Planned for a release next year on PC, Asylum will take players through a decayed and torn setting in which danger lurks in every corner and every room has its own disturbing history to tell. It is currently in development by Senscape, a company over in Argentina that was founded by Agustín Cordes, the talented designer of the cult favorite and award winning Scratches. An interactive teaser for Asylum, which can also be counted as a brief demo, was released for the game last month. In it, players are given a taste of the games unsettling ambiance, which they can expect from the finished product; and after playing that demo myself, I have come up with five reasons which I believe, is why classic horror fans should look forward to the game.
5. It’ll be a first person adventure game.
Say what you might, but I think psychological horror is an experience best told with point and click adventure games. Sure some amazing psychological horror games of all time like Silent Hill or Dead Space are not adventure games, but most of the best games like Penumbra, Clock Tower, Scratches and Amnesia were from the point and click adventure genre; and most were successful due to their first person perspective. Another reason most of these games are successful is due to the fact that unlike action games, you have close to nothing to defend yourself from whatever horror is lurking about. This keeps you always on the lookout and tense at all times.
Another reason why point and click works so charmingly in telling a narrative is the fact that players are more inclined to look for clues and back stories to help them with the puzzles, this in turn also prompts them to get better acquainted with the locations around them, which further draws them into the experience. Most of this although possible, is not common in some action horror games as most of the time you are moving around with objectives in mind and may miss out on some aspects of the games setting.
4. Its being authored by the developer of Scratches.
Although Scratches was a mixed bag in terms of critical reviews, it did what it set out to do and scared players into a cult following with its gameplay that was acclaimed for being a classic horror point and click experience, and in fact the game even won some awards. One of the key members behind this game was Agustín Cordes, who was the designer of the game. He founded Senscape after Nucleosys, the developer behind Scratches, went out of business. Now, Senscape has many talented individuals who are known for their work in many fields such as television and film. With Agustín Cordes to helm the game as a writer and director, it might retain that classic horror gameplay which scratches was known for; and frankly after playing the teaser, I think they are on the right track.
3. The games settings will be huge.
According to the image above and the official FAQ for Asylum, the game will boast a huge setting and Although not every nook and cranny of the place will be available for gameplay, it will feature about a 100 playable rooms with an estimated length of the game to be around 13-15 hours long. This length according to the developers will be healthy enough to tell their story in.
2. The gameplay will be absolutely creepy.
What I played in the teaser, as you can see above in the video, was absolutely creepy. The stellar graphics and details such as the decaying walls and stuttering lights were mixed with the ambient music and sounds for a terrifying result. I could hear the moaning of inmates and their cries for help. That not only had me disturbed but it also made me feel sympathetic towards the inmates, these feelings when mixed are enough to drive anyone paranoid.
One notable moment of the teaser happened when I was examining a teddy bear, whose head had been a little ripped, in the toilet facing away from the blood stained sinks and the broken mirrors. All of sudden the door shut behind me and strange noises started to come from behind… someone was behind me. I slowly turned around and found someone huddled in the corner crying. I could see him only when the light from the thunder outside illuminated him. It was a really creepy scenario, and hopefully there’ll be many more of those in the final game.
1. It takes place in one of the least used but probably scariest locations.
I believe this is the strongest thing going for the game; a hospital of any kind is associated with death and disease. Mix that with the mental aspect and you’ve got yourself a setting which itself is enough to drive your imagination wild, so an abandoned and decaying Asylum is the last place you want to be. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the least used in horror games these days. Sure they might come up in a level or two in some games like Dead Space 2 or um… see how hard it is to remember games from this gen that were set in abandoned asylums? Silent Hill: Origins was in my opinion, one of the games that made well use of a mental housing institute this generation and Asylum looks to be another.
So all in all, these are the reasons that make Asylum, one to really look forward to. It has a talented team working on it, stellar graphics, scary ambiance and a really creepy setting soaked with disturbing history. The game will be out next year and hopefully will be an improvement on everything that made the teaser great. Be sure to try out the teaser for yourself and visit the games amazing website and humorous FAQ.
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