“Hello darkness my old friend…” These words have never rung truer than when I started up Pineview Drive for PS4. An atmospheric horror game that, not only has little atmosphere, but also little horror as well. I don’t know about you, but basing a game on the above aspects without actually performing them to, at the very least, an adequate level bodes poorly for how your game is going to be received right from the get go.
Now, let me just say that I had fun with Pineview Drive, it’s certainly not top of it’s class but it does a good job at building a nice comfortable setting and tone for the player to get engulfed in, and I can respect that. It shows that, although the final product may not have come out as the designers had intended, there was still some care put into it. Care in the form of story structure. The plot begins with you, a emotionless shell, arriving at a mansion in which you have to survive in for 30 days. However, where this becomes interesting is that nobody has ever survived for more than 30 days. Did I say care? Perhaps I was too quick with that. Continuing with the story, to progress through each day, you find a note that develops your character and the helps build world around you. Solid stuff for sure, but solid stuff can still be fragile nonetheless.
Where this game falls apart is, at least for me, when attempting to look for said notes. You have to do so in the dark, and let me tell you, if you don’t have decent brightness settings this is going to be a chore to accomplish. I understand that the darkness is supposed to fill the player with dread and cautiousness when moving forward, but the truth is is that all it does is make the task that much more frustrating. I wasn’t engaged in the ambiance that the game had to offer, I was swearing under my breath because I couldn’t tell if I was lighting a candle or a curtain on fire.
Eventually though, you do get used to the darkness, but from that point on it just becomes a long term scavenger hunt that gets more and more tedious, the more you play the game. You find a key, try a door, that door doesn’t work, so you try other doors, but those don’t work either, and you have to wait for a hint to drop in one of the most frustrating aspects of this game. It’s just bad design to have the player try every single door, every single time on every single day and expect us to stay invested throughout.
As far as the horror goes, it’s fairly clichéd stuff all in all. A bird hits a window to startle you, furniture moves when it’s not supposed to, whispers and noises begin to sound off in the darkness. It honestly feels like you're trapped in a horror movie, but instead you can leave at any point. You just choose not to because reasons, I guess.
Like I said before, I did have fun with this game but the issues that it presents are too glaring to not notice. It feels like a game where love was put into it, but just not enough money was there to finalise what could have been a really interesting experience. I hope we do see more projects like this from the developers but just with more of a budget under their belt.
Pineview Drive (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.
Pineview Drive is an atmospheric horror game that does little else to engulf the player. Long stretches of half-baked scares and tedious key hunts make this title a lacking experience.