I couldn't believe how nervous I was when I started up the beta for the sequel to the one and only Slender. Sure, I expected to be frightened, but not so early. Installing it left a queezy feeling in my stomach. I guess I forgot just how much Slender freaked me out.
I wasn't ready.
For your enjoyment (or not), me and my time with Slender: The Arrival
You know how some folks will say they can't take more than so and so minutes or hours of a game before never returning to it again? For some people it's Dead Space. For some it's Amnesia. Hell, some are even afraid of Alan Wake. But, anyway. For me, it's Slender.
The horror of the game plays against your progression in ways that no other game does. The mere act of looking around can bring about this Slender entity. Even if it's just for a second, even if he isn't anywhere near you, you can't help but shiver at the thought of that faceless, still figure eyeballing (or, rather, "faceballing") you. And the fact that the further you get, the closer Slender creeps.
Enter Slender: The Arrival. A more story-centric, graphically-enhanced (by a large margin), priced version of the original. Sadly, the beta doesn't show off any of these new story bits. Rather, it's been altered to play exactly like the original. Strange way to "test" your game (if that's what they're going for), but at least it's familiar ground.
While the extra visual flair, surprisingly, does little to emphasize the horror, it's much appreciated and it's certainly not any less horrifying, thankfully. If anything, whenever Slender is near, that stock-ass distortion effect is now replaced with convincing (and sometimes jarring) screen tears, fuzzies, pulses and blurs.
This is what Slender needed to be from the beginning. It feels as if some actual budget and time went into making this. It feels as if I should be paying for this alone (which I have), and if the full game is going to be even more fleshed out, I've definitely gotten my money's worth. Even if I'll barely play it. This game makes me feel like a total pansy, which is a rarity with any form of media. I'm honestly afraid of it's power to make me, of all people, frightened.
Perhaps it was totally my fault I couldn't find my way around so easily, but it definitely wasn't as straightforward as the original. Only through randomly trekking through the nearby forest was I able to find my way to a small crate storage area which then led me to a building which then probably would've led me somewhere else I needed to be if I hadn't gotten jumped by that scary suit man.
This is yet another indie thrill to be looking forward to this year. As a fan of horror, I'm incredibly excited. And as one now weak-hearted individual, I'm scared as hell.