After Jonny makes me feel bad for getting the game early in his editorial, I drop my impressions. Note, just like Eternal Darkness, these impressions are for the MATURE VIEWER. If you are under the age of 18, be advised.
There must be some really happy postal worker who nabbed my original copy of Eternal Darkness, because due to shipping mishaps I finally just got mine Friday morning. Unlike most of our staff, I have tried to stay as out of the loop with Eternal Darkness as I could. I didn’t cheat and read spoilers, or watch new movies that have been floating around the net. Sure, we’ve interviewed Denis Dyack numerous times, but in the end, there was very little that we really knew about the actual game. I urge people to not read spoilers because it truly will kill the some of the best facets of this game. After 7 hours of playing, I can say that the over 3-year wait was well worth it.
Just to let you know, I’m what you would call a “fraidy cat”. Yes, things that go bump in the night do frighten me, and I am a very jumpy person. I am completely admitting that I’m a total wimp. I have played other horror-type titles and games like Resident Evil have scared me, but Eternal Darkness takes it to a whole new level. A Psychological Thriller can easily be described as a game that completely fucks with your head. It’s not only scary, but there are things that are just flat out strange, weird, and disturbing. It’s more of a “fun scary” than a, “bad scary.” It’s hard to explain without ruining some of the good things in the game. The second it was dark outside, I admit, I did turn all the lights on in my apartment. I am extremely creeped out right now.
I have screamed, jumped and yelled while playing, but the terror is only one element to what makes this game so great. The storyline is one of the most captivating that I’ve experienced in a long time. The characters are solid, and the voice acting is top notch. You can tell the writers stayed well awake during their History and English classes. We finally get to know the true story behind the “Eternal Darkness,” and it’s so thick you can lap it up with a spoon. That is what keeps me glued in the couch, and to my controller.
Make sure you have a lot of time to invest in this game. For a game as long as this, and due to time restrictions that I have with Planet GameCube, a game really has to be monumental to tear me away from everything for hours on end. Eternal Darkness is one of these games. I don’t think I’ll personally be rushing though Eternal Darkness. The story is pretty linear (at least so far), and you can save almost whenever (unless there’s an enemy in the room), so it can be also “pick up and play” type of game. Due to the fact that Eternal Darkness will suck you in and spit your brains out, the smart move would to quit your job or drop out of school for a week. Tell your girlfriend or wife you’re in jail. I personally just cancelled all my weekend plans, and turned off the ringer on my phone. Oh and to the staff members reading this, I really am not feeling well, and will be out of the office until sometime next week. No really, I am sick.
Graphics are decent, and are created on the fly. Visually everything is good, some things better than others, but not as polished as other elements in Eternal Darkness. Sure you’ve got a lot of the special effects in there, and the shadowing and lighting are great, but I guess it still appears a little “first generation” looking to me. There is some clipping, and some of the facial features of the characters I wish were a little better. I personally would have opted to make Eternal Darkness a two-disc game so the video didn’t have to be so compressed. On my 32” TV it appears to be grainy.
On that note, at this time I’d like to give the in-game Camera crew, a very loud round of applause. Please, start up your own company, and license your work. There are too many games out there that would benefit from your precision. You can find dead spots if you try hard, but over all it’s extremely solid. It’s not totally perfect, but it works phenomenally well.
If you have a surround setup, or decent speakers, your ears (and fears) are in for a real treat. The audio in Eternal Darkness is totally delicious, and downright eerie. It really adds to the whole experience. The sound alone has not only made me jump, but Louie has been airborne with his hair standing on his back a few times already. Play this game as loud as possible, or even wear headphones if you’ve got a high quality pair. Clean, crisp and downright impeccable...if the audio didn’t scare the absolute shit out of me, I’d even request a soundtrack.
Yes, I have totally gooed all over this game. But believe the hype people, because it is really that good. Chalk up another AAA title that’s only available on the GameCube. I will say that so far Eternal Darkness is the first GameCube game to have some serious substance to it. There’s some real meat to Eternal Darkness, and we’re talking prime cut Grade A steak here. It’s also a nice change of pace to play a Mature title on the GameCube. I don’t remember a game on the GameCube as of late that has sucked me into it like this has. For this to be their first GameCube title, I cannot wait to see what’s next from Silicon Knights. Fear the Darkness.