Reviews · Video Games

Review: Lone Survivor (PC, PS Vita and PS3)

What is it?

Lone Survivor is a 2012 2D Survival Horror game in the same vein as the Silent Hill series. Developed only by one man, Jasper Byrne, the game has been ported from the PC all the way to the Wii U and PS4. It follows 1 man, only referred to as ‘You’, who’s a ‘Lone Survivor’ (just like the name), as he attempts to escape his Apartment complex, which has been invaded by some unnerving monsters, to say the least. Along the way, some interesting things happen, and the main characters meets intriguing, albeit minor, figures. It really is a game that should be experienced without much knowledge, so sorry if I’m cutting far more information than I should off.

The Port Report

So, I played this on my PS Vita, PS3, and PC. I have only managed to finish the game on the latter, but I’ve played enough on all 3 to say that the differences are VERY minor. All 3 run practically the same, without missing a track of music, sound effects, or even performance issues. The only real difference is in the controls, which are simple enough for this to be translated to basically any platform it was ported to without a major difference in that regard. If you’re struggling to guess which platform you should get it on, just know that there are no real major, game-changing differences between them.

The Director’s Cut does add a few new endings, but since it’s release, essentially all versions are The Director’s Cut, without needing to re-buy what was previously purchased on PC.

The High Points (Pros)

Right off the bat, Lone Survivor has a brilliant, distinctive art style. Yes, it’s all pixel art, but the way it’s done is jaw dropping. Environments feel alive without ever needing to resort to an art style that would do that instantly. When it comes to the sound department, that’s amazing, too. Despite only being 30 minutes-or-so long, the soundtrack here is amazingly done, adding to the already fantastic atmosphere. Sound effects, like those from Monsters, are also amazingly done, too. All of it really adds up to an unnerving atmosphere that did crawl under my skin at moments. What should really be commended, however, is the story, writing, and choices. All 3 tie together expertly, adding a real sense of urgency to the actions players take in Lone Survivor. This game is perfectly ambiguous to make you think a little, but not too much, about what’s happening or happened. The controls are also incredibly simple, without ever having something that feels clunky across all platforms.

In Summary:
+ Beautiful art style
+ Amazingly atmospheric
+ Excellent sound design – from music to sound effects
+ Great story, Choice-Based Gameplay, and writing – all tie together perfectly
+ Good, simplistic controls

The Low Points (cons)

There are only 2 things I can think of here, but both do get annoying. The mapping scheme, and an annoying chase sequence. The game is presented in 2 dimensions, but the maps you’ll use to help you get around are crafted from a top-down perspective of the building, or part of the building, you’re in. While I did eventually get used to this, it took me nearly forever to do so. Then there’s a late-game chase sequence. Again, I won’t be spoiling anything, but it was far more frustrating than anything else. It was a real game of trial and error whether or not I could progress there, and that’s what actually stopped me from progressing for quite some time. That said, you can certainly beat it, and it’s something that only really happens once.

In Summary:
– Awkward, mind-boggling maps
– An annoying late-game trial-n-error chase sequence

Conclusion

Despite it’s awkwardly confusing maps, and that one crappy chase sequence, Lone Survivor is well worth trying. It’s beautifully atmospheric visuals, excellent sound design, simplistic controls, and excellent mixing of choices, story, and dialog make it a strong contender for one of the better indie games out there. I get that what I’m saying here has been said before, but trust me: this one’s worth it.

Verdict: A-

Image used taken from: TVtropes.com
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