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2Dark Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . While far from perfect, I'm glad I saw 2Dark through to the end. I like a lot of the stealth elements and puzzle solving, and I even got into its gruesome story. With its dark subject matter and violence towards children, I can see how this might not be for everybody. This is not a bright and cheerful story, and horror fans will probably get a kick out of some of the twists and turns. There are some interesting ideas in 2Dark that are never fully realized. Rating: 64%
2Dark
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  • Review Score:

  • B-
I'm not going to lie, I kind of hated 2Dark when I first started playing. It's not the subject matter or even the gameplay, but rather that I kept stumbling into trap doors and spikes that killed me in a single hit. I spent most of the first hour angry at how cheap it all felt, to the point where I wasn't even sure I wanted to keep playing. Looking back at it now, I'm glad I did. After my eyes adjusted to the darkness and I started to be a little more careful, I found that Gloomywood's newest game is a gruesome and compelling adventure that I mostly enjoyed.

Set in the mid-1970s, 2Dark tells the story of a father who whose kids are abducted and wife murdered on what should have been a fun camping trip. Obviously, this is not the kind of thing that's easy to get over, and he's spent much of his life trying to figure out what happened and holding out hope that his children are still alive. This sends him on horror-fueled quest to gather clues and finally put this chapter of his life behind him.


At its core, 2Dark is a retro-inspired stealth adventure game that has you picking up items and scouring the different locations for clues. We start out in what appears to be an old abandoned carnival, but something fishy is going on and it's up to you to investigate. This leads to a trip to a creepy hospital filled with angry security guards, as well as chance to break into a house with a lot of scary secrets. His job in each of these stages is to search for clues and save as many kids as possible.

Since this is primarily a stealth game, you'll spend most of your time sneaking around and staying in the shadows. Thankfully, 2Dark offers quite a few ways to tackle each level, and will even judge you when you've saved the kids and gathered the evidence. You won't always need to take the most obvious path, and you can even spend your time staying out of sight and avoiding the enemies. Seeing as my character lost his wife and kids to these crazies, I decided to take a more bloodthirsty route. We may only have a few bullets to shoot, but I had no problem sneaking up behind guards and stabbing them in the back.

What surprised me the most is how much stuff you're able to pick up and collect in each stage. It's not just a few items, but literally dozens of things, most of which you won't use. In that sense, the game felt a lot like a graphic adventure, and even some of the puzzles reminded me of what you might see in those old point and clickers. For all I know, there's a use for everything found in the game, but there are a lot of items I simply left in my back pocket.

Given the name and subject matter, it probably won't come as a surprise that 2Dark is, well, too dark. This is true in both the literal and figurative sense. You'll spend a lot of your time rummaging through locations that are impossible to see with the naked eye. You'll have to use your flashlight and candles to see where you're going ... and you may not like where it leads. The story goes in some truly disturbing directions, some of which borders on being uncomfortable. This is a game that deals with terrible things happening to small children, which will definitely not be everybody's cup of tea.

2Dark (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Oddly enough, it wasn't the subject matter that I had a problem with. The game is set up to be punishing in a way that is initially off-putting. The levels are filled with traps that will kill you in one hit, so it's on you to save frequently. This is especially frustrating because these traps are usually hidden in the darkness, so you'll often not even see them until it's too late. For what it's worth, this ends up being more of an issue in the first level than anywhere else. In fact, I barely noticed the traps in high-rise, hospital and creepy old house. It's as if the game is trying to acclimate you to this unfair world in the first few minutes.

Instead of avoiding traps, I found that most of my frustration came from the gameplay. This is a game where you constantly have to switch between items, which is done with the D-pad. This isn't so bad when you're standing still, but it's a real pain when you're on the run from an enemy and needing to equip a weapon. Cycling through the dozens of items and pressing the right button is a chore as you're also using the left analog stick to run around. There were so many times when I took several cheap hits because I couldn't select my knife or gun fast enough. And this is even worse when you have to reload bullets or combine items. You'll get used to this over time, but the gameplay never felt natural.

I'm also not a big fan of the writing in 2Dark. Yes, I know this is a horror game, but the dialog often feels like it's coming out of the mouth of an insecure teenager trying to be edgy. But it's not edgy, it's just lame. It's the kind of writing that is always trying too hard, and that ended up getting on my nerves more than one-hit deaths. There's a way to do this without all of the dialog seeming so forced.

2Dark (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

On that note, I want to briefly mention the annoying sound effects. Actually, most of the sound effects are fine, but there's this one thing the hero does throughout the adventure that drove me straight up the blood-soaked wall. As silly as it sounds, the father will say "Hmm" every single time he sees something to interact with. This shouldn't be a big deal, but he finds so much stuff that he'll end up saying "Hmm" hundreds, if not thousands of times. I know it's a minor gripe, but I was done with its repetition by the end of the first stage.

While far from perfect, I'm glad I saw 2Dark through to the end. I like a lot of the stealth elements and puzzle solving, and I even got into its gruesome story. With its dark subject matter and violence towards children, I can see how this might not be for everybody. This is not a bright and cheerful story, and horror fans will probably get a kick out of some of the twists and turns. There are some interesting ideas in 2Dark that are never fully realized. Hmm.
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