Layers of Fear (XB1) Preview

Justin Celani

Early access horror.

Layers of Fear is the latest in the long line of first person horror games to be created. It’s a genre that is huge, and only growing every day. Yet some seem to try and mimic other games with a lack of their own originality or personal touch. While Layer of Fear is still a bit off from being finished and released, it’s now open to players to support it and see its development grow on PC and Xbox One. Is this a game that seemingly copies from other horror games, or something completely terrifying all on its own?

Let’s point the elephant in the room right from the start. Layers of Fear currently runs like crap on the Xbox One, not sugar coating it here. If players are sensitive to this, be wary as it will surely make some players heads feel a bit sick. It’s fairly abysmal the majority of the time as of right now. So if folks are looking at jumping into this game and it running smoothly, think again. The visuals looks rather nice and the atmosphere in the opening living room is elegant and creepy, with lighting illuminating the room with its thunderous booms, but as of now it all comes at a price.

Players take control of an eccentric painter. One who possibly might be suffering from depression or other mental illness. That is part of the mystery and allure, as there are subtle clues and vibes that tell me this character isn’t in the best of mental health, but at the same time perhaps he is just experiencing something else entirely, a dark force or entity. The game never quite paints a clear picture on it, and that’s a good thing.

Its starts off rather slow, and lets players explore the house. Hold tight though, once the paint brush gets rolling, things take a turn for the worst and I don’t mean performance again. Hallways change, things players saw at one moment are completely different or re-arranged, paintings and other items fly at the player, all leading to very tense moments wondering what’s going to come at you next. Scares and atmosphere start coming at an unrelenting pace. This is the first game in years after about 3 jumps scares in a 15 minute span I had to turn it off after leaping away from my couch. My body and mind just needed a break, and I almost felt like they were just slamming my brain with a fear sensory overload.

Layers of Fear has a lot of potential, and it’s downright frightening at times. The performance is completely terrible at this point in the preview program on Xbox One, but I can’t stress enough how this is early access and things will change over the course of development. and for the better hopefully. What I did take away from the experience was that Layers of Fear is now on my most wanted list for horror games. I’d never heard much of it before more than its name in passing, now I won’t forget it. If the preview I played is any indication of how scary the final game will be, I can’t wait. Just as long as the scares stay within the context of the game and not in its final framerate performance, we’re in good hands.

Preview copy of game provided by publisher.

Justin Celani
Justin is a long time passionate fan of games, not gaming drama. He loves anything horror related, archaeology inspired adventures, RPG goodness, Dr Pepper, and of course his family. When it comes to crunch time, he is a beast, yet rabies free we promise.
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