For the last 6 years I have attended Pax East in Boston. This video game convention lets you see and play upcoming games from indie developers all the way up to AAA titles. This is a great way to learn about games that will be coming out, especially from the smaller studios. A few years ago, I stopped by the booth of Paranoid Productions to have a look at a game they were working on, The Church in the Darkness. I was intrigued by the story and the game play. After a wait, the game is finally out.
Set in 1977, you play as Vic, a former law enforcement officer, that has been asked by his sister to check on the safety of her son, Alex. Alex joined a group called the Collective Justice Mission, a group led by Isaac and Rebecca Walker. They preach a life of socialism, agriculture, and peace. But when people start to look down on them and label them as a cult, the group uproots themselves and forms Freedom Town in the South American jungle. After not hearing from Alex for several months, it is up to you to see if he is alright.
You can’t just wander into the camp, because they are very wary of outsiders. This means that you must sneak into camp, search for clues, find people that are willing to talk, and ultimately contact Alex. Guards will notice if you get to close, so you will have to find a good disguise to allow you to roam the camp freely. Even then, guards are armed and have itchy trigger fingers. You will have to disable alarms and be as stealthy as possible to complete your mission.
The game unfolds, by way of announcements over the PA system from Isaac and Rebecca, as you wander through camp looking for information. Each playthrough is different due to the random map layouts, and your ability to customize not only how observant the guards are and how strict the teachings of the preacher are. This means that if you are having a hard time with the game, you can easily manipulate the difficulty to try and help you out. Just remember that there are achievements to complete the game at the highest levels of difficulty.
The game utilizes a top down view, which is very helpful when trying to sneak around the camp. Roofs disappear when you enter the building, so there is no awkward stumbling around a room. A muted color palette seems through the whole title. This helps set the somber mood of your mission, and the camp dynamic. The voice acting in the game is amazing. The more you listen to the leaders, the more you start to understand how they have amassed such a flock of followers.
The Church in the Darkness is available now on XB1, PS4, and Steam. This is a deeply immersive game that will test your ability to be stealthy and complete your mission simultaneously. While the game may be a little different, the story makes it one that you will remember for a long time. An original story line that is executed near perfectly.