Title: Song of Horror
Developer: Protocol Games
Publisher: Raiser Games
Genre: Survival Horror, Adventure
Available On: PC
Official Site: Song of Horror
Release Date: October 31, 2019
Version Tested: PC
Where to Buy it: Steam
Out of the genres that are tough to nail, episodic games and horror titles might be toward the top of the list. In the episodic style, it is difficult to make it feel like the player’s choices actually matter while keeping a cohesive story. An in horror, unfortunately, the genre has become somewhat formulaic at this point. However, Song of Horror takes these challenges head-on and blows them out of the water in what might be the best horror title of 2019. If you are hoping for a breath of fresh air, this is probably the game for you.
This horrifying tale goes a little like this:
The famed writer Sebastian P. Husher has gone missing, along with his entire family. Worried, his editor sent an assistant to his house in order to look for him – but he never came back… These disappearances spark a set of events that will soon reveal something dreadful: a nameless, dark entity known only as The Presence seems to be responsible.
As a player, you will live this story through the eyes of a varied set of characters related to the story in their own way. Every character is different, and brings their unique point of view to the investigation, allowing them to approach clues and items differently. Their actions and decisions will shape the world: some of them will know more or less of certain aspects of the story; some will be more effective against supernatural manifestations, but all of them can die if the Presence gets to them – and death is permanent. If they die, you will have to pick the story up with another one, and continue the investigation so their deaths are not in vain.
Being a massive fan of horror, I don’t scare easily anymore. However, Song of Horror made me jump more than once, and the development team uses everything at their disposal to make those scares effective. The most prominent of these might be their use of environment and camera angles. It is super reminiscent of the tactics used in the early Resident Evil games, and it definitely does its inspiration justice. There are a few moments of pure terror infused in my brain due to these tricks, and it’s almost impossible not to love every second of it.
When it comes to the horror elements of Song of Horror, one of its coolest features is its unique AI named The Presence. Now, this AI adapts to how you play and the decisions you make, which makes the game take on a life of its own. It is almost like Song of Horror is a nightmare developed for the individual player, and I’m not sure if there is anything scarier than that. These elements paired with great visuals, different characters for diverse gameplay, thought-provoking item puzzles, and right, out-of-the-box writing all work together to create something great!
Aside from The Presence AI, another cool mechanic is the group of characters you can play as. Each has different reasons for going into the house or different connections to the story overall. Death is permanent, so when your chosen character dies, you can continue with another one. However, if all the characters die, you’ll have to start the chapter over. When I started, there was no way I thought I could cycle through all of them. But, by the end, I was down to my last character, and it changes up how you decide to play.
As far as complaints go, there weren’t many. The controls were a little iffy at times, But, honestly, everything else was incredibly stable. All in all, Song of Horror has been nothing short of a horrific roller coaster with its fair share of exciting elements, and its cliff-hanger endings will leave you clamoring for more.
The next chapter of Song of Horror will be available on PC starting December 13, 2019, and the entire project will be coming to console soon. Stay tuned to The Nerd Stash for our upcoming review of Chapter 3!
Verdict: Song of Horror might be the best horror game to come out this year, and they still have more to come! I think it is incredibly bold to do an episodic game within the horror genre, but the developers nailed this horrifying adventure. Reminiscent of Resident Evil games, nostalgic camera angles, and a spooktastic atmosphere work together well to set the mood. Not only does it look great, but it feels like a breath of fresh air in a genre that has become quite formulaic as of late. Your choices affect the gameplay, and it is fantastic to see how that plays out every time.