Alone in the Dark’s 2024 remake is compelling but rough around the edges

April 14, 2024
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Letting you loose on the Derceto Manor once more, Alone in the Dark is a modern re-imagining of the 1992 survival horror classic from Infogrames, widely considered to be the first ever 3D survival horror game and something of a precursor to Capcom’s Resident Evil series, which debuted later in 1996. It’s easy to count the similarities: the 2D pre-rendered backdrops overlaid with 3D polygonal models, a choice of two characters, tank controls, plus a mixture of puzzle-solving and combat. Pioneering in its day with its cartoonishly exaggerated character models, it still has an eerie charm, even today.

Flash forward 32 years and a lot has changed in the standards of modern game design. This new 2024 release of Alone in the Dark is built on Unreal Engine 4. It also takes a point from the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes in moving away from static pre-rendered backdrops in favour of fully 3D environments. It’s a big change, but a well-executed one from developer Pieces Interactive. Every inch of the estate is now beautifully detailed: the third-person camera lets you take in the brushstrokes on every portrait, every decaying ornament – all flanked by shadows from your clip-on flashlight.

It gives us a modern take on its action, with plenty in the way of weapons to dispatch its nightmarish creatures. Crucially, the focus on puzzle-solving is still in keeping with the spirit of the 1992 original. You’ll navigate the mansion for cryptic clues, you’ll scour chests for keys to doors, or pieces of puzzles that need to be re-arranged. It’s all hugely satisfying once you figure it out – and all of this is built to spec for current-gen PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S consoles, plus PC.

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