This house has history.
First person horror games are a dime a dozen, and finding one that’s worth investing time into is rough. So many developers try to capitalize on the genre now, and there have been many disappointments. Perception asks the player to experience horror through the eyes of a blind woman, but is it unique enough to truly sell its concept fully?
See no evil, hear no evil
Taking the roll of Cassie, players discover that she has been having haunting dreams about a mansion. Wanting to know what her re-occurring visions are about, she discovers the house and decides it’s time to see what is drawing her here. It’s a simple enough set up and it would seem a bit ordinary if the game was doing the typical FPS horror, but luckily Perception is pushing for new stylistic approach which helps sell the experience.
Would pay $9.99
How long to beat: 3 to 5 hours
Cassie is blind, so the player is in complete darkness until sound is made. Footsteps, dripping water, and wind, along with other creeks and noises come into play to light up the darkness and help Cassie see her surroundings. She is able to also use a cane to tap and bounce sound off the environment, giving her a brief glimpse of her area. I wasn’t quite sure how I’d enjoy this set up, but it ultimately was the most interesting aspect Perception offers. The visuals come with neon blue hues and neon green landmarks. The darkness that surrounds the player along with the audio scares and movement lighting up the screen truly created a sense of eeriness I’ve not quite experienced in a FPS horror game before.
Listen for the clues
While exploring the mansion, weird things are bound to happen, and aside from the normal gameplay of exploring and finding clues to progress the plot, there are also some unique concepts. Since Cassie is blind, she uses sound to navigate, but what about items she needs to read? She had a handy cell phone that comes into play, turning text into speech. There is even an app that allows her to speak to someone directly for assistance. It’s a really interesting concept of portraying a blind person in a narrative game, and made me think about how it feels to truly be blind and the hardships that can come from adjusting to that. As Cassie gets further into the mystery that makes up the core of the story, she finds herself in completely different areas, ones that are impossible to be inside a house, and it leads to some very interesting segments.
Different and the same
Aside from the unique visuals and ideas that help progress the narrative for Cassie, ultimately the gameplay still comes down to finding the next item, clue, or trigger to progress the next narrative, and ultimately it’s here that nothing new is really done. I also found the game to be creepy rather than scary. There are places to hide if an enemy known only as “the presence” comes. It usually only happens if you make too much noise with your cane, but I find myself hardly ever invoking it or needing to hide. It seemed like a missed opportunity. Finding a way around the environment can prove frustrating also, since Cassie can see her ultimate objective direction at the touch of a button, but getting there can prove difficult if a item hasn’t been found needed to get there or a story trigger.
Perception isn’t really doing a whole lot gameplay wise that the majority of these types of games haven’t done before. If players are a fan of narrative driven, creepy experiences, Perception offers that, and even if the game can be completed in a few hours, it’s entertaining. Where I really appreciated Perception is in the ability to make me consider how much my life would be different if I myself was blind, and that thought alone is scary. Perception gave me an even greater appreciation and understanding of potentially how a blind person goes through daily life, and while I may never know how that truly feels, even a glimpse of that life, experienced through a videogame, has touched my heart in a way I never expected.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.