Category Archives: soundtrack

Sea Of Solitude (Conceptual Review)

“One’s fears and flaws can become burdens on the ocean’s mirror surface.”

When you take a good story and combine it with an emotional soundtrack and the possibility of exploring a fantasy world in which you can find the human psyche metamorphosed into beings out-of-the-ordinary – with a good storytelling design and great voice-actors – you end up creating a game that not only keeps the player attached to the keyboard but also a game which demands to be replayed as soon as you finished it.

It is the case of Sea Of Solitude – an adventure game developed by Jo-Mei Games and published by Electronic Arts.

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The protagonist – Kay finds herself in a submerged city with no recollection of how she got there. By interacting with the world around her, she is able to collect memories and reveal her story.

Based on real events (the creative director – Cornelia Geppert told that this game was inspired by events from her life) – the story in Sea Of Solitude is about dealing with human feelings caused by different circumstances.

Kay is greeted by monsters which are materializations of these intense feelings. In order to overcome the feelings she must battle these creatures. Her story engages the player with Kay’s relationships. Her brother, her parents, her boyfriend.

You end up knowing the importance of dialogue between siblings, repercussions of the lack of attention in a couple, sharing feelings, wanting to help and finding ways to cope with sadness and also the design of moving on.

Mental health issues are presented in this game in a way in which the protagonist is taken into the midst of uncertainty. Kay’s monologues are a representation of her desire to understand the problem.

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There is sadness and emptiness along with this fear of the unknown.

There is hatred and miscommunication along with the incapability to reconnect.

There is misunderstanding and isolation along with powerlessness and mental fatigue.

The whole human universe of emotions is described in the gameplay as a labyrinth from which Kay must find a way out – also to battle her demons and also to help destroying the ones which were born from the barriers with her loved ones.

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What I enjoyed the most at this game was the story – how it evolves – the dialogues and the monologues. Secondly – the chromatic – using shades of just a few colors to establish an environmental tableau. And the last but not the least – the amazing soundtrack created by Guy Jackson.

I finished the game in one day – a few hours of exploring (“We are Explorers!”) and trying to collect all the bottles and to shoosh all the seagulls and after that I replayed it just for the feeling it was able to transmit.

One of the best adventure games I’ve played. Recommended.

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Layers Of Fear 2 [Conceptual Review]

“An act of creation begins with an act of destruction.”

A single light-spot. A portrayed illusion. A formless figure behind the curtain. A character to build. A captain.. a quartermaster.. a lost cause.

Alone.. in your cabin.. far from your crew. A missing eye. A story to tell.. A sequence of dementia.

When I first played the first Layers of Fear game I was mesmerized. Portraying a mental illness in a video-game and having the opportunity to live the character’s participation, decisions, visions, illusions, despair, hallucinations, regrets, sadness and hatred was quite an experience.

The second game came as a sweet easter-egg inside one of the horrible rooms in the basements from Observer’s main building. Then I saw the trailer for Project Melier, which became the materialization of Layers of Fear 2.

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A horror, first-person adventure-exploration game with a vivid narrative alignment and some puzzles to make the story whole – Layers of Fear 2 brings in front an actor who is trapped inside an internal crisis of building that one special character which he always was destined to portray.

He finds himself on an ocean-liner, working for a hard-to-please director, who never shows his face but dictates disaster through the schizophrenic episodes of the main character’s struggles. As per how things work in the Layers of Fear universe, each turn could potentially lead to another path, closed doors hide secrets and just behind you there is a disfigured shadow ready to consume raw flesh.

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You start exploring the ship, noticing that a voice, like a supernatural force is leading you towards accomplishment. But the voice is no friend of yours, and soon you discover that your surroundings are rotten paintings of regurgitated nightmares.

The game is structured into five acts: The Unmooring, The Hunt, Bloody Roots, Breath and Forever. Each of these sections lets you build your character through various choices. The story can be consumed through the game-play, the director’s and the narrator’s speeches, through phonograph cylinders, the movies you collect and posters, letters and documents.

The first act takes you throughout various locations on the ship, before entering the stage where the director demands a first choice – shoot one of the dummies (the male or the female). Throughout the game, real people were replaced with dummies – depicted as tortured beings, dead persons or other characters from the narration.

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There are more than 20 riddles and puzzles to be solved in order to continue with the story.

Each act has it’s own mysteries to be solved in order to create the character’s path. Some are quite easy to solve, others require a bit of thinking and further exploration, consulting notes or paying attention to the voice-overs of the director.

Once you get to know your surroundings you will become part of an existence into multiple dimensions, you will fill the stories of other characters, you will discover the tragedies that occurred on board of the vessel.

I’ve finished the game twice and each time I spend time just to explore all the areas, sit and listen to the atmospheric noise inside the cabins and sections of this world. I did encounter two jump-scares that managed to get to me and also listened daily the soundtrack of the game, which is absolutely amazing. Arkadiusz Reikowski did again a great job with this game too.

As the story progresses, you find yourself into deeper and darker corners, without a means to escape. The only way out is down, down into the abyssal conjunction of art. Below are some more screens from the game’s great corners of darkness.

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