The Layers of Fear series returns, this time with a complete reimagining of the series, offering an overarching experience that includes the first two parts, as well as an all-new story that connects all the events of this dark world together. It’s Layers of Fear’s most powerful and comprehensive experience, but did this reimagining solve the series’ problems and deliver a stronger psychological horror experience? The answer is not simple, unfortunately, because the game does many things right, and at the same time it makes some mistakes that prevent it from providing the perfect experience. Here’s our full review of Layers of Fear 2023.
It’s time to face your fear again… for the last time!
This is not the story of one game, but you are on a date with three different stories, the story of the painter from Layers of Fear 1 with the addition of Inheritance to this part, and the story of the actor from Layers of Fear 2, in addition to the story of the writer from the new Layers of Fear who arrives at a lighthouse in An attempt to write horror stories and draw inspiration from nature around them, but things soon turn upside down. Old stories have been wonderfully reimagined while maintaining the main essence of the series in providing a different psychological horror experience with a dark narration style that always has tragic endings.
Although there are many hints and overlaps between the events of the story of the painter and the actor, we did not see the relationship or connection between them in the first two parts of the series, and this differs here with the new version because the writer’s story links the events to each other in a logical and suspicious way, and this in turn makes the world of Layers of Fear More intertwined and interconnected with a major evil entity controlling everything around us. But to clarify, it will be difficult for most to understand and comprehend what is happening, especially since the game relies on written documents and answers to explain its story, and this is what we are used to from the series.
After you’ve finished with the main animator, actor, and writer’s stories, you can head over to an all-new addition, The Final Note, that connects the events even further and more clearly. We do not want to talk more about the story, especially since anything we will say about the writer’s story will be tantamount to spoiling the entire series, so we will leave you to enjoy the game for yourselves when you play it and try to connect the events and understand the story.
All we want to say is that you are on a date with a hearty meal in terms of stories and drama with a lot of dark and tragic relationships and events that will affect your feelings when you begin to understand what is happening around you. In addition, the game is considered long and has 3 games in one game for a not high amount, so if you have not played any previous part of the Layers of Fear series, we definitely advise you to purchase the new version, especially since we are reaching the end of the series story here!
The gameplay isn’t the best, but it does the trick
The thing we were most looking forward to seeing improvements in was the gameplay, but unfortunately that didn’t happen here. The game does not offer any innovation or creativity or any significant changes to the gameplay that we witnessed in the previous parts, and all you do throughout the events is move from one place to another while solving puzzles and trying to escape from the monsters that sometimes chase you. At first, it’s fun, but as you progress through the story, you start to get bored. This boredom increases here, especially since it is not one game that ends in 4 or 5 hours, for example, but rather a collection of three stories that will take you about 10 hours to finish, and all you do during the ten hours is move from one area to another, solve some puzzles, read a group of documents and the answers to understand the story, and that’s all the game has to offer.
Sometimes you will be able to defend yourself using a lamp in the first part and a flashlight in the second part, and the two also help in solving a group of puzzles in the environments, and herein lies the fun of the experience. In general, we did not find problems with the gameplay, especially since we got used to it with the first two parts of the series, and it is easy to get used to it because it only serves the main story, and this is the goal of the Bloober Team studio, but at the same time we can only think of some changes and improvements that we wish it was implemented in the new version.
In terms of horror, the game relies mainly on psychological horror and building the world and the story around you, and the horror experience is presented mainly in the overlapping of environments and the change of places around you, so in many cases you will enter rooms that do not have a door or other place to exit from, and when you turn to exit From the door you entered from, you will find it closed or the place has been completely changed from the outside!
This wonderful idea arouses awe in the hearts of the players and the constant fear of the unknown, because you always do not know what you will find behind the door that you open, and whether you will be able to get out of the door from which you entered or not. There is also a group of tricks that have been implemented in a distinctive way in the game, and we liked that the Bloober Team studio did not rely on them too much, but rather employed them in some correct situations to scare the player in the perfect way
Technical review of Unreal Engine 5 capabilities
Layers of Fear is one of the first games to be fully developed on Unreal Engine 5, and indeed the game shines in everything, whether in terms of lighting, reflections, shadows, and the use of ray tracing. All the environments and objects rendered are so high definition that you want to capture every second, and if that’s just a taste of what Bloober Team can do with the engine, we can’t wait to see what Silent Hill 2 Remake will look like.
The technical performance was also excellent, as we tried the game on a PC with generally average specifications:
- Intel Core i3 10100F processor
- 16 GB of RAM
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card
- SSD NVMe M.2
We put the game on the highest possible settings with ray tracing technology activated at 1080p resolution, and of course we took advantage of Nvidia DLSS technology in quality mode, and in return we got 60 frames per second without any problems or drops in frames, regardless of the strength of the scenes or the elements in it. This gets us excited about the future of the engine and how studios can take advantage of it by offering elevated graphics while maintaining high technical performance at the same time!
Unfortunately, the same thing does not apply to the technical experience as a whole. We encountered many problems during the hours we spent with the game, starting with the lack of an interaction button with some things that you are supposed to interact with in order to complete the story, which made us return the game to the previous save about five times ( That’s a lot), plus a bunch of glitches and glitches and a crash about twice. The technical experience wasn’t stable enough, but that’s what we got in the review version, and it’s likely that the first day’s update will solve most of those issues.
The audio experience was also beautiful, with great melodies and music that match the atmosphere of the game, with sound effects that add terror to all situations. The voice acting was excellent most of the time, especially since some of the actors did not give their best and we think their voices were more annoying than frightening or trying to bring something to the story and plot.
In the end
The latest Layers of Fear version offers the best experience of this world built by the Bloober Team studio, and despite the presence of some technical problems and the lack of any significant improvements or additions to the gameplay, the climax of the world’s story shines and intertwines in a way that we did not expect, and they succeeded in concluding the series in the best way. We expect the studio has learned a lot from its experience with this series, and now we can’t wait to see where it takes us on its next psychological horror journey!
Gamer Zone Club evaluation
- Story, world building and characters: 9
- Play Style: 7
- Psychological terror and taking advantage of appropriate times for turmoil: 8
- Technical and audio experience: 8
- A dark story with wonderful and dark events
- Perfectly connect all parts of the chain
- Fun gameplay at times
- Exploit the world and environments in the service of horror properly
- Employing and implementing shakes at ideal times
- An impressive technical demonstration of the capabilities of Unreal Engine 5
- Best sound effects and soundtrack
- Not to provide any gameplay modifications or improvements
- Some technical problems that we encountered during the experiment