White Night PS4 Review

March 17, 2015 by  
Filed under PS4, Reviews & Features, PlayStation

Publisher: Activision  Developer: OSome Studio  Genre: Survival Horror  Players: 1  Age Rating: 12+

Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One

Do you miss the days when survival horror was survival horror? When you had to be careful with your supplies and the games offered genuine scares? If you answered yes to these questions, then White Night may be the game for you. This is a challenging survival horror game with a striking art style.

The game begins with a little drive on a dark and rainy night that ends with the car wrapped around a tree just outside the grounds of an imposing mansion. You then take control of the hat and trench coat-wearing nameless character, and where do you think you go to for help? The sinister looking mansion in front of you of course. The game is set in Boston in the 1930’s and, with its melancholy script, is inspired by noir. The character gruffly narrates the tale, and you’ll also find documents around the mansion that add depth to the story. The events surrounding the game are certainly dark and mature, and you’ll eventually find yourself following a restless spirit.

It’s difficult for me to go any further in this review without first mentioning the stunning visuals. The game is mostly black and white, and whenever I saw the silhouette of the character walking in the dark shadows, I always thought of it as a very artistic visual. The entire look is very artistic, and, with its unique look and excellent animations, it’s just a strikingly beautiful game through and through.

It’s not long until you realise that White Night focuses a lot on light and dark. You’ll get hold of a box of matches, and you are able to use these to light your way through the chilling shadows. Matches must be lit with a button, and sometimes you’ll find that some of them are duds, forcing you to strike up another one. Another nice touch is that the game, for the most part, encourages you to walk while carrying matches, as running about can lead to them burning out a lot quicker. Matches must also be scavenged for, and you can only carry 12 at once. Fortunately, there are plenty about, but the times that you are running short on them forces you to bring to mind where you last saw some, and it can be a mad dash to get to the area in order to get your matches replenished. The matches certainly prove to be one of your best allies in the game, particularly as spending too long in the dark can result in your death.

You see, there’s spooky ghostly apparitions’ lurking in the shadows of the mansion, and you can’t bludgeon them or shoot them, so the only thing you are able to do is flee from them before they are able to get hold of you. The only way to get rid of ghosts is by turning or aiming lights at them, while the circle of light from matches won’t harm them at all. It certainly can be a panicky situation any time you see ghostly forms roaming about in the darkness.

When it comes to the ghosts though, it’s undeniable that White Night can be trial and error. I found it maddening when I ran straight into a ghost that I didn’t even know was there from time to time, which led to my instant death and a return to the place in which I had last saved. As stylish as they are, the fixed cameras don’t always help either. The game does keep you on your toes though, and these things do add to the tension, and any good survival horror game should definitely have lots of heart pumping tension to keep you alert at all times. There’s still no getting away from the fact that these issues may irk some though.  I would certainly advise you to save as often as possible to limit the frustration.

You’ll be doing a lot of searching around in the darkness in White Light, and this includes solving some puzzles as well. The puzzles are logical and aren’t too tricky, and you often just have to keep a focussed eye on your environment to make sure you don’t miss anything, but there’s still some well designed solutions here. As you would expect, puzzles often have something to do with lighting some of the darker areas, and, as you need both your characters hands from time to time, you may even have to extinguish one of your matches.

As for when it comes to the atmosphere of the game, it’s as unsettling as one would hope. The moody visuals combined with the frequent darkness and creepy sounds effects creates a chilling and ghostly atmosphere, which is obviously what the developer was aiming for, so well done to them.

As their first game, developer OSome Studio have put together an impressive debut release. White Night certainly isn’t without its issues, of which may put some people off the game, but for those that like survival horror and a game that will keep them alert, this is one that will very likely do the trick. Based on this first release, OSome Studio is definitely a developer to keep an eye on.