Uncanny Valley PS4 Review

January 27, 2018 by  
Filed under PS4, Reviews & Features, PlayStation

Publisher: Cowardly Creations  Developer: Cowardly Creations  Genre: Horror  Players: 1

Age Rating: 16+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One

Uncanny Valley is a psychological horror game in which your main protagonist, Tom, starts his new job as a security guard at a scientific building that has been closed down for reasons. You’re greeted by fellow security guard, Buck, a heavy-set bloke who shows you the basics, before allowing you to head to your apartment to prepare yourself for your first night on the job.

Graphically the game is appealing; using old-school pixelation gives the game that nostalgic factor which helps to up the creepiness. Subdued music and simple sound effects also give the game a haunting atmosphere, upping the tension and apprehension.

Scary imagery doesn’t mean it’s a scary game.

Unfortunately, while initially the game pulls you in with all these details, you’ll soon find yourself just as quickly pulled out due to the games strange structure. At the start of the game you are advised to play through multiple times, and this is where the issues lay.

Depending on the decisions you make, the story will unfold differently. I played three times and twice got the exact same ending. Considering I had only played three times, I was expecting a different ending for all three playthroughs, considering the ways in which I was trying to vary my gameplay.

Depending on how you play, the story can last from a few minutes to a few hours, though some of the endings feel very irrelevant. Most game plots work towards a conclusion, though here it feels as though some of the endings aren’t justified. I haven’t played through fully, so perhaps all the endings are knitted together to tell a complete story, though somehow I don’t think that is the case.

One ending I got – a minor spoiler – involved a car crash, and all because I stole Buck’s car. I couldn’t see how this random car accident furthered the plot. Was it related to Tom? Something from his past? Did it involve someone he knew? It felt out of nowhere and with no explanation – just a random car crash. After that, the game finishes abruptly.

Then it’s on to the next annoyance – you have to play the intro all over again…. and again, and again, and again. Every time you manage to complete a story, starting over sees you having to replay this intro all over again, with no option of skipping. This diminished any enthusiasm I had to play the game, which is why I only tolerated playing through three times.

Plot-wise, it is as predictable as you would think, and the title is a bit of a give away if you are familiar with the term ‘uncanny valley’. With there not being very many characters to speak of, you’ll soon pick up what has happened at this facility.

There also isn’t much to the gameplay. You pretty much explore, collect certain items, and patrol the facility within a given time limit. Once the time limit is reached, this indicates your shift has finished, and you can either head back to your apartment to sleep, or try and stay awake to explore for longer. Doing this though will result in Tom falling asleep on the spot.

When Tim is asleep, you’ll find yourself thrown into nightmare sequences. These are full of unnerving imagery, but unfortunately it’s not scary at all. The ingredients for a scary game are there – atmospheric, claustrophobic – but on the whole it’s not a game that’ll leave you hesitating to play further.

This has more meaning if you are curious about playing the game.

Mostly you’ll find that there doesn’t really seem much for you to do at all. Days can pass by, if you are playing in such a way that it keeps progressing the story, but you’ll find yourself going over old ground a lot as you try to work out what you are supposed to be doing, which becomes very repetitive. You’ll perhaps find yourself collecting every item available (there’s not many), and then come to a dead end. This is because on certain days, certain events are triggered. You have to try and change your gameplay style in order to see all of this though, and when you find yourself doing the same thing over and over without that desired result, it can become monotonous and very unrewarding.

Uncanny Valley is a game with multiple endings for the sake of multiple endings – there’s no real reason for them at all, most likely being for longevity purposes. It’s also ironic that I say the game feels unrewarding as it is full of trophies to unlock, though these feel very unfulfilling as it doesn’t seem you have to put in a lot of effort to unlock them. Uncanny Valley mostly feels like an trophy unlocking game as opposed to a game with a story to tell.

If you are the type of gamer that enjoys unlocking anything and everything then this game will appeal to you. For others who enjoy a bit more varied gameplay, meaningful endings and a story with more substance, give this game a miss.