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A Fun Yet Horrifying Experience, In Many Ways.
First of all, there are two versions, the Xbox and the PC version. Don't play the Xbox version on a 360 because it increases the anti-aliasing so much the game lags to hell very fast. The PC version was made by one man converting the original source code and is just as good, beside many glitches.

The horror is done incredibly well. The experience combines surprise jumps that get you every time you play, even if you think you're prepared, with a lingering sense of being almost dead, constantly. This is true in terms of gameplay as well, since the health system is designed to be as realistic as possible, which is tedious as hell just like it really is. You have separate healing items for various wounds, which while nice is made quite pointless by the fact you find all of them in the same health kit. Also, take too much damage and unless you're ready to sit and heal in the middle of a fire-fight you'll quickly drop dead of your own accord. Still, this rarely detracts too much from the incredibly fun gunplay and wonderful scripted scenes.

The scripted scenes are amazing setpieces, for example early on when you initially escape the residents of Innsmouth. You have no weapons, and you know you wouldn't be helped by them if you had them. What follows is the most heart-wrenchingly intense ten minutes on video-games, a truly epic race to escape a town of people. The game designers even calculated the amount of time it'd take you to realise where to run next, and timed it so standard players will always just make it. Unfortunately, with the afore-mentioned PC version one final scripted scene is ruined by a simple timing issue, in which you always die unless you hug a certain wall, which is quite sad. There are fan-modifications to solve this issue, but for some the game ends there.

The story is wonderful to witness, constructed from seven of H.P. Lovecraft's best stories, and it really does show. Only the main character's unwieldy voice acting detracts from this, trying to seem like the typical cocky American stereotype but switching at random to a madman for random events. In the end, I recommend this game. It's buggy, it's graphically uninteresting for the most part, and it has some clearly insane puzzles, but in spite of these issues it's an awe-worthy game. Please play it for yourself, and witness the horror. The beautiful horror.
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Disapointing
The pros: the atmosphere in the beginning of the game is excellent. Reading documents, seeing strange things, it all works very well.

The stealth game play works, for the most part. But make sure you enjoy FPS stealth, it's not for everyone.

Some good level design, throughout.

Overall excellent first half (although most of the bang lies in the first two chapters).

Some interesting game design choices that are rarely seen, such as the lack of a HUD and the healing mechanism, makes the game more immersive and seem fresh at first...


The cons: ... but exactly the same things become tiresome and irritating when the game becomes combat oriented.

Graphics are horrible for a game released in 2005. I mean, it looks barely better than Half-Life, released in 98!

The gun play is terrible. A few, boring and generic weapons you used to death in other FPS. Really awful and becomes preponderant in the second half of the game.

Boss battles... well, boss battles will probably seem ok for some, but for others (such as myself), they might seem like the worst part of the game, depending how much you understand of the Cthulhu Mythos. Sufficient to say, anyone who is familiar with it's concepts will feel cheated, as they are played out wrong (I'm being vague for spoilers).

Story development, quite interesting at first, becomes very dull in the second half, where the lack of documents is almost criminal...

The second half is just plain bad, all the tension ebbs out.

The 'twist' ending gives us something so dull and pointless that you're better off stopping beforehand.


Overall: This is a very unbalanced game, which starts with a bang and ends in a whimper. I'd not recommend it, unless you REALLY (I mean really!) like stealth based FPS and / or are willing to endure a terrible and disappointing second half.
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