A game of the year contender from a number of outlets in 2016, it’s only right that I take a look at Inside just a few days into 2017.
I know, I’m so timely it hurts.
The second game from Playdead, creators of the critically-acclaimed Limbo, Inside is very much in the same depression-based, small child vein as it’s predecessor. It tells a story through it’s wonderful visuals while only giving you little clues about what’s actually going on, allowing you to decipher what you think the meaning behind it all is for yourself.
Inside throws you in the deep end straight away without any guidance, escaping suspicious men who will strangle you on sight. In fact, a lot of things in this game will gruesomely end your existence even if they as much sense your presence, which fills you with constant dread and terror throughout the three-hour experience.
Seriously, can’t everyone just chill out?
In fact they don’t, as you constantly barrel forwards against a clearly oppressive, controlled humanity that has submitted to some omnipotent rule, which is only more frightening given Donald Trump’s imminent presidency.
As you reach the finale, which I won’t spoil here, all becomes at least mildly clearer. Or completely bat-shit crazy, depending on your mindset, but there’s no denying that the final 10 minutes are crazy fun.
It maybe dips in terms of storytelling at that point, especially when a simple puzzle was in place instead of a much more satisfying ending but it still remains potent. Even if it’s a little weird and subdued, it makes you think about what you’ve done to get to that point.
What did surprise me was the variety of gameplay. From simple challenges avoiding the light to copying the actions of the mindless masses, every little section left me wanting a little more while also giving me so much anticipation about what was to come.
That’s not to say anything was ridiculously ground-breaking or something they should have stuck with for the entire runtime. It was broken up into nice, bitesize chunks that never outstayed their welcome and implored you to keep moving forward, a nice little mix.
However, it is the visuals that really pack a punch inside Inside. There’s always something pulling your vision into it, much like the empty void in the walking corpses’ heads, Playdead did a wonderful job of using its art to explain its world.
A tip of the hat also to the camera angles used in conjuction with their artistic direction. Everything was always in sight; every little clue was hinted at wonderfully and it allowed the player to immerse themselves with in its horrifying world with such beautiful simplicity.
It’s not quite Game of the Year material though. For all its wonderful foreplay, it never quite reaches the level that makes your eyes roll into the back of your head.
Other may disagree, taking the story of control to heart and keeping that with them but for me, it just needed a little more spice from somewhere. Some may have connected a little more with the oppressive style and depressive world but again, it needed to tilt itself a little more over the edge to really push it into something truly special.
Inside certainly got a little insane but it just about failed to stay in my membrane.