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Xbox Game Pass’ new horror sport is sort of a playable John Carpenter film

A flesh monster appears in Still Wakes the Deep.
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As somebody who loves each gaming and cinema, I’m all the time excited when these two worlds join. Sometimes that’s with nice movie diversifications of video games or vice versa, however I’m much more after I can really feel the affect of cinema historical past in a sport’s DNA. Something like Until Dawn, as an illustration, calls again to the golden age of gory slasher flicks with memorable outcomes. It’s rewarding for me as a fan of each mediums, letting me draw direct connections between them.

I just lately obtained that have because of Still Wakes the Deep, a brand new horror sport from developer The Chinese Room now out there on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC (it’s additionally out there on Xbox Game Pass proper now). While it’s a completely authentic title, it looks like a playable John Carpenter film. Think The Thing on an oil rig, however considerably extra Scottish. While it doesn’t totally stay as much as that pitch, its quick runtime and immaculately gory vibes make it value testing.

Still Wakes the Deep is a interval piece set in 1975 about an oil rig off the coast of Scotland. Players take management of employee Cameron McLeary, who rapidly finds himself on the middle of a nightmare when a catastrophe damages the rig. He’s left making an attempt to flee the wreckage — a tough job made tougher by the truth that he’s being stalked by some form of supernatural flesh beast.

A fleshy monster sits near a door in Still Wakes the Deep.
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The John Carpenter affect is obvious the second the primary monster seems. The mysterious creature takes management of different staff on the rig, turning their our bodies into fleshy puppets that stalk the deteriorating ship. The Thing most likely involves thoughts instantly, and it ought to. Still Wakes the Deep captures that very same sense of paranoia as Cameron watches as his colleagues are slowly contaminated with the plague. It’s grotesque in all the correct methods.

There’s so much to like right here, although there are some missed alternatives as effectively. On the constructive facet, it’s an efficient horror sport full of tense chase scenes and pulse-pounding stealth sequences. The latter brings me again to Alien: Isolation as I cower below steel grates whereas an erratic lump of flesh hovers round me. The formless design of its monsters particularly provides to that stress since I’m by no means too positive when it has its again turned to me or is wanting straight at me.

As for the remainder of its gameplay, you must go in understanding what to anticipate. The Chinese Room is thought for video games like Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, which have been painted as “walking simulators” over time (hilariously, there’s an achievement referred to as Walking Simulator right here that’s awarded for not dash an excessive amount of throughout the sport). Still Wakes the Deep is a little more concerned than that with a give attention to first-person traversal and interplay, however it’s skinny on concepts. It repeats its few gameplay bits like closing valves, pulling levers, and gripping on for pricey life whereas scaling the rig time and again. By the top of its second hour, you’ve largely completed all the pieces the sport has to supply. That repetition cuts into the anxiousness, giving it a mechanical stream at occasions.

A crashed lifeboat appears in Still Wakes the Deep.
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Its promising narrative setup doesn’t solely repay both. At first, it feels just like the story goes for a meaty social commentary on harmful labor circumstances. Cameron and his colleagues are overworked and coping with extremely harmful circumstances with no protections. The introduction of a monster ratchets that concept up in the identical approach one of the best style films use horror as commentary, however it stops in need of truly saying a lot on the subject. Perhaps much less is extra and the palpable stress of traversing a loss of life entice is loud sufficient, however it nonetheless looks like a layer is lacking at occasions. It feels midway between a brainy horror film and a enjoyable however schlocky blockbuster like Deep Blue Sea.

Even with some underwhelming execution, Still Wakes the Deep scratches a particular itch. It has the vitality of the form of gory ’80s horror film that’s full of nightmares born by way of sensible results. Its story might not stick in my thoughts, however its fleshy monster definitely does. That makes for considered one of this 12 months’s most anxiety-inducing horror video games — one which’ll be sure you by no means step foot on an oil rig for the remainder of your life.

Still Wakes the Deep is out there now on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. You can play it by way of Xbox Game Pass proper now.

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