Slender: The Arrival Video Game Review
Written by John Colianni
Released by Blue Isle Studios
Developed by Blue Isle Studios
2015, Rated M
Game released on March 25th, 2015
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, XBox 360, XBox One
Video games will always be a unique form of media. Unlike film or print, the sole purpose of video games are to generate a response from those that are playing them. Whether it's moving pixels on a screen in Pong or exploring elaborately created open worlds, the user's interaction are what drive developers to constantly make new experiences in hopes to generate attention from different audiences. While gaming as a whole has become exponentially more complex, from their very creation to the controls used to play them, making them as complicated as they can be isn't always the best way to go. Sometimes simple mechanics combined with great story writing and just the right amount of atmosphere can be the perfect amount of intriguing and scary. This is what had me excited to play Blue Isle Studios' Slender: The Arrival on the Xbox One.
If Slender sounds at all familiar, it is because Slender: The Arrival is actually the sequel to Parsec Productions' Slender: The Eight Pages. The story abruptly starts as you play as the protagonist Lauren who is visiting her friend Kate. After a a tree happens to crush Lauren's car upon parking, the player begins to explore Lauren's abandon house. Wandering from room to room, you eventually find a flashlight that will aid in exploring areas and find clues to your friend's sudden disappearance. After visiting all of the rooms, you hear a faint scream come from beyond the backyard of Kate's house. Only now do the mysteries and horrors of Slender: The Arrival begin.
The mechanics of Slender: The Arrival follow the same recipe as its predecessor. It is a first person, interactive experience, where the player explores various areas, picking up pages and unraveling exactly what has happened to your friend and avoiding Slender Man. Focusing your light can better help detect clues in the different environments as well as ward off certain enemies. The beauty of Slender: The Arrival is its initial immersion into the world you're exploring. The soundtrack adds perfectly to the intense mood of the game. There is a feeling of helplessness and your quickly learn that although it may seem you're alone, what lies in the dark has other plans for you. The graphics are updated since this has been ported over from the Xbox 360 and everything runs smooth throughout your exploration of the world you're in. One of my main criticisms is that the game can become quite repetitive, as you're moving from area to area, collecting pages and running from enemies. Because of this, the game doesn't have the replay value that many others do. Games such as these tend to be a one-off for me.
If you're looking to scare the ever-living crap out of yourself while you're alone one of these nights, turn out the lights, crank up your speakers and don't hesitate to give Slender: The Arrival a shot. While it may not be a game you spend a ton of time with, the story is decent, the game play is solid and you'll be jumping and screaming to yourself while you're running into the night from Slender Man (who by the way looks like some pasty anorexic dude in a tux). If you're a fan of the lore of Slender Man and want to add to your experience that you had from playing Slender: The Eight Pages, this is the game for you. If you're looking for an online game where you can belittle third graders with obscenities about how fat their mothers are, all while shooting and blowing things up, you may want to give this one a pass.