Layers of Fear 2 is a psychological horror game that takes place aboard a 20th century cruise ship. The pace of the game is set from the start by the tone of the music and the pace of walking. The corroded walls and leaky ceilings add to the depth of the story. It opens like an early cinematic movie.
Based on the beginning dialogue and early hints you are an actor and your role is to play the part. There are clues scattered around hinting to you about building your character and connecting memories. All the while there is eerie sounds and music in the background. The use of emptiness and void sets a lonely disturbing tone, something like a troubled past.
One thing Layers of Fear 2 does well is puzzles. You get to experience this even at the very beginning with lock combinations and the placement of objects. The only way to move forward with the story is by completing them. I find myself opening every door and every closet hoping to figure out what to do next. Even though the path is linear with a clear direction you might find yourself back tracking over your steps in case you missed something or if something has to be done in a certain order. It certainly is part of the suspense and fun of the game but may take you a while.
Figuring out who your character is a fun part of Layers of Fear 2. It is written, directed and styled well. Throughout the cruise ship some of the objects you interact with tell a story of a well-known troubled actor who has played important roles in significant movies. The object interactions tell a small part of who you are or were. It keeps you motivated to want to keep going. You have the opportunity to pick up notes, read brief articles and look at past movie posters.
How the developers figured out how to add movie sets onto a 20th century cruise ship the way they did I will never figure out. As you progress through the story you will enter rooms that take you to elaborately staged movie sets. Sometimes it is hard to tell if it’s a past movie or the current movie your character is acting in. The use of mannequins seem to take the place of where other live actors should be or maybe stunt doubles. However, it makes perfect sense to use mannequins because it adds to the creepy lonely vibe Layers of Fears 2 wants to portray.
There are scenes where your character is being chased by mannequin blobs and you have no idea why. There is some disconnect on how you got to the scene or memory but it adds to the feel of the game. Its intent is not to be clear but to be a puzzle comparable to The Shinning but a little less suspenseful. There are certain decision points where you can choose to follow the direction of the voice speaking to you or not.
Layers of Fear 2 is the type of game you have to experience yourself to feel it. This is what makes this game a horror/thriller. It’s the setting, the feeling and the vibe all combined into one. This is the first game I played in this genre and I am enjoying it. Happy acting and break a leg!
Review copy provided by Evolve PR