User review spotlight: Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (DOS)

Penumbra: Overture - Episode 1 (Windows)

74
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Geo_Seven (12)
Written on  :  May 11, 2008
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.29 Stars3.29 Stars3.29 Stars3.29 Stars3.29 Stars

5 out of 8 people found this review helpful

write a review of this game
read more reviews by Geo_Seven
read more reviews for this game

Summary

Best let down of the year.

The Good

There was a lot going on in this game that the horror genre and adventure genre have needed for a long time.

First off this game gave the adventure genre of games the much needed face lift it has so long deserved. By using a first person perspective and a unique control scheme Penumbra succeeds where games like Clocktower and Resident Evil failed by reworking the genre to include action that you can not find in your typical scripted adventure game without either making the games controls difficult or jumping genres.

Second the game succeeds in creating an actual horror atmosphere by limiting you in such a way that you cannot simply run in with guns blazing, because lets face it, it's just not scary when you can shoot the monster in the face with a rocket launcher. The feeling of being isolated and trapped also played a huge factor in the atmosphere, because there were many times I wondered the claustrophobia inducing corridors of the mine with complete paranoia at what might be awaiting me around the next corner.

The Bad

Penumbra failed to deliver. There simply was not enough diversity in the monsters and after a while spiders and dogs are just annoying rather than scary. Also I feel they might have went a bit to overboard with the lack of combat, because I found it next to impossible to kill anything at all. If it's going to be that hard why have weapons at all?

The Bottom Line

Penumbra had a lot of potential to be better than it was and I would recommend playing it for fans of the horror genre who need a quick fix, but not for those looking for a truly spectacular horror game.