I don’t know what it is about the horror genre that people, such as myself, love so much. The very idea that we go into a piece of entertainment with the sole purpose of letting it scare the bejesus out of us sounds silly, right? I once again put myself through this ordeal with the release of the spooky Silver Chains. I should point out that although I am a massive fan of the horror genre, with the exception of ‘Gore Porn’, I find that some folks think that blood and guts all over the place makes something scary, it doesn’t – a good ‘horror’ game should offer suspense, thrills, scares, and a creepy atmosphere.
I will admit that as I normally am a console gamer, specifically PlayStation, I had not heard of Silver Chains until my editor asked if I wanted to review this brand new horror game from Cracked Heads Games. So with an open mind, and a blanket pulled up to my chin, I dove into the world inspired by legendary games such as Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Layers of Fear 2, just to name a few.
I have to admit, the very beginning of the game will cause any fans of the genre to roll their eyes to the back of their heads faster than a curveball thrown at the World Series. Your character, Peter, ‘wakes up’ after a serious accident, in which he hit a tree in the middle of the night. In his half-conscious state, he stumbles up to a mansion and promptly passes out at the front doorstep shortly after spotting a shadowy person standing in the second-floor window, appearing and disappearing like a flash of lightning. I know true believers, we have seen this opening many, MANY times. Paper Dolls, which I reviewed recently, had a similar opening act, just to name one such similar title.
Upon waking up, Peter is now in the house and it doesn’t take long for shenanigans and other bits of ghostly tomfoolery to happen.
It’s difficult to talk too much about the game as the plot of Silver Chains is very simple and discussing it in length will ruin the surprises and plot you should experience for yourself. It took me about 5-6 hours to complete the game but I wouldn’t doubt for a second that speedrunners will find a way to complete it in under an hour. The main focus of Peters adventure is that you move about this sizeable three-story mansion and try to find clues as to what happened in the home previously as well as trying to figure out how to escape. The story does play on a lot of typical horror tropes, but in the case of Silver Chains, the enjoyment you will find in the game is in the sense of accomplishment as you solve the various puzzles that are laid about the house.
Thankfully Cracked Heads Games didn’t borrow too much inspiration from Resident Evil, thankfully the ridiculous and beyond-cryptic puzzles don’t make an appearance. However, I admit that there are a couple of puzzles in the game that can be downright frustrating to figure out – I’m looking at you ‘Painting Puzzle’! You have to constantly be on the lookout in your environment as there can be clues all over the place for puzzles you haven’t even seen yet. If you’ve played other first-person or VR horror-based puzzle games, such as 18 floors, The Door and Paper Dolls, then you’ll appreciate the combination of a puzzle adventure and horror which requires you to be alert and attentive as you explore your spooky prison.
Meanwhile, you need to also be aware of your surroundings so that you have an idea of where to run when the monster appears…
Speaking of which, there’s a ghastly women/monster thing which appears from time to time that wants to snap poor Peters neck like the Incredible Hulk stepping on a twig. There is often very little room for error – if you hear the music start to play then you need to immediately run to a closet to hide, trying not to run straight into her arms! The frustrating thing about this ‘woman’ is that it didn’t take long for me to discover that she is not randomly walking the corridors of the house. The ghastly apparition has a set path which she takes around the mansion, as well as a bunch of set trigger points which activates the spookums! As such, just like any scripted horror game, once you’ve played through the game (or seen someone play it), it’s easy enough to prepare yourself and plan ahead. Again, this is why I think speed-runners will be able to get through this game quickly.
Playing Silver Chains a second time, remembering a lot of the puzzles and knowing when to hide, it only took me about 2 and a half hours to complete.
Despite not being the most original horror game out there, Silver Chains is a nice combination of tropes from various influences. It may not the most inspiring story in a game, but what it lacks in that, it makes up with decent visuals and some good jump scares. Normally most jump scares don’t get me, but there are a few in Silver Chains that got me to jump and say words I shouldn’t say in front of my innocent children! I personally want to give kudos to Cracked Heads Games – I encountered some issues whilst playing the game pre-release yet they were able to fix them immediately, ensuring the final version which went live today runs great for everyone with no progress-blocking occurrences.
Ultimately, if you are a fan of horror games, I would say that Silver Chains is worth picking up now on PC or on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch in early 2020.