the chances are that you wont have touched a horror game. It`s a game that offers more than typical survival horror elements, and the use of exploration and puzzle for me has been great, and provided a good balance throughout, mixed with elements I`ve not seen before in a horror title. Darkwood is a great little horror ID title and deserves a good reception. If you enjoy horror titles and more so survival horror games, then you`ll enjoy this.