The Average Gamer

Alone in the Dark: Illumination Beta Impressions

What do you get when you pull the best aspects out of Resident Evil 4, Alan Wake, and the PlayStation 2 era Alone in the Dark titles?

Not Alone in the Dark: Illumination, that is for sure. Illumination is a third person co-op survival horror game, though the weekend beta only allows for solo play.  This, alone, is the first mistake that Pure FPS, creators of Rekoil, makes with the beta. It is the first hands-on time that the general public has gotten, time to sell it to us all. Yes, it is described as a bonus for pre-purchasing. I may be old school, but I like my bonuses with a dash of worth it. You have to pay-to-play this weekend long beta. What an awkward trend, pay-to-test. [Worth noting, it’s not even pre-ordering. You gotta buy the whole game in advance – Ed.]


I picked Resident Evil 4 and Alan Wake very deliberately. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were playing the unreleased version of Resident Evil 4, because our only protagonist in the beta certainly took some style tips from Leon S. Kennedy.

There will be four classes available at release; the holy word-wielding Priest, the electric-powered Witch, the comet-calling Engineer, with the fourth being the Hunter, playable in this beta. Carnby, as the Hunter is known, relies on more practical instruments to get the job done. He is a dual-revolver-wielding, assault rifle spraying, silent son-of-a gun. Not Gordan Freeman cool and silent, not the story-rich and silent Newt from Aliens. Carnby is just mute.

Silence can be golden, but in the case it isn’t. To create a living hero, you really need either: a cast that can support the aforementioned hero or some passive interaction with the surrounding world. Hey, Pure FPS, if you need a someone to do some voice-over work, let me know.

Then there is Alan Wake-esque game mechanic, light. Yep, if you get your enemies caught under a street light or any other light source, such as trash cans [what? – Ed.], they begin to crack, their husks showing coloured veins. This is when you can deal heavy damage to them. Though, frustratingly, your flashlight does absolutely nothing to the enemies. Maybe they are immune to energy-saving LED flashlights?

Sadly, this silent horror hero really doesn’t spur on the story of Illumination, what little of it we are shown during the four sections that encompass the first chapter. The character that does add a little something, The Author, is also silent. You are able to read a page at the start of each of the four sections of the beta. They are a small highlight, as they read well, though rather disappointingly, the pages receive zero reaction from the Hunter. No witty internal monologue, no scoffing, nothing.

The gun play, AI, and character navigation all feel very outdated. I felt like I was unloading pop-caps at the enemies. Both the revolver and assault rifle are aim and shoot. No recoil is present and aiming is nothing more than an animation, as it provides no benefits. Very little impact is felt from the bullets hitting the enemies; I can only assume the meat and potatoes are still to be added.

The enemy AI seems to be set to ‘swarm’, as all they do is rush you. You would think this would be scary. Nope. It is frustrating, because when you knock them down with your overpowered melee attack, you can take down a whole horde with one swing but you aren’t able to navigate around or over them. So you are then just trapped behind this husk wall, waiting for them to recover. When they do, you’ll be overwhelmed.


Wait though, it’s not all bad from the beta experience!

The game runs on the Unreal 4 engine, so expect to reap the rewards of the latest technology. The lighting is excellent; it really sets the mood. From the detail in the lighting, scenery and mission objectives, you can certainly see what Pure FPS are aiming for. The level layouts aren’t the most inspiring. Thankfully this is made up for with the ability to explore almost every building. They can be filled with health packs, ammo, light switches, and almost certainly monsters. One thing I did notice, and liked, was that the levels seem to have random doors unlocked on each load. This can change your game-plan, as you run through the level and then BAM your ace in the hole is locked.

The Steam community has been very outspoken about their disappointment for Illumination’s issues; the game taking several minutes to load, repetitive crashing, and lack of basic options such as key bindings. A lot of posts created aren’t safe for the younger eyes.

I usually do not ask for refunds, but this game is not alone in the dark at all

Now that the beta is live i can`t ask for a refund, when the beta finish can we ask for a refund and take back the money at the wallet?


Steam user, Willy

The best thing that Pure FPS can do is, from this gamer’s point of view, is to do a weekend a month of free testing. Bring the community into the loop, regain their faith in the Alone in the Dark franchise. Because, right now, Illumination looks like a young teenager using fake ID.

Alone in the Dark: Illumination is available to pre-purchase on Steam.