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Slender: What The Next Games Must Do
The release of the Slender: The Arrival game at the back end of last month showed that interest in the creepy bad guy is still sky high following the brilliant original game, The Eight Pages. However, as seen in Leviathyn’s review here, the game failed to do anything more than rehash the same, tired collecting tasks over and over, only changing the scenario surrounding it. The game is not bad by any standard, but replaying the same missions over and over becomes boring and makes the game less interesting.
Varied Objectives – The original game’s concept was beautiful in its simplicity. Collecting more pages means the eponymous enemy becomes more powerful and dogged in his chase of your character. That was it. One level, one objective, one enemy. But in the transition to a full-blown, high quality game Slender lost the ability to continue such originality. Yes the collecting of the eight pages was still as exhilarating as it once was with better graphics and a more realistic looking threat, but upon completion you are thrown into a mine where the character must find and turn on six generators. While the addition of a new (admittedly annoying) enemy type alongside the original enemy is a step forward for the game as a whole, it cannot distract gamers from the repetitive nature of the quest. To combat this, Blue Isle Studios / Parsec Productions must find a new way to deliver scares to the audience without straying too far away from the pure horror experience. One idea could be to task players with escaping from a labyrinth-like map as quickly as possibly without getting caught, with Slender becoming faster and less forgiving of poor path choices as you get further towards the exit. There are sure to be many players who could give great ideas for the game to the developers and they need to listen.
A Constant Presence – While it is understandable that the developers wanting a change in pace for sections of the game where you explore, it ended up losing that uncertain feeling about whether there is someone behind you. For example, when I first starting the game, I kept checking behind me for fear of being chased. Soon afterwards, I realized that certain sections were safe for me to explore such as the exterior of the mine. This reduced the fear in me and gave me a breather from the horror. But the game must try to keep at least some tension throughout. The addition of small footsteps over the soundtrack at random times freaked me out but with no real threat, it became tiresome. Games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil gave players the illusion that they were being chased throughout by Pyramid Head and Nemesis respectively. Times like that would be a great addition to the franchise. Times where Slender cannot get you but you can see him in the corner of the screen forcing you to keep going would scare the pants off of me.
Larger Areas – No, I do not want Slender to lose the confinement of previous games but there comes a point in the game where you beg for more to play with. Screenshots of the game before release were mildly deceptive, showing expansive, rolling hills and trees as far as the eye could see… And then came the release, proving these screens to be only the backdrop rather than accessible areas. What I would like to see is the inclusion of more space to utilize in the daytime sections. Monetary and technological constraints obviously apply but, if possible, expand the horizons of the game to meet the ambition the developers have obviously had since day one.
Varied Enemy Types – Seeing as I seem to want a more full game, it would not feel varied if there were not more enemies. Slender is and always will be an iconic enemy but the addition of the hooded enemy in The Arrival was a breath of fresh air. Having to vary the way you deal with enemies, let alone having a way to deter the enemy FOR ONCE, along with the allowance for slight error in this level felt like the game was truly progressing and created a creepy environment (until the character becomes just darn right annoying). But it then reverted back to the tried and tested method of only facing Slenderman in the next levels. The hooded figure was different and the newer games need more of this imagination to inject a greater amount of life into the gameplay that becomes stale after many playthroughs.
These things may come at a more premium price but The Arrival was only $10. I would happily pay full, top tier prices if it came as a result of undeniable quality. If more additions were implemented in future Slender games, would you pay a higher price?