Call of Cthulhu - Dark Corners of the Earth Review
Most survival horror games are just not that scary. Games in which I have to assault a Nazi machine gun nest put me more on edge than those in which I must shoot slow-moving, shuffling targets with a taste for brains. Besides, they far too often rely on cheap scares of the monster in the closet variety. This might work well enough to frighten teenage girls in a movie theater, but it takes a lot more than that to stand the back hair on end of a gamer sitting in a dark room in his boxers. Yeah, buddy, a lot more. It takes atmosphere, suspense, and a pervasive undercurrent of dread. Nothing builds fear more than an imagination sown with these seeds and then left to nurture the terror on its own. This is not an easy thing to do in a game – if it were there would be a lot more scary games out there – which is why a game that gets it right is so enjoyable. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is one of those games.
|This is where it all begins.|
Call of Cthulhu is based on the works of horror pioneer HP Lovecraft. If you’ve never read Lovecraft, don’t worry – you don’t need to be familiar with his work in order to enjoy the game. If you’re already a Lovecraft fan, though, you’ll be in heaven while playing this game. It not only stays true to the mythos created by Lovecraft, it does an excellent job of creating settings that look like they leapt straight out of the pages of his books. You’ll also be able to pick up on all of the little details and references to Lovecraft’s work that the developers have sprinkled throughout the game.
Part of the magic weaved by the game is due to the feeling of immersion that it generates. This immersion begins with the interface which is completely devoid of any HUD devices – no health bar, no ammo count, nothing. Everything that you see in the game you see through Jack’s eyes. Even the cutscenes do not take you outside of Jack’s head as you will see them all play out through his eyes. The game does have an inventory screen that lets you monitor your health, but it doesn’t intrude upon your experience unless you want it to. There are plenty of visual cues to let you know when things are going grim for you, such as blurry or red vision, so there’s no need to constantly monitor your health directly anyway. Speaking of health, you’ll take damage exactly where you’re hit so don’t be surprised if a brutal attack to your leg leaves you limping with a broken bone.