Welcome to the Lupo playthrough of BLAME (Beta 0.5.5)!
Seeing as this is a work in progress, there will be no review only summary of gameplay experience, looking at elements of the game and possible improvements that could better the experience. Spoilers can be found ahead.
Before we begin our playthrough of this newest version of BLAME, we’ll quickly look at the latest additions and differences from the previous version.
This is the next stage in the BLAME development process and this update does a lot in developing a story, adding new features and polishing up certain gameplay elements while there are obviously a few things to iron out which we’ll mention afterwards.
Now when you setup the game for the very first time you’re given a tutorial to explain the mechanics of the game. This was also present last time though this is a one off, it does well of explaining the basics to the player instead of thrusting them into this game with no idea how to play it.
Meanwhile there is also the feature now of a map, which shows your current location and the names of important rooms, as well as the location of the Entities as they fly around the map, the third change until this point of the antagonist. The location of the game is no longer merely a maze, there are now bathrooms and three generator rooms as well as the main control room, which is your objective.
Add to this that now there is a more fleshed out story with radios scattered around the place, each with a recording talking about the effects of a ‘God’s Head’ and how there must be a sacrifice, with three items, the same three as last time (a rose, a book and a teddy bear.) While the choice of items seems strange for such a ritual, you also have the choice to stop the sacrifice by finding three data disks which can end it all. Along the way you’ll start to understand a bit more the events surrounding BLAME.
The HUD now also shows life as well as the ever depleting battery life. If there is a complaint or two is that the interaction with the wardrobes as well as items needs to be fixed so I don’t find myself literally pushing up against the item to interact with it. Also there is still no additions and no access to the ‘Top Secret’ in the main menu.Also unfortunately the antagonists still aren’t as terrifying enough so instead of feeling terrified at their mere presence and running for your life through the maze, I’m still not experiencing the terror of encountering my pursuer compared to say Pesadelo O Inicio.
Oh, one last thing before I forget, look out for monitors, once you find one, you must look at it long enough!
The game begins now in a dark room with two radios on a table each with a truly conflicting message on each. Whoever left these messages, wants us to either stop or assist the God’s Head ritual. What this all means you’ll discover later on if you listen to as many as you can and I found this addition to be great, truly immersing yourself into BLAME and the voice acting for some reason really draws you in and doesn’t feel out of place.
Now I have a strong suggestion to anyone who plays this game, batteries are essential. I would find as many as I can in the first few moments before you enter a world with red mist all around you. Scattered around the maze are tables and wardrobe with batteries, as well as stamina boosters and healing pills, though I find that the tables and wardrobes feel out of place somewhat and throughout the game there isn’t much you can interact with, even pick up, which while it may not be essential, would immerse the player more into the game I’m sure.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, the map is divided into three sections. You’ve got the first area, with two generator rooms and bathrooms, then forward one area you’ve got another generator room and down a long corridor you have the final area, the control room. The old tagging system has been ditched to make way for a map, which is an enormous help though I did enjoy the tagging system as it made you feel truly vulnerable, though I’m sure a map will be prefered by the majority.
Now besides needing to find all the items (depending on the choice you made) you must also activate all three generators by pulling the levers to open the front door to the control room. Most of the items can be found within these three rooms as has happened during my playthroughs, yet you might still find them on tables around the maze. I don’t know whether it was bad luck or such but I hope in subsequent updates to find these objects maybe there could be more of a challenge (for e.g maybe to recover the rose, we need x item before or to reach the book we need a key or hammer to break into a locked case or to find the bear we need to solve a puzzle.) I know these additions would require a lot to work well though if this were to happen we would find ourselves with an even more exciting and immersive game.
Once you’ve collected all the items of your choice, go towards the control room and place the items in the chambers or insert the discs to receive a cutscene ending, the outcome differing on your choice. I like the presence of multiple endings as they flesh out the story more and give more incentive to playthrough once more.
Before I forget something very important once again let me spend a few words on the audio on this game. I can sum it up with one word; brilliant. Try playing this game with headphones on in the dark, the industrial and ambient sounds that echo from ear to ear do their job very well of putting you one edge and unnerving you making it one of the strongest points of the game. I hope the developer keeps focusing on these sounds as they really work well.
Well if you remember reading the last playthrough of the first version of BLAME I had theorised that the game would focus on a father and daughter or family matter, somehow involving this maze. I was wrong.
The game is about Geist, a research team of the sort who finds this mysterious God’s Head. You play as one of the researchers, to what level of power and influence remains unknown, yet all your other team members are gone or dead (if they were killed, I think having them around the facility would add to the horror) so it is up to you to decide whether to offer a sacrifice so as to appease them or stop the plan from being put into action.
The God’s Head is to blame for the red mist that surround the facility, which is also revealed to cause auditory and visual hallucinations. The radios tell us that the person recording does not only believe that the transmissions they received were from beings far superior to us but Gods.
Now the endings though they add more to the story are equally confusing. For once you add all three items or insert discs, you are taken to a place (another plane of existence? merely escaped?) with three weird green figures and while you can walk towards them the game cuts off before you truly can be close enough to interact,
Now with the discs ending, you here the main character talk about his daughter, Lilith (TBC) and how he can never forgive himself for what he’s done and the ending is left open for the player to decide the fate of the protagonist.
With the items ending you hear two unidentified characters talking about how you have gone ahead with the plan for the God’s Head. These two endings won’t answer ll your questions but I enjoyed the small cutscene like ending giving me a sense of accomplishment upon completion of BLAME.
BLAME is developing into a horror game which is truly getting interesting and I would recommend every horror fan to keep a look on. There are of course a few things to fix and polish up but if this is merely a version before the 1.0 number then we have a lot of promise until then with a potentially exciting story to be further developed and good gameplay elements. Only true concern is that not one of the three pursuers up to this point (there was another design in the 0.5 update, though the 0.5.5 came out mere days later) are frightening and I’m sure the developer is looking for that right creature to spark fear into the hearts of people as they play BLAME.
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