You know when you hear a song and you skip it instantly because you know that you don’t like it? That’s what playing Silver Chains is like. Except that you can’t skip it and instead have to sit through and endure the painful slog from start to finish. Silver Chains is a first-person horror game that feels like it’s been made with the How to Make A First-Person Horror Game for Dummies book. I don’t mean that as a dig against the developer, but the reality is that Silver Chains is full of horror tropes that you’ve seen done better countless times before.
The story kicks off in classic horror fashion with our protagonist Peter crashing his car into a tree out the front of a house in the middle of the night. Peter approaches the house, which appears to contain life, seeking help. However, upon entering the residence, Peter discovers the place is abandoned and stricken by an old curse – thus leaving poor Peter trapped inside to remove the curse whiling avoiding the creature that stalks the halls. Sound familiar?
Silver Chains is hide-and-seek stealth by its very definition. Peter will need to unlock doors and new areas by solving basic puzzles to obtain keys and other items. The puzzles themselves are relatively simple to work out once you find the clues, but much like progressing through the house, finding the clues can be a little frustrating given the lack of direction at times. The game is extremely linear and the house itself isn’t an expansive open world, so while some backtracking is required it won’t be too much of a trek to find the way to go.
While Peter is trying to lift the curse, a ‘creature’ will occasionally attempt to catch him in the act. Simply hiding in one of the conveniently placed closets will ensure survival. These moments are all predictable, especially given the audio cue that plays as a sequence begins.
Well this looks inviting
Visually the game is apt in delivering an atmosphere that suits its tone, with the decrepit rooms laden with rotting floorboards, ramshackle furniture and remnants of the past, but it would be a stretch to say the visuals are impressive. The design of the house does create some tension with its tight areas, although repeated assets emphasise the game’s budget limitations. A poor performance doesn’t help either, with constant frame rate drops and crackly audio compounding an already lacklustre experience.
From an audio perspective, Silver Chains ticks the box with its eerie soundscape creating some tension, but it fails miserably when it comes to the voice acting – in fact it’s probably some of the most uninspired voice acting I have ever heard.
After suffering a glitch that made me unable to progress towards the end of the game, I watched the game’s final sequences via a walkthrough, and while the story had some interesting moments and does have closure, it’s largely an uninspiring affair with a predictable finale.
Night of the living dummy?
It’s never enjoyable to tear shreds off a game, because developers work hard to bring them to the masses. But the reality is that sometimes it just doesn’t work out, and right from the start it’s obvious that Silver Chains is a bland re-tread of a tired genre. The good thing is that the whole ordeal will last around 4-5 hours, but for $35 AUD there are better ways to spend your money.
Reviewed on PC // Review code supplied by publisher