Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder takes players to an eerie and disturbing corner of the human psyche exploring nightmares, the occult, and a frightening psychological world. The game is filled with terrifying vistas and a compelling plot that … see full wiki
I bought "Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder" on a whim, not knowing much about it and not expecting much from it. It definitely surprised me with some truly horrifying scenes, which I loved, but it also let me down with a horribly done story in addition to some other issues.
You take on the character of Detective Howard Loreid who has been assigned the case of tracking down the missing Loath Nolder. Mr. Nolder, who previously had been a detective, went missing five years earlier after being accused of murdering one of his own clients! While searching for Nolder, Howard is plagued with many nightmares, which distort his vision of what is real and what is not. When he starts to encounter terrifyingly weird occurrences during his investigation, he has to determine if he is going mad or if there really is a force working against him.
Although this story can sound incredibly intriguing and fascinating at the beginning, once you actually delve into the plot, which had fantastic potential, everything simply falls apart. There are so many plot lines that spring up, never to be discussed again. Also about halfway through the game, Loath Nolder is never discussed again, making it seem like you're not even looking for him anymore even though searching for him is supposed to be the main quest-it's even in the title of the game! His disappearance, like many other things, is never resolved in the game, and everything was confusing about the story the by the end, nothing made any sense whatsoever. There were so many loose ends and unanswered questions that were simply left untouched by this truly atrocious story.
This game is a first person, point-and-click adventure game with a 360° pan. Now, sometimes 360° panning can completely ruin an adventure game, making it nearly impossible to navigate and pick up inventory items; however, in this game, the panning was a fantastic element that added to the game immensely!
It really wasn't hard to find items at all, with the rare exception of a few items near the end of the game. Another thing that wasn't particularly difficult was the puzzles. They may not be solved right away, but provided you use logic and think about them, they should be very solvable.
I will confess to using a walkthrough near the last third of the game, but this wasn't because the inventory items were particularly hard to find or the puzzles were extremely challenging. I used the walkthrough because there were so many large locations with no real direction as to what you are supposed to do next, and I got a bit overwhelmed, lost, and confused.
There was a hint system in the game that was supposed to help you whenever you were stuck, but it seems that hints have only been programmed to pop up when the developers felt like you might need one. In other words, hints aren't provided throughout the game, only at certain times.
There are three main levels. The easiest has easier puzzles and more hints, the hard has harder puzzles and no hints, while the level in between has hints provided only when you go a certain time without doing the right thing and easy puzzles.
Your inventory interface contains all of the items you've collected in the game (including a cell phone which you rarely use) and a "brain" section. In the "brain" section, you can combine inventory items or ideas to create new items or ideas.
The horror element of the game was fantastic, I thought! You have the constant feeling that something is going to jump out at you, and unlike many other horror adventure games, things consistently DO jump out at you. You usually lose control of your character before anything spooky happens, but it's creepy nonetheless.
I thought that the graphics were pretty amazing in this game! The environments may have lacked enough lighting to really see, but then again, that really added to the atmosphere of the game.
The music didn't play constantly, but when it did, it was very creepy in a mourning kind of way, and it also set the atmosphere of the game.
The voice acting was very, very good. There wasn't too much of it throughout the game, but when it was there, I thought it was well done.
The game definitely has a lot of pros, such as the fantastic graphics and sound, above average gameplay, and strong length (which was about 8 hours using a walktrhough for the last third of the game). Unfortunately, the horrid story, overwhelming aspects, and overall confusing nature just took too much away from the game for me.
There is a definite replay value to the game since after you complete it, you are told how many easter eggs, hidden clues, etc. you found. I had found a vast minority, and if I were to replay the game, I would definitely strive for finding the hidden areas. However, because the story made no sense and seems to change throughout the game, I'm not sure I ever will play this game again, and I'm not sure that I could recommend it for others to play.
If you enjoyed Scratches, you may very well enjoy this game; just be forewarned that the plot is absolutely horrible.
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