Signalis review, a 2D survival horror that would have been excellent, but lacks excessive background solidity.
Dissatisfaction with the present produces the result known, so far as is to be expected, which is the result of looking into the past, of searching for what is seen as the original meaning of things: an ideal purity, cleaned of history, becomes the essence of the present. Of course, an obsession with the past can produce massive, sometimes brutal, distortions, but in some cases looking back seems to be the only way to move forward and achieve something desirable that was once thought irretrievably lost.
In recent years, the indie video game scene has often looked to the history of the medium, not only out of nostalgia, but also to rediscover forms of gameplay disconnected from the market, as well as to free itself from a production dictatorship. The Triple A industry has become unattainable for smaller teams and stifled by the desire to express themselves by individual developers, so it is not infrequent that there is a return that is more intuitive and in a certain sense human technologies and visual methods, that can be controlled without the need to invest tens of millions of dollars on her. The rose engine development studio has experimented with such a process, as we will see in Signalis Reviewthe survival horror that looks forward to Resident Evil and the first PlayStation, but reaches far beyond Project Firestart.
Elster a hero From Signalis, is Replika, a humanoid robot who, awakened from the cold on a floating spaceship, decides to infiltrate a gigantic government structure built on a very cold, distant planet, in search of his partner and the meaning of his dreams. Something terrible happened in the days before his arrival and the robots that were supposed to protect civilians are oppressing them. The place appears to be in ruins, although it has not been completely abandoned. There are survivors, very few actually, but they are all looking for a way to escape. But our goal is different: to go where evil was born, in a horror adventure whose story and style is reminiscent of the power of Stanley Kubrick, Hideaki Anno and David Lynch, the main sources of inspiration for the developers (they were the ones who unveiled them, so we didn’t have to work hard to locate them).
The base consists of several distinct environments: rooms and corridors that must be explored in search of key objects, weapons, ammunition, and healing items. Here and there are also documents that help to understand the context from which the adventure arises and which makes us understand the role of the totalitarian regime of Eusan, a galactic dictatorship that keeps the entire solar system in check. The work is framed from above, with the rooms divided apart by mechanical doors. The levels From the base are labyrinths to be explored from top to bottom and in which classic puzzles must be solved, which require a combination of objects or careful reading of documents in search of clues. For example, on one of the base floors we will have to find five access keys scattered around the level, check pipes, work with strange machines and so on. As you understand, in terms of adventure elements, we are more on the side of Resident Evil, or Silent Hill, than on those of modern survival horror, where you advance on autopilot.
Rarely in the first levels, when going down to the depths of the base, you also come across some hostile creatures, from insane androids to Lovecraftian strong-signed beasts. Signalis provides various tools to counter them, from pistols to shotguns, with the classic idea of limiting the number of ammo available, to the point that indiscriminate slaughter of every creature is not possible. In fact, as we will see, it is often better to avoid combat, using the simple stealth system built into the game or running away from enemies. The combat itself is the action of holding down the key to aim the weapon and shoot when the crosshair appears on the enemy. Nothing too complicated, to be honest, but Signalis clearly doesn’t aim to be a shooter and tries in every way to focus on exploration and the atmosphere.
To this end, short first-person sequences have also been introduced into the game, usually tied to certain environments, or break sequences, where you don’t fight but have to solve puzzles, such as finding a specific frequency in a radio. From the Elster, or interacting with the seemingly non-functional dashboard. In principle, Signalis’ gameplay works and is also involved, especially if you appreciate survival horror of a certain kind. The story that is told is less predictable than it initially appears and is told judiciously through the short illustrated sequences and documents mentioned above. Unfortunately, some of the choices made by the developers do a bit of undermining the experience, creating contradictory situations.
The Problems Signalis is closely related to his aspiration to resemble survival horror classics. If the game works from a puzzle point of view, choosing to manage inventory like Resident Evil, and thus with a very limited space, ends up forcing you to go back and forth between tiny chests where you can deposit excess stuff. The result is that, when possible, we tend to carry only the main things, those whose use is related to game progression, accumulated ammo and healing things in collection points (unfortunately, excess things cannot be left on the ground or exchanged with others). The fact that in this way you tend to fight less may also seem positive, but the fact is that, due to poor stealth mechanics, it becomes better to run here and there to avoid enemies, often very slow and not reactive. .
this wayatmosphere Partly punished, partly because one becomes too adept at overtaking in the race and thus, the feeling of impending danger disappears, and partly because of the annoyance of having to walk several times over areas already visited, only to go to pick up a particular thing left behind or the ammo you need to clean the areas that you want to explore more deeply (or where combat is inevitable). You should all still stick to the element management system that the survival horror classics handled much better than the rose engine game. With this we don’t want to say that Signalis is a bad title, but just to emphasize that the rigidity with which it looks into the past has backfired in certain aspects of the game, causing it to lose some power and prevent it from flying until it reaches the distinction that was within reach his hand.
From the point of view Technique and stylistics Instead, there’s little to complain about: Signalis blends 2D mechanics and 3D graphics in an excellent way, following a trend so popular in the indie scene in recent years, that the search for a visual feel from the first PlayStation, perfectly suited to what it aims to Get it in terms of atmosphere. The lack of identification of characters and some elements of the scene, combined with the dim light in which the rooms are flooded, with scarce light sources that often stretch shadows excessively, creates a sense of deep anguish, as if one were one. Penetrating a dying body, the perfect setting for the story to be told. Even pure 3D clips, viewed in first person, produce a similar effect and are more reminiscent of the ’90s, despite their brevity. The perfect soundtrack, which is never too intrusive and made with very dark and slow atmospheric music, often made up of few sounds, which blends perfectly with the scenery, becomes a perfect setting to help you immerse yourself in the game world.
tested version Windows computer
Steam, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, Nintendo eShop
It’s a shame not being able to speak of Signalis as an excellent game, due to some frankly avoidable gameplay limitations that reduce the overall impact of the experience. It remains a beautiful horror adventure, in some moments really important, especially in terms of how it deals with certain topics, and moreover it is able to suggest clever puzzles, which do not have a built-in solution as now happens in most games that crowd the mass market. It is precisely these undeniable qualities that lead us to recommend her, considering what her boundaries are and the past she is trying to stick to, in a very strict sometimes way.
- Well built atmosphere
- Clever puzzles that do not solve themselves
- good story
- Inventory management is all very classic
- We often follow in our footsteps
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