Alone In The Dark 5 Review

Alone In The Dark 5 (2008)

Developed by: Eden Games
Published by: Atari

Survival horror is a dying breed. At least in the sense of what used to be. These days, it's mostly about regenerating health, large inventories, constant checkpoints, and retarded amounts of ammo. Interestingly enough, this game takes the best of both worlds and tries to make it work.

In Alone In The Dark 5 for Windows PC, you play as Edward Carnby, a paranormal investigator with amnesia.

One of the things I really like about this game is how the story pans out. It's dark and mysterious. You begin the game with no knowledge of anything, except the fact that you're about to die, and then suddenly you're caught up in a situation involving strange fissures in the walls and ground, demonic possessions, and a burning hotel. It's bedlam at its best.

There are a multitude of characters you interact with in the beginning scenes alone, but they mostly die. There's also a particular demon that seems to know Edward and claims to have possessed him previously. I won't go further into the story as it begins to get really weird after you make it out of the parking garage and, well, let's just say all hell breaks loose.

And speaking of Edward, as a protagonist, I really did like the character. He's gruff, he's cold, he's fun. But most of all, he's kind of a bad ass. And there's an interesting reveal about his character early in the game that I won't give away. Let's just say he's obviously been taking his vitamins.

The atmosphere is dark and depressing. It certainly fits what you would want for a survival horror game. The first moments you begin playing are rife with fire and death and mayhem, but when you get outside, it really gets going. The enemies you encounter fit the scenario brilliantly. Possessed humans covered with fissures. Flying bat monsters. It just keeps getting crazier and crazier.

Another beautiful aspect of the game is the music. There is a (totally fucking bananas) driving scene in the game where you are literally outrunning the apocalypse where you will hear one of the greatest tracks to ever get your blood pumping.

The only real downfall to Alone In The Dark 5 is while the game is definitely exhilarating, it can get frustrating dealing with the controls. That was probably the only issue I had with the game. The controls can be a real bitch. This is sad, because the game does try to take a  more innovative approach to the survival horror genre by allowing you to switch between first and third person views. The problem is you're not able to do much in first person besides aim and shoot. Plan on wielding a melee weapon? Not in first person, you're not.

And third person is no real picnic as you have the ability (which, again, could have been grand) to affect the angle at which you hold your item. You can switch between horizontal or vertical strikes, but you better make sure you've figured out the angles well, because if you don't have your mouse positioned right, you won't be swinging anything. Or, at best, you're not going to perform the attack you wanted.

On the objective plus side, though, this does provide more depth in some of the puzzles, such as relying on a long object to move electric wiring or setting something on fire.

Usually, I don't have an issue with the classic "tank style" controls of survival horror, but it becomes confusing when you play a game with such a blend in control schematics. Objectively, there are various ways this could have been a better game, but the main issue is the controls.

At the least, there's a rather interesting inventory system based on real-time slots on your person. You have extremely limited space with which to hold items and it makes looting all the more interesting.

From what I understand, Alone In The Dark 5 isn't a bad game, so long as you play on a console. For PC, though, the controls will most likely piss you off until you all but master the game within the first chapter or two. Other than that, the graphics really aren't bad, especially for 2008. The story seems good and interesting. The game, overall, just seems like a port that should have been streamlined better. If you're looking for a survival horror with better controls and equal or better atmosphere, I'd suggest Alan Wake.





Overall Rating: Hell on Earth

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