Layers of Fear: A Psychological Horror Story
Horror has always been a genre I adore, and it's terrible because most horror movies along with games can be a real hit or miss. More so with movies I've noticed. So far there hasn't really been any horror games that I've been sorely disappointed in. There is this difference you feel as a player being trapped in the game while the horror happens andthat of a viewer just watching it all play out. Or at least that how I feel as I play through these games.
This game, Layers of Fear, was one of those horror games that starts off with you in the dark about what is going on. It builds tension with every level while also playing out this disturbing tale of horror and woe. There will be spoilers as I go, so if you haven't played the game and do plan on doing so then don't read on. However, if you'd like a good, honest opinion on the game continue to read.
Developed and published by Bloober Team, this psychological horror takes you on a tour of house owned by a painter living in the United States during the 1920's. It isn't actually declared where exactly it all takes place, but it's not all that important. Your main focus is walking through this rather disheveled house as the unnamed protagonist painter while he attempts to paint his master piece.
After the first layer is addedis when the character you are playing as begins to lose himself. The story, from there, delves into his dark past without revealing to much at a time. With ever chapter you complete you find out a darker side to the tale while adding another layer to the painting.
By the end of the game it is discovered, through his memories and documents you find along the way, that he was an ambitious painter married to a pianist who was often the muse of his art. After having their first child he begins to neglect his wife and daughter in favor of painting. Now, it isn't directly said or perhaps I just didn't find the right documents, but as you play it is suggested that the painter developed some mental issues. This is implied through his art as it becomes more twisted.
His issues along with his drinking problem begin to drive his family and friends away. After suffering from the neglect, his wife burned all his paintings and in a drunken fit he beat her for it which drove her out of the house with his daughter. After some time of being alone and failing to reconcile with his wife the painter receives a phone call stating she was horridly burned in a fire. Wheelchair bound, the painter was able to bring her back to him along with their daughter so that he could care for them.
This story takes a crazy twist that is both depressing and horrifying. As you play through the more intense levels you find out that the painter once again began neglecting his wife, and due to her lack of beauty from the burns he no longer used her as his muse. This drove the poor woman to by slitting her wrist. Distraught over losing her the painter went insane and used six body parts from his wife's corpse to create his final piece of art.
Disturbing enough for you?
In the game there are three different posdible endings you can get depending on the course and actions you take. There are many puzzles and visual clues laid put for you to find to keep you going through the story line. As the environment around you changes things begin to get increasingly tense. There are plenty of jump scares to keep you on edge, and moments when you really don't want to walk down a hallway or turn around in rooms.
There are only six chapters to the game making it a very quick game to get through. It's a good game to play if you're looking for something scary and interesting without the need to commit twelve hours or more to something. I thoroughly enjoyed the game for it's creepy environment, nice jump scares, and disturbing story.
There was a DLC for the game called Layers of Fear: Inheritance, but I never got around to playing it. This version apparently brings you back to the house as the daughter of the painter who has returned and must face her own traumas of the past.
This game was well done in my opinion and was definitely well worth playing through at least once. Being that I enjoy attempting to get all available endings I may play through it to see if I can unlock the other two. However, for now I'm pretty satisfied with the way the game played out. I hope that you enjoy the game if you do decide to play it.
If you're looking for other good horror games there are plenty out there that are amazing. The Resident Evil series combines action and horror to bring you a fast paced environment. If that's not your cup of tea then check out Until Dawn which I think was just a great horror game and story in general.