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Thread: 'White Night'

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    U.S.G. Ishimura

    Lightbulb 'White Night'

    This "review" may seem a bit off in spots, and for that I apologize. I was trying my best not to divulge any spoilers for anyone who has not played 'White Night' and is interested in doing so. This is nothing more than my perspectives of it. It's a fantastic game that I think everyone should play once, and maybe this will spark some interest/discussion.

    A couple of weeks ago I was browsing through the PS Store, looking for new games to play which I'd never heard of before. The only one that caught my eye was Osome Studios' 'White Night'. I checked out the preview for it, and was stunned by the art style. It's rare that I've come across a game whose title describes it perfectly, and 'White Night' does. You can look at it and see there is nothing but black and white used on the color palette (with the odd yellow and occasional green) and it takes place at night, so you think: "Ah, very clever", but then look up the definition of "white night", which there are multiples of, then play the game. You'll find out which one it is and see it's the perfect title after completing it.

    The art style is multi-functional though, being brilliantly used as an actual mechanic of the game as well as being the mood setter. Unless you're in light, you can't see a damn thing in the dark. You can still find locations of journal entries and boxes that can be opened but you can't do anything with them. You're supplied with matches to use for navigation, and they do not last long at all. There are over 200+ matches you can find but they are rarely around should you trod off the beaten path for too long. Matches are not only used for exploration, they can save your life. If you go exploring without matches or light and stay in the dark for too long, your character will have a heart attack. So light is essential.

    The setting of 'White Night' is an old, seemingly abandoned mansion. It's not quite the Spencer Estate but there are loads of rooms to explore across the 3 floors, and every one of them has something to offer in terms of either a collectible item, an enemy encounter, or a puzzle piece, or all 3 at once. If you've watched a vid about it you'll know that ghosts are your enemies, and this is part of the reason why it's labelled a "survival horror" game (that and the opening is very 'Silent Hill'), but in my opinion it's not. The ghosts can be creepy, and with the environment they live in I can easily understand why someone would latch on to that aspect and go "Ah, this is what it is!", but to me it's the furthest from the truth. At it's heart, I think 'White Night' is exactly what it looks like: A noir film. Everything from the characters in it, to the narrators dialog and tone, to the pacing in which the story unfolds, and mostly the story itself, screams noir and it probably wouldn't work any other way. Noir is a film style that I think you either love or hate. I myself enjoyed "Sin City", but haven't really been interested in other noir films, and I've seen a few. And I absolutely loved 'White Night's story and overall vibe.

    The mansion oozes with atmosphere. The art style lends itself perfectly to a creepy old house with some sort of stains on the carpet in spots that are unidentifiable due to the use of only 2 colors for environments. The audio design of creaking boards, whispers in the dark, and failing electricity work in a way that is hard to ignore, even though you're not supposed to notice audio design. The puzzles and riddles you come across can seem like nothing more than fetch quests at times, but then you get through a level or two and uncover a new journal and it all makes sense. Everything in this game has a purpose and a meaning and it all fits in flawlessly with the story.

    I won't go into the story as I do think it's best left to be surprised by, but it is very engaging and even when I was very frustrated by constantly getting killed by ghosts or stuck on a puzzle I wanted to see it through so I could find out what the Hell was going on. It's noir, as I said, so this is more of a mystery story than anything else. If you don't like doing some actual detective work and piecing together events yourself it may not be the game for you. But if you enjoy the challenge of arranging a timeline, linking this with that and that with this, I do recommend it. Sometimes you will find a clue and think: "Why in the Hell is this here? This is just garbage." and there again, you progress one or two levels more and it makes sense. And it is very possible to miss all aspects of the story. Journal entries are plentiful, but they are also very easy to miss. A missed piece of the puzzle doesn't mean you won't understand what's going on, but it also doesn't give the full picture. I missed a total of 8 journals on my first (and as of this writing, only) playthrough and when I realized I'd missed them I was already retracing my steps in my head to figure out where they were so I could get the full experience on a later playthrough.

    You've got to have patience for exploration as well. You will be doing loads of that, but it is all worth it and essential.

    This game is not easy at first. You will die cheaply by the hands of ghosts, and you will be retreading the same ground many times thanks to manual save stations only and no auto-save feature. Once you go through a few rooms though and learn the motions, it becomes easier. Ghosts placements can be random at times and you will end up searching everything you interact with for that one puzzle item you swear there's no way you could've missed but still don't have yet. And the puzzles will sometimes boggle your mind. There are not always easily spotted clues as to what you're supposed to do. But stick it through and you will be rewarded with an experience that doesn't happen often in video games. Not for myself, anyways.

    Out on Steam, PS4, and Xbone, I highly recommend it and hope my trying to avoid spoiling anything hasn't made this a jumbled unbalanced bunch of mush that doesn't make anyone interested.

    (click image to enlarge)
    Last edited by WinterSoldierLTE; 15th Jul 2015 at 02:36. Reason: typo!
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