Take a step into the Darkness
The story opens with young Alex Roivas receiving a call to identify her grandfather's body-- he recently experienced a mysterious death that left him as nothing more than a pile of bloody flesh. Alex vows to search the old mansion for clues, and in doing so, uncovers a dark family secret: a huge book in her grandfather's study attracts Alex's attention, and it is through this book, the Tome of Eternal Darkness, that the story unfolds.
Your avatar changes as you complete each chapter of the Tome. All the characters come together to tell of the Tome's historical accounts, and the purpose behind the book itself.
Though the concept of basing a game around a book instead of its characters is certainly unique, it's not ED's strongest selling point. That would be your Sanity Meter--a glowing, green vial that tracks how kooky your character's mind becomes after you are attacked. When your sanity begins to fade, the game will do things to mess with your mind: tilt the camera, make you see dripping blood from the walls, and make you appear upside-down in a room--and those are some of the milder effects. The stronger, more brain-tickling pranks will genuinely make you angry, frustrated, frightened, or confused: the TV will appear to suddenly shut off, or your character will spontaneously split apart, for example. ED is survival-horror done right: you're dropped into monster-ridden territory with limited weapons, a magickal book, and only your wits to guide you. It's not anywhere near as difficult as Resident Evil, and the fact that you play through different periods of history with an alternate-universe twist gives ED a lot more credit in my book.
With copious amounts of blood, gore, death, references to the occult, and plenty of creepy- crawlies and scary moments, this is very much a grown-up's game--but MAN, what a great game it is! For all those momentarily fed up with kiddie games on the 'Cube, snatch this treasure up from the video game store's bargain bin and put some hours into it--you won't be disappointed.
The game in my opinion was too short (perhaps 13 hours long).
They should let you play scenes again.
The Bottom Line
I mean, really? What can you say about a videogame that truly transcends its medium?
Eternal Darkness is a masterpiece of storytelling. The best way to describe it is as an interactive novel. I was hooked. I didn't stop playing until I finished the baby.
There were great moments, like there are with any piece of cinema, when the use of music, dialogue and story subversion created moments so exhilarating and original, that it suddenly becomes incredibly sad that it isn't going to reach the wide audience that it so deserves.
Go. And buy it now.