Nightmares are the perfect theme for a horror game, but puzzles in dreams are often hard to find. After all, almost everything works according to the logic of dreams, and the basis of dreams leaves you with infinite possibilities. What works in the real world may not work or behave very differently in a dream.
Now that I’ve tied a knot in your brain, let’s talk about DARQ Complete Edition, a horror-inspired puzzle game for PS5 that combines the base game with two DLC. Should you follow him into the darkness or leave him alone while you’re young and trying to recover from his scary dreams? We’ll see about that!
A game about nightmares in which the logic of dreams prevails
DARQ Complete Edition is a game about a boy named Lloyd who has recently mastered lucid dreaming. Unfortunately, his nightly dreams are constant nightmares that place him in a twisted environment and force him to fight horrific creatures to survive the night.
That’s exactly what we’re talking about here. On the one hand, I love the open-ended nature of the gameplay, and credit the style and atmosphere for being excellent. The lack of plot also works in your favor, allowing you to quickly jump from one night to the next, as there isn’t much to do in Lloyd’s house.
But it’s a double-edged sword, because the superior style and atmosphere provide explanations. How did he get so good at manipulating his dreams? Where are his parents? Shouldn’t these boards be replaced by a real door in the stairwell? The game never offers any real answers or connections behind everything, but the end of the main game and the two DLCs offer fertile ground for theories if you sit back and let it all sink in.
For fans of games like Limbo, Inside or Little Nightmares, DARQ Complete Edition is a game that offers as much story as you want, depending on your gaming experience. The game never tells you what it’s about, but it’s clear that it’s designed to convey some kind of meaning. It’s not a style that works for everyone, but I like a little more plot or context when I can. I’m not averse to conjecture, and I like it, but I feel like the full DARQ edition could have left a few more breadcrumbs to round out the story.
Apart from the story, DARQ Complete Edition is a puzzle game at its core, with a number of stealth mechanics in the chapter. The base game is not very long, but the addition of DLC to this package helps improve the quality of the game. The puzzles themselves are generally scattered throughout the level and require you to collect the right objects or use switches and levers to move around.
One particularly amazing aspect of the full edition of DARQ is the ability to walk along walls or ceilings at will. The way LLoyd presses his hand against the wall before pressing X and watching the world spin around you will never bore you. This also plays a role in environments where you can often change your perspective forward or backward, and walk in any direction and on any surface.
Puzzles is reliable and never seems unfair. Dream logic plays a part, but I was able to make the leap mentally without too much trouble. For example, the letter T can serve as a lever, while a wristwatch can certainly become a bridge in the right scenario.
The stealth in the game makes sense from a horror perspective, but in many cases I don’t find it all that enjoyable. This is mainly because enemies tend to move slowly, forcing you to sit quietly in your hideout until they pass without too much fear.
I loved other types of enemies, especially the creatures in lampshades and the woman in a wheelchair. I won’t give away their secrets, but suffice it to say that their mechanics relieved the stress in a good way and complemented the overall horror.
While I wouldn’t call DARQ Complete Edition scary, I would call it sinister, thanks to the aforementioned enemies and dense atmosphere. I would have liked to see a bit more history and context, as well as deeper, more understated puzzles, but there’s no denying that what happens here is largely brilliant and completely absorbing.
You have a choice of screen, but both are great
DARQ Complete Edition can be played on PS5 in two modes: 4K / 30FPS and 60FPS option in the settings. There’s not much difference, but you’ll see sharper resolution on the larger screen. That said, the 60fps mode is incredibly fluid, as it often is. In both modes the game plays like a dream, so it’s a matter of personal preference.
While adaptive triggers are not used at all in DualSense, the haptic feedback and general vibration in the game are well designed and add to the immersion (you do have to enable them in the settings). Despite what I think of the story and gameplay, the presentation is excellent, with great animations and beautiful cutscenes that give the game a unique visual identity.
Fans of horror games like Limbo or Little Nightmares will feel right at home with DARQ Complete Edition, and for them it’s an easy read. While it doesn’t quite reach the same heights, it certainly deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as these titans of the genre, and is generally worth your time.
Last point: 8.0/10
A copy of DARQ Complete Edition was provided by PS5 Gamers for review.
Subject – Bradley Ramsey
Date of entry – 29.03.2021
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