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The Town of Light Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . The Town of Light is an example of how important a powerful story can be to a horror game. It may not have the typical monster or be scary in the traditional sense, but this first-person adventure will get under your skin in more ways than one. We're treated to a deeply emotional journey with one of the most haunting endings I've ever seen. The Town of Light doesn't need vampires and zombies to be terrifying, reality is scary enough. Rating: 71%
The Town of Light
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  • Review Score:

  • B
There aren't any vampires or zombies in The Town of Light. You also won't find aliens, serial killers or demons returning from Hell. What makes this brand new horror game so terrifying isn't some supernatural entity, but rather that unsettling reminder that sometimes the scariest acts are performed by normal, well-intentioned people. This is the underlying theme of The Town of Light, and it's just one of the reasons why I'm going have a hard time getting over this powerful new story-driven adventure game.

Have you ever gone back to a school you grew up in or place you remember from your childhood? That's the premise of The Town of Light. We pick up with a woman who is returning to an old hospital in Italy that appears to have been abandoned a long time ago. The grass is overgrown, the windows are busted and the walls are crumbling, but that doesn't stop Renee from confronting the ghosts of her past.


This is a tough game to talk about without giving away huge chunks of the story. What I can say is that we get a taste of Renee's disturbing past through a number of well-placed flashbacks. We learn about the brutality she endured at a young age and the friends she made during her time in the hospital. We dive deep into her loneliness and suffering, allowing us a first-hand taste of what it was like to be institutionalized in the 1940s.

The Town of Light plays out as a first-person horror game with an emphasis on story. There aren't monsters after you, but the psychological terror is just as scary. The game is good about making us distrust Renee's narration, all while letting us see the hospital entirely from her perspective. There are some genuinely haunting moments here, including an ending I'm never going to forget.

Because there are no enemies to run from, the bulk of the game revolves around exploring the grounds, picking up items and solving simple puzzles. The game is good about sending you in different directions, so you're constantly finding new parts of the hospital and the surrounding area to investigate. It also helps that you're never far from a story beat, which usually means watching one of the hand-drawn cinemas. Horror fans looking for fast action and traditional scares will likely be disappointed by The Town of Light, though players who love story-driven games will find this adventure to be utterly captivating.

It helps that the game is only a couple hours long. I played through the entire story in a single sitting, barely able to move when everything wrapped up. It left me depressed and angry, yet surprisingly satisfied. I experienced something powerful that is going to stick with me for a long time to come. And while I didn't exactly want to jump back in and experience Renee's suffering all over again, I like that there are different paths and choices that will change elements of the story the next time around.

The Town of Light (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The problem I have with The Town of Light (and a lot of games in this genre), is that the puzzles and exploration always feel a distant second to the story. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed unraveling Renee's past, but it would have been nice to see more of an emphasis on puzzles. The few that are here are little more than finding the right item and going to a specific wing of the hospital. It's also a shame that there isn't more to pick up and find. Too much of this game feels like I'm walking past empty rooms in order to find the one thing that's important.

The visuals are fine, but nothing spectacular. Seeing as this is a hospital, a lot of the rooms look the same. We occasionally get freaky art and some interesting destruction, but the building starts to blur together after a while. Things get better in the second half of the game, when we're able to explore outside of the hospital and look through the surrounding buildings. This is a nice change of scenery, but it's still dogged by bland textures and graphical glitches. Like I said before, the story is the star of this show.

The Town of Light is an example of how important a powerful story can be to a horror game. It may not have the typical monster or be scary in the traditional sense, but this first-person adventure will get under your skin in more ways than one. We're treated to a deeply emotional journey with one of the most haunting endings I've ever seen. The Town of Light doesn't need vampires and zombies to be terrifying, reality is scary enough.
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