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Perception

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 28 - 2017

Tap, tap, tap.

 
Perception is the first game from The Deep End Games, a new development company made up of industry veterans that worked on the likes of Bioshock and Dead Space. Given that pedigree, it is perhaps no surprise that Perception has an enjoyably creepy feel to it, even if the gameplay is a far departure from life in Rapture. Better get tapping…

 
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In Perception, players take on the role of a blind girl named Cassie. Having been plagued by nightmares revolving around a creepy mansion, Cassie has managed to track down the building and is determined to uncover its secrets. Her determination and refusal to let her disability hold her back has led her to this mansion alone, something I would never consider without a disability. But having tracked down the mansion, Cassie is not going to hang around for help and dives headfirst into the building to find out what is going on and why it seems to be haunting her.

 
Due to her blindness, Cassie experiences the world around here very differently to how able-sighted people would, and this is very well recreated in Perception. Cassie’s world is shrouded in darkness, but with a quick tap of her cane, represented by pressing one of the controller buttons, echolocation lights up her immediate area. Walls, furniture and the like show up in a gorgeous blue tone for the most part, although objects of importance to Cassie’s investigation have a green glow. But it is the blue tone that makes up the majority of what the player sees on screen.

 
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This view fades as the sound of the tap wears off, and things return to darkness, necessitating a constant tapping and pressing of the button through Cassie’s exploration of the mansion and its surrounding grounds. Objects throughout the building, such as radiators and clocks, can give a constant source of noise, giving a more permanent view of some areas.

 
It does make for an interesting gameplay mechanic. The ghostly blue glow and inability to see what is around a corner, or if there is a corner to begin with, makes for a very tense experience. Cassie will discover the stories of the previous occupants of the house, and a lot of this will come from phantom memories that appear, which can also be somewhat unsettling. Audio logs and written notes, which can be handily read by an app on Cassie’s phone, further expand the stories of these people.

 
The layout of the house can be quite maze like and difficult to navigate. However, when it comes to finding objectives, a simple button press will highlight where Cassie needs to go next. This does take away quite a lot of the challenge from the game, but just because it shows where the objective is, it doesn’t mean that it shows how to get there. There is also not a lot of explanation regarding the objectives, leaving the player to assume that Cassie would have found these objectives of her own accord eventually if it were not for the highlight.

 
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The tension level is raised somewhat by an evil presence that seems to reside in the house. This presence is attracted to sound, and the player has to tap their cane in order to see, making for a nice risk and reward mechanic. Tap too much and the presence will hunt you down, casting a shocking red glow over the screen. At this point, all the player can do is try to find somewhere to hide, of which there are plenty of places, and wait for the presence to go on its way. The first few times this happens can be quite scary, but that wears off once the initial shock has passed and it becomes apparent that being caught by the presence will only cast the player back to a earlier part of the house.

 
As a horror game, Perception is a much more subtle offering. There is a creepy atmosphere, and some of the stories of past residents can be unsettling, along with the occasional mild jump scare. However, it quickly becomes apparent that there is no threat, even with the presence chasing Cassie around the house, which takes the edge off quite a lot.

 
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Perception is quite a unique game and has some great ideas. However, the narrative feels underwhelming for a horror tale, and the core mechanic of tapping the cane to see Cassie’s surroundings does get a little monotonous. Perception is only a short game, coming in around three hours or so, and it is quite easy, but is still enjoyable and worth checking out if you are looking for something a little bit different.

 

 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 



 

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