The Slender Man tale is fairly well known at this point with its explosion of fans on the Internet. First came the story in 2009 by a member of the Something Awful forums, then eventually came the videogame adaptation with “Slender: The Eight Pages”. When it was released, it was a free PC game created by Indie developer Parsec Productions, the premise was simple, find eight notes hidden around a large forest in pitch black with nothing but a flashlight. The more pages you aquired, the more likely the sharp dressed faceless Slender Man would show. Stare at him long enough or if he gets too close and it is game over.
The game caught on like wildfire and came the inevitable clones on nearly every platform. It was only a matter of time before an actual sequel was made though and here we are. This time out, the game is developed by Blue Isle Studios and distributed by Parsec, Slender: The Arrival is an all around more ambitious game than the title if precedes, but does all the new fancy visuals and bigger budget equal an scare experience that exceeds the first?
In Slender: The Arrival, the story’s revolves around you the player searching for a missing friend. The game is played like the first, in first person view with your trusty flashlight and a new camcorder. There is a throwback to the original game, where one area takes place in a dark forest that requires the retrieval of eight pages while avoiding the faceless one. The other chapters in the game typically consist of similar tasks such as turning on generators or just making your way around an area. As par for the course, you can bet that you’re going to have that creepy feeling just right over your shoulder throughout the game. As with the first, you’re unarmed, creating the same tension as before where if you mess up, your fate will be sealed.
With the lack of any defense, the only strategy is to run helplessly into the darkness. While you’re running around screaming or crying from the sheer terror of the scares you encounter, you may notice how well done the environments are, in fact the visuals in Slender: The Arrival does a fantastic job of creating an atmosphere and a world that’s damn near believable, unbelievable? Whatever, it’s damn scary is what it is.
It’s a testament to how terrifying the game can be when even in broad daylight I found myself jumping out of my chair. Granted I was wearing headphones and jump scare easily, but that’s beside the point. My biggest gripe though comes within some of the difficulty. There were times where I had to retry an event multiple times, which eventually took me took me out of the experience as I knew what to expect and getting caught or screwing up was just another large SIGH. It’s not that I didn’t mind the challenge the game was presenting, but the effect of it ruining the horror atmospehere. Where during the first tries I was genuinely scared, the following attempts were more frustrating than fright.
The game supports mouse and keyboard uh default and has controller support as well. Pick your poison as both work equally as good as the other. There is also Oculus Rift support in the new version but without an Oculus to test this on, I’m unable to give any insight into how that plays. I’d imagine it be a horrifying experience, even more so where your whole field of view is the game, with it being much harder to be removed from the immersion.
Slender: The Arrival lives up to the first game and builds upon it in every way: the graphics, the atmosphere, the number of times one will have to change their pants, it’s all there and all for the better. Don’t be afraid to immerse yourself because unlike your player, you can always just turn the game off, but I wouldn’t recommend that.
A Steam code for the game was provided by the publisher, Midnight City for review purposes