Another code found it’s way onto my desk this week, it’s another PlayStation 4 title, and today we are going to be looking at The Church In The Darkness by Paranoid Productions and published by Fellow Traveller.
The Church in the darkness is an action stealth adventure game. Currently available for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Windows and Ma.c which was released on 2nd August 2019.
The premise of the game is as follows you play a ex-police officer called Vic and you need to successfully infiltrate a religious cult called Freedom Town. To check up on his nephew. The leaders are Isaac and Rebecca who refer to themselves as the ‘Collective Justice Program. And the story is told through their updates on the speakers that are throughout the camp.
The Church in the darkness is very easy to pick up and play game. It is a top down stealth game in which choices determine your game. But also every game is different because particular elements in the game are procedurally generated.
You start on the edge of the island as you are drip fed the tutorial. You soon learn looting mainly out of curiosity in what I can click on like every game I play, and quickly learning how much items or at least tools, were going to be in the game. It all felt a bit overwhelming as I was still only in the tutorial yet have all these items it isn’t teaching me about as I collect them. I later found out that it depends how you play for instance one item is used for disabling alarms yet another can be used for getting yourself out of locked confinement or opening something locked like a locker of loot.
I also soon learned that the way you take everything when it comes to enemies is crucial to how you plan on playing for example with enemies you can sneak past completely unaware you were every there, take them down by non lethal means or if you really want to just kill every single person you come across. Naturally I just wanted to kill everyone along the way but my very first play through didn’t last very long as bodies were soon found I got caught, put in a cage and greeted by a ‘because of the amount of bodies left behind by me they can not forgive’ and were shot dead. Whoops time to try again.
This is where I discovered one of the games strong points on how much you can replay it. This is evident in facing different gameplay challenges each time, dynamic narrative that changes the motives for the cults leaders which leads to numerous different endings.
One thing I would like to talk about in particular is the cast. Isaac and Rebecca Walker who are husband and wife leaders of the cult but are also real life husband and wife Ellen McLain, best known as GlaDOS in the Portal games, and John Patrick Lowrie, best known as the Sniper in Team Fortress 2. As you can imagine this experience shines through and becomes by far one of the game highlights. Both develop the story through the PA system throughout the camp.
My experience with The Church In The Darkness was full of expectation and excitement as exploring a world of a cult with multiple outcomes and routes to take it all seemed like a fun experience but in reality it all seemed a bit sluggish and unrefined. What really shone through was the brilliant voice acting of Ellen McLain and John Patrick Lowrie. Alongside plenty of choice with narrative and choices for the player. The multiple endings and ways to play the game certainly add plenty of replay ability but after a frustrating first play-through it has enough to possibly put me off playing through a second time.
The Church In The Darkness
If you are looking for a game that has the option to be played multiple times for your moneys worth and with a veteran voice acting line up then its hard to say no but unfortunately is let down by the mechanics and refinement of the game in the long run.
- Multiple play styles
- Multiple endings adding replay value
- Brilliant Voice acting
- Felt Sluggish
- Need more overall refinement
- Protagonist needed more backstory and development
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