Sometimes, horror games can feel too fast-paced. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; some horror games thrive on making the player disoriented with lightning quick enemies and chains of quick time events, and it works! Every once in a while, though, a good slow-paced horror game comes out, and I always find them terrifying. The scares creep up on you, the environment makes you paranoid, and the investigation forces you to keep going deeper into the story.
Silver Chains is a first-person survival horror game originally released on PC that’s now available on consoles. It follows Peter, a man who was in an accident and seeks help at an old home nearby. However, he passes out and later awakes to find himself trapped in the house and forced to search for a way out. Through exploration, he finds clues about the family that used to live there and discovers that a malevolent spirit has set its sights on him. To make it out alive, he must help the other spirits in the house and avoid the evil following him.
The game centers around exploration. From the moment you wake up in the house, you have to search around to find doors that will lead you to the next area (spoiler: many doors won’t open, so you really do need to check them all,) and look at the loose papers lying around in hopes of finding clues. At one point, you’ll be given a monocle that lets you see hidden parts of the house, which gives you twice as much to explore. You’ll find all sorts of objects that will help you in escaping, as well as in figuring out the story.
The game also involves a lot of backtracking. A LOT of backtracking. You’ll find items in one area that connect to something in another area you’ve already gone through. This will happen multiple times, so be prepared to run in circles for a while at first.
Silver Chains isn’t a fighting game. You’ll never have the ability to fight an enemy; instead, you have to run fast and hide quickly. This can be a little jarring at first, especially since the controls to run can feel a little awkward. I was caught a few times because I wasn’t quite fast enough, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be escaping vengeful spirits like a pro!
The really great thing about Silver Chains is the pacing. It’s slow-burn horror. The graphics make the environment so creepy that you’re instantly paranoid rounding every corner or peeking into any dark room. This starts right off the bat, too, when you’re greeted by a hallway with dismembered baby doll parts hanging from the ceiling. But for the first part of the game, nothing incredibly scary happens. There’s one or two jump scares, but nothing is chasing you or anything. It’s just the setting that gives you goosebumps.
After some exploring, you finally get to see the evil spirit that’s been following you, and from then on, you have to watch out. The stakes are higher, and the house feels darker and more confusing. The story is still pieced together bit by bit, but it makes the pacing between the plot and the game play feel stable.
Overall, Silver Chains is half horror, half mystery, and all intriguing. It’s an investigative game with a dash of deadly hide-and-seek. It has a solid plot that is amped up by its fantastically eerie graphics and music, and it keeps amazing pace throughout. It’s specific type of horror won’t be for everyone, but if you’re not chained to anything else at the moment – and have a specific itch that needs scratching – it’s definitely worth a play for fellow horror fans out there.