The RPS Advent Calendar 2022, December 3

Welcome to the third day of the RPS Christmas Advent Calendar. Well, I say today. Indeed, it is night, but there is certainly nothing to harm us in this quaint old town. wait. did you hear this? Is there… is there something behind us? I swear it looks like something is following us. I don’t like the sound of this rattling at all. Do you have a map? My God You don’t have a map?

Of course it is the wonderful and wonderful horror game Saturnalia!

Alice B: I guess it would have been easy to guess that I would include Saturnalia on this list by hook or by crook – or, indeed, by way of a terrifying masked creature. But I promise I’ll only carry you down to my subterranean nest and perform cannibalism in part of an ancient folk ritual as a last resort (or if you ask me a real beauty, like).

A few years ago, it was a fairly common, and not very good, joke to post an example of game breaking or being stupid, with the caption “Video games suck, actually lol”, but I’ll tell you a secret reader: A few times this year I’ve found myself in A gray, hazy kind of place where I thought it was real. It was during one such period, splashing in a sea of BoringI played Saturnalia. It was like an angel throwing a life jacket at me and saying, “Video games too Good“.

No no no, the others left.

I’ll own it’s not for everyone,” because it’s a horror game, and it’s a scary game. At the very least—and to the extent that different kinds of horror will scare different kinds of people— I I think it’s very scary. It is set in a fictional mining town in Sardinia, which is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world, and steeped in decades-old secrets and traditions. Rather than trying to change anything, the locals of Gravoi content themselves with holding an annual folk festival, which, every so often, hosts a vicious monster that crawls around the mining tunnels below town and turns up to grab anyone in the streets. After dark.

You play as a group of four outsiders who are trying to a) survive the night and b) escape, the latter being instrumental to the former, and requiring you to explore Gravoi to find several buildings and tools that will come in handy. Exploring is easier said than done, though there’s no HUD map or markers of interest. There are in-game map panels that you can look at every now and then, but apart from that, you just have to, you know, learn the city. Like real life used to be. Each character has a different set of (very limited) skills, such as a Polaroid flash camera or a map and compass for traversing mines. You also discover a web of stories and secrets wrapped around a group of largely unseen townspeople who all manage to seem desperate and/or sad, even though you only experience them through messages, photos, or scraps of personal demise. All the while, the creature can appear to be chasing you, and your only defense is to run and hide.

Saturnalia has excellent sound design – especially for the creature itself, which vibrates when it approaches and, in some circumstances, emits an unholy shriek to calm the nerves of the marrow – and a very beautiful visual style. It blooms in unreal neon shades that add color to the dark, black and white alleys of Gravoi. During my play, I began to see the monster as merely a manifestation of my real enemy, who was the city itself.

If the creature kidnaps all four characters, the town rearranges itself into an entirely new configuration. It is not a hostile space to be in. You get caught just because you get lost, and you can’t find anywhere to hide. You are in danger only because the locals will not help you. They are so resistant to change that people are dead and will continue to be. more than one way. It’s a metaphor, that’s what I’m saying. Which is bloody good.

#RPS #Advent #Calendar #December

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