Who would have thought that a simple game with outdated graphics involving a quest for 8 pages of paper while being tracked by a faceless monster using only a flashlight as your protection would turn out to be one of the scariest games of all time. In 2012, gamers were presented with Slender: The 8 Pages. The urban myth of a haunted man who kills those who look him in the face, known as the titular character Slender Man, fuels one of the most critically acclaimed games of the past 10 years.
Fast forward to to 2013 and the “next” installment in the Slender series, Slender: The Arrival. This time around the game is no longer free, and with good reason. Slender: The Arrival brings a drastically improved graphics and phenomenal audio to create arguable the scariest game going. The game presents us with 5 different “levels” as we seek to find out what has happened on our way to our friend Kate’s house. It is important to remember that this is not a defeat the bad guy style of game. This is a turn and run away game. That in and of itself makes this game terrifying.
The first level is very similar to 2012’s The Eight Pages, and feels more like an updated version of the original game. The other 4 levels, however, are completely new and provide great atmosphere to the game. I will say this, if you plan on playing this game to its full potential and to gain maximum enjoyment out of it, you must play it in the dark with headphones on. The audio is where the bread and butter of this game is. The creaks, groans, wind, and subtle sounds scare the piss out of you by building the atmosphere to almost realistic levels.
The controls are about as simple as it comes but that is expected. This game does not rely on you knowing how to hit fifteen different keys in order to make something happen. On the contrary, it wants you completely immersed in your surroundings and sounds as you try to avoid the dreaded fuzzy screen of the Slender Man. The game is almost entirely mouse based and click and interact. Again, this is intentional and does not come across as if the designers were simply trying to be lazy with this. You will find yourself frustrated with some of the places you want to investigate but cannot. Overall, the controls of the game are perfect for this game. I would have like to see a controller option in the game but maybe that will come out next time.
The graphics are a definite upgrade over the first game but they are between Xbox and Xbox 360 quality. My pc is capable of running any game on the market at its highest settings so the issue does not lie within my pc. The graphics though are not a detriment to the game since it is almost entirely atmospheric. When you do see the Slender Man it is perfectly done and causes the fear that it is intended to. Just do not go in to this game expecting Next-gen graphics. The simplicity of the game is what adds to the experience.
The game is still rather short but for $10 you do not walk away feeling ripped off. The game does provide more than simply gathering papers this time around but I really don’t want to ruin the story. Just know that plain and simple, if you have not played Slender: The Arrival, it should be at the top of your list to play. After this, I simply cannot wait to see what the next Slender game brings to the table. A lot of props go out to Mark Hadley for turning an experiment into a legit Top 10 game.
Final Score: 5 out of 5