The Town of Light – PS4 Review
This review is going to be very hard for me to write, not because I don’t know what to write, but more along the lines of how this game has affected me. The Town of Light is a very strong and hard hitting game, it’s basis and theme for the game is a very tough subject to get used too and knowing that it is based on true facts makes it even harder at times, especially with how deep the story actually goes and the details that are given.
The game starts off with a very hard hitting message, advising that the game delves into the conditions and what it was like in the early 20th century in regards to how mental health patients were dealt with. This is where it reiterates to you that the game is based on true to life facts/story and also mentions how much mental health help has improved since these times.
The main story of the game is that you’re looking around an abandoned insane asylum, the game flicks back and forth between the times when it was operational and the present day. There is a voice over which speaks out every now and then at vital points to tell you more about the story and the first thing you do when you’re inside is looking for a doll named Charlotte. Now, this was my first issue, Charlotte is a China Doll and they freak the bejesus out of me, so having to carry that around in front of me for 5-10 minutes while I figured out what to do wasn’t the best time of my life.
That wasn’t my biggest issue with the game though. I mentioned above about how heavy hitting this game was on me and how I feel it could be on many people who play this, well, as the story progressed it talked about Renee and how nurses within the hospital used to rape her in the baths and got her pregnant. Now Renee as far as I could work out was still only 16, so this made it doubly worse for me. She went on to describe in a letter that you pick up throughout about how another doctor has told her something was growing inside her and they needed to do some tests on her… Renee goes on to say how she was scared and didn’t understand what was happening. Basically, the pregnancy was terminated. Another letter says how the nurses need to be more careful and watch what they’re doing.
Very heavy stuff! It does continue as Renee talks about someone else who was there, who she enjoyed spending time with and made her feel good, safe and a lot better. This person was taken away from Renee so you then have to go on the hunt for them, to find out what happened.
The game’s design is nice, there are some nice details that have gone into the building, how it looks and everything within. The beef I had is what I have with all of these walking sim games, is that the trees and bushes just looked like cardboard cut outs. I know there not pivotal to the game and your inside most of the time, but I would like to see the same level of care go into absolutely everything.
There are hints throughout the game which help to try and find the next bit, this was the trackpad on the PS4 controller, which when pressed brought up a dialogue box advising which room to go to next, it was OK but there wasn’t anything else to help you throughout and I found that I could have been wandering aimlessly for ages trying to find my objective, especially when it only directed me to a specific wing.
In all honesty, I found the game to be a drag, the walking around got tedious after a while, and with no sprint option to be able to get around quicker, it took a lot longer than I would have liked to get round places. Frustrations grew more when objectives were on different floors and having to walk around the different sections, especially when sometimes they were either a way to get too or that it was on a different floor and you were either having to go up and down the stairs or the elevator.
Another issue that I had with the game was that there were some framerate and sound issues. There did seem to be a lot of points when walking along that the game would stutter, there would also be points that this would happen when opening a door or looking at/picking up and item. This would also make the sound jump a lot which was quite off-putting, especially when the game is trying to create a certain atmosphere and bring the tenseness of the situation to life.
The game does create a good atmosphere at certain parts, but there are others where it is completely lost, music is a good way to help create this atmosphere and The Town of Light does this, but not all the time. There are points you’re walking down a dark narrow corridor, and there is nothing, no music, just the sound of footsteps echoing, and in a way it made me feel safe, and in the type of situation I am in, in the setting that I am at, I would want my heart to be pounding more, and to have a more psychological effect. After all, isn’t this the overall theme to the game?
The narrative for the game was a very hard one for me to play through, some of the subjects that are spoken about within the game are going to be very hard to come to terms with, and if you can play through this game with no feeling at all, you’re not human. Powerful and effective, but maybe too far?