Review – Horror of the Deep

Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that Amnesia: The Dark Descent is one of the most influential horror games of all time. It spawned a new wave of hide and seek horror hits such as Outlast and the more recent Beast Inside. Although, others fail to miss the mark, such as the inferior Outlast 2. Unfortunately Horror of the Deep misses the mark by a pretty big margin.

I wish I could tell you what the story of Horror of the Deep was, but honestly I can’t because I’m not entirely sure there is one. You are dropped into the crypts without any clear objective or context as to what is happening. There’s some poorly written notes hidden around the environment, but they don’t provide anything meaningful nor are they of any interest and I found myself just skipping them entirely.

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Horror of the Deep can very occasionally be scary.

You can feel the inspirations of Amnesia here in every corner. From the overwhelming darkness where light feels like a safe haven, to the anxiety mechanic that messes with your screen. Horror of the Deep does a decent enough job to recapture these mechanics. From a two man team developing their first game, there is some effort put into it which I can admire. Unfortunately, it misses the main reason I play horror games, the fear. You will encounter a number of enemies throughout the game, but anytime I saw them I would just shrug and walk away.

The majority of the gameplay has you walking through ultra-dark areas looking for the exit and picking up keys. It’s not particularly interesting gameplay nor is it scary. Overused tropes are used throughout. Enemies with insta-kill attacks that act like more of an annoyance rather than an interesting threat.

Even trying to explore these areas can be sort of annoying. You’ll get caught on an absurd amount of invisible walls that seem to exist for no apparent reason. Then you’ve got the fact that the pause button doesn’t even work and you will be controlling your character whilst trying to navigate menus. It makes the game just feel really unpolished. Horror of the Deep is also incredibly short, coming in at only two to three hours depending on how often you die. At least the game gives you some really easy achievements.

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The overwhelming darkness and insanity filter just makes everything horrible to look at.

Visually, Horror of the Deep is super inconsistent. Although, there are some decent enough areas others are just blatantly pre-made assets, like the hilariously large keys that you will often need to gather. Then you’ve got the lighting itself. Why do torches only light up a tiny portion of a room? Why is this still a problem in horror games? Often times it can be just difficult to see where you are going for no apparent reason. This is a horror trope that needs to die; making something dark doesn’t make it scary.

Sound design isn’t any better and much like the overwhelming darkness makes another mistake that horror games often make. Once again, loud noises don’t make a game scary. Sure they can sometimes be effective, but they are also tiresome. Elsewhere Horror of the Deep doesn’t make an impact in the sound department.

Horror of the Deep attempts to recapture the magic of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, but it doesn’t quite work. It’s incredibly short and suffers from utilizing too many common horror tropes. The lack of context in the story with meaningless gameplay left me wanting a lot more.

 

Graphics: 3.5

Overly dark and lacking in atmosphere.

Gameplay: 3.0

Dull and repetitive with very little actual horror.

Sound: 3.0

There’s nothing notable about the sound that stands out, except it can sometimes be annoying.

Fun Factor: 2.0

With a paper thin story and nothing unique, it’s hard to recommend Horror of the Deep to fans of the genre.

Final Verdict: 3.0

Horror of the Deep is available now on PC and Xbox One.

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of Horror of the Deep was provided by the publisher.