It has become the fashion recently when rebooting an acclaimed video game series, is to take their setting to the sea, Bioshock did this to great commendation in 2005 and in 2016, The Clock Tower series looking to find fresh footing on current consoles, took the ingredients that made them famous to the high seas, in their spiritual successor to the franchise, Nightcry.
You play as a young Monica, celebrating on a luxury cruise liner. She slips away from a party to find her boyfriend, and after his brutal killing before her eyes, but as the horrific serial killer reduces the population via inventive ways, you must hide and survive and uncover the truth of what is going on.
The game takes on its spiritual predecessor’s defining feature of being chased down by an unstoppable monstrosity yielding a very sharp implement. On the PC, you manoeuvrer by using the mouse in a point-and-click interface. This might not be the most convenient way to move about, but combined with the tension of a constant pursuing force, makes every encounter a terrifying event. You save via charging a mobile phone, you don’t take a charger with you, instead you’re relying on random charge ports lying around. This system evokes the classic Resident Evil typewriter system, and like in real life, you want to save often, because if you screw up, that could be hours of progress lost.
For the slasher fans, Nightcry is a gory experience, if you mess up, prepare for your screen to turn a darker shade of red as you see the characters you’ve grown to love to be reduced to painful pulp. The game encourages you, however, to experience your end in a variety of ways, and rewards you with unique Game-Over screens that can be viewed at your leisure in the main menu. The branching nature of the story means that simple actions you took at the start can be the difference between life and death, a happy ending or an eternal walking limbo. Nightcry boasts an impressive pedigree of developers and producers, whose names you would have recognised if you had played any of the shining stars of Japanese survival horror, names such as Silent Hill, Castlevania’s composer Michiru Yamane and Silent Hill’s monster designer Masahiro Ito, among others bring an impressive sense of atmosphere.
Nightcry is a tense survival horror with an ending that has stuck with me long after I had completed it. With the calling cards of previous success stories fully integrated into its DNA, and fresher ideas from veteran innovators, that makes Nightcry shine on its own. Like its setting, Nightcry is a cruise of a lifetime, that will stick with you for a lifetime.
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