It's with a great sense of anticipation that we approach the launch of Atari's brand new thriller adventure game. Nintendo gamers haven't been treated to a mature game with a genuinely thrilling storyline since Resident Evil 4 was released over a year ago and it's about time fans of the genre got something to stick their teeth into. We're sorry to report though that you might want to chomp down on your Wii Remote for a while because the two words that immediately spring to mind here would have to be 'utter' and 'disappointment'.
Alone In The Dark is a thriller adventure game set in the city of New York. You begin the game clueless of your origins or your identity with your only concrete knowledge being that people around you are being slaughtered by an unseen evil at an alarming rate. You play through the game learning who you can trust and what abilities you possess but you have to learn quickly because the mysterious evil that seems to be taking over the city is growing more powerful.
You soon learn that in order to progress you need to take advantage of everything in your surroundings. You won't always have ammo at your disposal so poles, chairs, bins and fire extinguishers are often the only way to dispose of enemies or break through doors. Item combination is one of the game's strengths and independent control of your two arms (via the Nunchuk and Wii Remote) means you can use two items together to devastating effect.
Over the past six months we've brought you various previews of this game and every time we've said the same thing: it has the potential to be absolutely stunning. All the elements are there: the amazing atmosphere, the mysterious storyline, the satisfaction when you figure out the puzzles (the game gives you little help and you have to figure out most things yourself), the fantastic implementation of the Wii controls (well, most of the time anyway... the vehicle controls are awful). As much as it pains us to say it though, these elements all fall by the wayside because Alone In The Dark simply isn't finished. It smacks of a game that's been rushed out the door to hit a deadline.
It's the basic things that present the most obvious problems. Not being able to pick up an item that has a huge 'A' button prompt until you've turned around and looked at it from a different angle. We can't describe how much that ruins the game when you're trying to get away from an enemy and want to pick up some ammo on the fly.
In fact, all of the problems that we outlined in our preview a few months ago are still present in their entirety. You still can't look at your feet, meaning that if you want to pick something up you have to take a few steps back. And the driving controls are still awful, making the car and forklift sections a painful chore instead of an enjoyable aside.
Alone In The Dark is an utter disappointment. Gamers willing to stick with it will get some great moments out of it but the knowledge that it should and could have been so much better with an extra six months of development (i.e. had they actually finished the game) is almost too much to bear. And the knowledge that the Xbox360 and PS3 versions ARE finished grates yet further. This game shouldn't be on the shelves in this state; it's as simple as that