Ah Slender, that lovable ten foot tall, well-dressed, faceless monster that always seems to be hanging around the woods at night. The popularity of this internet horror has sky-rocketed in the past few years. Endless stories, photographic evidence and even a PC game, ‘Slender: The Eight Pages’, spawned from this creepy looking fella. With the first game being something of a hit, Blue Isle Studios’ created a sequel to the original game, adding a bit more substance to just walking around the woods looking for pieces of paper, but not much.
Ported from the PC version which released over a year ago, Slender: The Arrival makes its console debut on the PS3. The game tells a fairly cohesive story about spooky Slender sightings, possession, and of course, loads of walking away from the man himself. With more environments than the previous game, you get to explore a decent amount of varied areas. From houses and forests, to abandoned buildings, you trek through looking for clues and items to explain just what has happened.
Our story starts, as with most horror stories, with a broken down car. You play as Lauren, a girl who’s come to visit her friend Kate. After you leave you car, you soon reach Kate’s now abandoned house. After searching the home for traces of your friend, you find various wall writings and notes talking of the fabled Slenderman. Soon after entering Kate’s room, you hear a loud scream coming from the back yard. Of course, being the great friend you are, you decide to enter the pitch black woods in search of your friend.
Armed with only a flashlight and your ability to walk, you must search the darkness and avoid a run-in with the suited-beast. While I personally have grown insanely tired of the first-person walking simulator horrors games that seem to be flooding the market as of late, I did go into this one with hopes of being on edge and maybe even actually scared. The latest work from Kojima, P.T, proved that first-person horror could be done right. Unfortunately, the only thing I found scary about Slender: The Arrival is the horrible visuals and clunky controls.
Visually the game looks as if it’s straight from the PlayStation 2 era. Muddy, blurry and with a total lack of anti-aliasing, the game is a complete eyesore. The game looks as if it’s been rendered in the improper resolution. The PS3 holds nothing to the original PC release. On top of the visual short-comings, the framerate caps at around 20fps, and that’s if you’re lucky. Mix that with rampant screen-tearing and sadly you have a extremely ugly game, with poor graphical performance.
The controls are the standard walk-run-and-pick-up-items affair. While they work for the most part, getting your character to run is a battle with the DualShock 3’s joystick. Sometimes requiring you to more or less slam the stick into the up direction; the game seems to allow you to run whenever it feels like it. Mix this with the fact you’ll be doing a lot of running, this can cause some unneeded frustration very early on. Other than the poor use of the sprinting mechanic, the controls just feel as if they were meant for a mouse and keyboard. The look speed and movement feels floaty and sluggish. Much like the visuals, the game just seems like a ‘cut and paste’ port job.
One good thing about the game is the fantastic audio design. Ambient scratches, bumps and creaks make for a tense atmosphere. The sounds are well-crafted and the soundtrack is wonderfully fitting. In fact, the only tense or ‘spooky’ thing I found within the game was the sound work. If you’re a fan of the original Silent Hill series, you know sound design can make or break a horror game. Sadly, in Slender: The Arrival’s case, it doesn’t make up for the rest of the game’s shortcomings.
Overall, Slender: The Arrival is a attempt at horror that falls short and lacks any sort of substance or replayability. The game is incredibly short and, in my opinion, not worth the price tag. If you’re a fan of the Slender mythos, then by all means give the title a go. But given the shoddy port the game received for the PlayStation 3 I would suggest you play on the PC if you have the ability to.