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Thoughts on Slender: The Arrival
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Thomas Offline
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Post: #1
Thoughts on Slender: The Arrival

http://frictionalgames.blogspot.se/2013/...rival.html
05-13-2013 11:13 AM
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maarten12100 Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Thoughts on Slender: The Arrival

Didn't actually play it yet but I found it to be too jumpscare based which isn't my kind of horror.
(however I finished the original + all parts excluding Prison from the Slendermanshadow maker)
05-13-2013 11:28 AM
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Statyk Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Thoughts on Slender: The Arrival

Ah, glad to see your position on this one. For a moment, I was worried you were going to praise it of sorts. Glad to hear you're still on the right track Big Grin
05-13-2013 11:28 PM
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rtjhbfvsrry Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Thoughts on Slender: The Arrival

It does a couple of things well throughout the rest of the game as well but yeah, the game mechanics are really frustrating and your reasons for doing anything are maddeningly unclear.

Quick breakdown (SPOILERS)

- The prologue is really fantastic, other than the horribly immersion breaking achievement.

- The Forest level, essentially a remake of the original, is not as good as the original. The original worked because it was not part of a larger story, now we don't have a reason to collect notes and it just doesn't fit in. The pacing is also uneven, in the original you would likely have had a couple of Slenderman sightings from far away before he even really starts chasing you rather than just watching, and here he just relentlessly teleports into your face from the first few pages. The subtlety is gone, the build up is gone, both removed in favour of jump scares. In fact, whenever he just teleports into the frame, it breaks immersion and it really is nothing but a jump scare.

(I disagree with the assessment that the original was based on jump scares - it was most definitely based on atmosphere and the feeling of being chased. A jumpscare is when something is thrown in your face and you're startled, in the original Slender game it becomes painfully clear that this guy is always following you, even if you don't always see him - the atmosphere is tense and horrifying and it's scarier when you don't see him than it is when you do. It had jumpscares, I will not deny that, but they worked because they were part of the pacing and atmosphere.)

- The third level has become infamous in that nobody has made it through this level without getting angry at how stupid the mechanics are. This level starts out really well, and the collection mechanic in this level at least makes some sense, compared to the pages, and the first time or two you come face to face with the new enemy, it's pretty terrifying. Then it just makes the level impossible to finish - unless you know a game mechanic that at this point has simply never been introduced or hinted at.

Again, Slenderman will occassionally just teleport straight into your face and just ruins the experience. The mechanic from the original, where you would turn and he'd be there, was unsettling and would have worked perfectly in this level with it's many small hallways and turns, yet they forego this oppertunity to simply give you a jumpscare when he just appears right in front of you. It's unforgiving, not scary and not fun to play.

- The Flashback level. This one's actually pretty good, it suffers from bugs and the collection mechanic having gotten stale, but I actually thought this was the most effective use of that mechanic and I most certainly did not expect that it actually cuts this mechanic short. This one works in the story, it has a couple of good scares and the mechanic makes sense. Probably the best "actual" level in the game. The notes building up to this level had some pretty tension building moment. This level needed some additional polish, though.

- The Inferno level. It's a straight run? The scripted bits at the end, once you are inside the building, are pretty unsettling, but makes no sense unless you collected all the notes and read them thoroughly, which nobody in this impossible to play game will have done, so it's just a "what the hell?" moment, and the actual chase was just boring. I read later on that it was a chase sequence, I did not even know when I was playing it. I just thought "gosh, I better get out of this burning forest". Did not see Slenderman once in supposedly the climax.

In all, I'd say the parts where they don't use the collection mechanic work the best, but mostly because the enemy mechanics, especially Slenderman's "here I aaaaam!" constant in-your-face teleportation tricks, completely ruin the experience. I know he teleported in the original, but you barely ever saw it happen and seeing it was so rare that it added to the fear. Here it's just like Amnesia custom stories throwing flying naked guys in your face.

I'd still say it was worth playing once, just to see the things that did work, but I can't blame anyone for quitting because of the completely stupid game mechanics. It becomes too frustrating to be scary.

I was really hoping it'd be a more subtle experience. The original was not without subtlety (the "what's going on, oh my god there's someone over there" pacing of playing it the first time was amazing) and the creator's other experimental horror game, "Where Am I?" also started out wonderfully subtle ("wait, wasn't there a door there? nah, probably just imagined that" but it's sadly a real disappointment when it could have been amazing with just a little extra polish and some tweaks.
(This post was last modified: 05-17-2013 12:00 PM by rtjhbfvsrry.)
05-17-2013 11:09 AM
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HarshlyCritical Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Thoughts on Slender: The Arrival

Great post. Your experience with the game and subsequent thoughts very closely mirror my own.

I had nearly identical feelings about the introduction. I loved the way the game opened, with the abandoned car, the road, and the subtle changes that occurred in the environment to signify an oncoming darkness, all culminating with the abandoned house.

The house terrified me. The sounds of someone - or something - walking outside, the tone of the notes, the creepy drawings... It was a much more atmospheric and immersive experience than I had originally conceived possible for the game. Then I looked out the window innocently - and I saw him. Just standing in the yard. Then my screen began to flip out, and I ducked into the next room. When I returned to that window, he was gone. And that's when I started getting chills.

I did not want to leave the house. I did not want to exit out the slightly open gate and see what awaited me in the forest. But I did, and was greeted with... a loading screen.

When I came out of it, I was, as you described, in an unfamiliar environment. I could have traveled thirty feet, or I could have trekked two miles, there was no way to know. Once I discovered that I had to collect eight pages, my mental eyes rolled to the back of my head. Why? For what purpose? It was not explained, and there was a huge disconnect between the introductory sequence with the house and the "Hur hur, collect X" objective I was faced with afterwards.

I got up to 6 out of 8 before I had had enough, and I just let Slenderman murder me to put an end to it all. I never returned to the game for a second attempt.

It's a disconnect that reminds me of similar situations like Bioshock Infinite, as if there was a dictated gameplay element that had to be present in order for the game to be made. After all, if it was a true Slender remake, it would have to have a "Collect the eight pages" facet, right? I find that concept rather frustrating, since the introduction showed such potential.

It's too bad. Here's hoping other big horror releases this year (Outlast, Machine for Pigs, etc.) are more fulfilling. I have big expectations for them! Big Grin
05-17-2013 07:22 PM
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rtjhbfvsrry Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Thoughts on Slender: The Arrival

Believe it or not, the eight pages segment is actually remarkably easy compared to the original. It's interesting that it became shorter and easier yet much more frustrating than the original.
05-18-2013 10:26 AM
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Clord Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Thoughts on Slender: The Arrival

This is so far the best solo Slender game there is and it is completely free.

http://www.old.haunt-slendergame.com/

My point being that when you are going to charge and hype something like that, make sure that you actually better game than the free counterparts.
(This post was last modified: 05-21-2013 07:37 PM by Clord.)
05-21-2013 07:36 PM
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rtjhbfvsrry Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Thoughts on Slender: The Arrival

That game looked good but it had no atmosphere. Nothing happens and then something - not Slenderman, since this game obviously has no clue what the Slenderman mythos is - flies out at you. Graphics and a single non-scary jumpscare does not make a good game. The Arrival is by far a superior game simply by nature of the first level - I find even all the Slenderman's Shadow ripoff games to be superior to that insult.

But honestly, the original Slender is still the best one of the bunch.
(This post was last modified: 05-21-2013 10:20 PM by rtjhbfvsrry.)
05-21-2013 10:17 PM
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