Anthology of Fear is a recently published Polish horror game. What’s interesting, a single person who, later on, joined forces with the 100 Games team created the whole project. Is it worth playing? Well, let’s see.
First and foremost, I have to mention that the game has a peculiar story. About three years ago, I came across the prologue, which simultaneously stood for the demo version of Anthology of Fear. The story was completely different. Originally, action was to take place in the Siberian wilderness of the twentieth century and focus on hunting and survival elements. You can just forget about it. The authors even made an official statement, saying that they abandoned their previous conception. To my mind, it’s not a bad move, since the original story was just average.
Why did this happen? It’s hard to say. Sometimes it’s the limitations or deadlines set by the publishers. However, I can honestly admit I had lots of fun playing Anthology of Fear. Definitely, it’s one of those games that begs for a sequel. In comparison to what was originally planned, this game seems to be a smaller project. Nevertheless, it’s been developed with attention to each and every detail – which is perfect in the case of a horror story, making it even scarier. Apart from a few minor faults, the game has been sewn up nicely.
In Anthology of Fear, you play as a young male who, at all costs, wants to learn the truth about what happened to his missing brother. The protagonist decides to start his search at a hospital facility, which is the last place his brother was seen. Right from the start, you can sense the disturbing atmosphere. You open heavy doors, which make squeaky noises, and take strolls through the long, half-dark corridors. With every step, you realize that this break-in wasn’t your best idea.
There could be evil around every corner, or a security guard… This disturbing feeling haunts you from the very beginning and stays until you start to realize what exactly happened. And, boy, there’s a lot going on. As it turns out, this Hospital is not an ordinary medical facility. Using a VHS player, you get to know stories that shed some light on the case. The story itself is quite engaging. However, it seemed to me that it has been reduced because there are many interesting threads that should be (or initially were) unfolded. Nevertheless, the story itself is great, and there are many moments that would make me fall from the chair.
As for the gameplay, there’s nothing out of the ordinary. The schemes are simple and typical for horror games, where you have to make your way around in search of required items and use them in certain places. On your way, you come across terrifying scenes, which are there to set you in a dark and gloomy mood – I must admit, it’s working great. In addition to the great story, I must also praise the graphics. Everything looks great and is extremely detailed, but the lighting stands above all. Using various lighting techniques, the developers managed to create unforgettable scenes.
The Anthology of Fear can sometimes disturb you in a peculiar manner. This could be a drawing left on a wall or a terrifying story, which adds to the horror. Many time-tested mechanisms from the genre have been put to good use. All of this makes you feel like an intruder, exploring a world where nobody wants you. Such a world is a perfect place to explore, at least for players with nerves of steel. That’s what I would expect from a decent horror game: the mystery, which I’m going to solve, and the measures taken to make me feel that every action I’m willing to take can result in something detrimental. The Anthology of Fear has it all. Unfortunately, the game ends too soon. That’s a pity because there are many threads I wish were continued.
All in all, if you asked me how I generally felt about Anthology of Fear, I would say I’m pleased and satisfied – with its visuals and the story. It’s great that the main thread and the mystery are explained in the end, but there are many fascinating things that should be developed and talked about. I could sum it up by telling you that it’s great; however, somehow, I feel as someone came to me and took away the plate in the middle of dinner. Nevertheless, one should keep in mind that it’s an indie game, and as an indie game, it still offers much.
Anthology of Fear is released for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S and PC (https://store.steampowered.com/app/1092530/Anthology_of_Fear/).
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