I don’t handle horror very well. When I was asked to review Slender: The Arrival I was a little apprehensive. I mean, I am the person who used to be scared of the Flood on Halo 2. That being said, I believe now that I have a very strong heart. If Slender didn’t give me a heart attack, nothing is phasing this guy. Slender: The Arrival is a sequel to the original Slender game which tasked you with collecting pages strewn through a dark forest all while being chased by the Slender Man; a tall gauntly figure with no face who haunts you through the woods. The remake still has this as one of the levels, but this time the experience is structured around a story. As you progress through the six horrifying and short levels you collect letters that were left behind which pieces together the story for you. Basically you find yourself in a dark house at night with no explanation as to why you are there. A shrill scream comes from the dreary night forest and you decide it wise to go searching with only a small flashlight.
This brings us to the game play; lets just say it is rather light. You have a video camera which serves as your H.U.D.. Everything you do is being recorded as you look through the camcorder. Your only other tool is a flashlight (or torch to my friends elsewhere). It can be used to temporarily stun enemies, but your real friend in this game is to keep moving. As you search for different objectives or letters, you are being chased by the Slender Man or other apparitions. As he gets closer your camera grows with static and harsh tones scream all around you. Make eye contact for long at all and you will fail.
One large area where Slender: The Arrival really shines is when it comes to the sound department. Every effect is perfect, from the sounds of foot fall in the brush behind you or as the screech of static swells, this game exudes fear. If you play this with headphones and in a dark room, you will be inviting some palpitations. Sound aside, graphically speaking, Slender is a pretty game. Everything runs smoother than the original and the textures are very crisp. The blackness of night is chilling and it helps add the sense of urgency and tension that pervades the entire experience.
Slender is a rather short experience that can be completed in one sitting and it may be light on game play, but it achieved what it set out to do: to create an atmospheric experience that crawls into your soul and provides people with a great sense of accomplishment for surviving. A small story is there to guide you along and give more basis to a game that was created to scare you. Now if you are a long time fan of survival horror, it may not be as tense for you as it was for me, but hey, if you consider yourself brave and want to have a fun, memorable time then pick up Slender: The Arrival; you’ll be shocked at how scary it is!
Review copy provided by Midnight City’s PR team, and Slender: The Arrival is available now on Steam.