Halloween is coming up and I don’t know about you but I always get more nostalgic around this time of year for survival horror games. I really need a good scare, and frankly looking at myself in the mirror just doesn’t cut it anymore! It’s become more funny and depressing than it has scary. So in comes White Noise 2. If I’m 100% honest, I didn’t even realize there was a White Noise 1, but we’ll skip over that and jump straight into the game review!
So White Noise 2 is the new release by Milkstone Studios which is now available on Steam. It’s not “officially” out yet, but if you’re willing to pay the £5.99 then you can pick up an early instant access of the game. There’s not much of a download so it’s a great little pick up and play game right off the bat. As I mentioned before, it’s a survival horror game, but not quite in the traditional sense…
The game is fully focussed around 4 V 1 multiplayer, although there is a solo play if you really are feeling completely anti-social. When you join your first game, you’ll become either one of 4 investigators, or you’ll become ‘The Creature’. If you become the investigators then your job is to scower the area looking for 8 video tapes in the darkness and to *TRY* to stay alive, however if you become The Creature then your job is to feast upon every single one of those investigators and use their bones as kindling… Well not really, but you do get to eat them which is pretty cool (In a very… carnivorous way… I’ll stop typing now…).
You do have the opportunity to pick your side though, and unfortunately whilst the game is still in it’s early instant access stages it hasn’t really got a huge following just yet, that being said I did get to play with quite a few people as investigators, but EVERYONE wants to be The Creature, which actually says more about the state of humanity than it does the game.
If you become one of the investigators then you’ll be able to choose one of 4 characters (you also get more characters by playing games and levelling up, but we’ll get to that later). Each of those characters has their own unique strengths and weaknesses, such as speed, stealth, exploration, battery management, bravery and vitality.
Unfortunately for you, The Creature gets some stats too, such as horror, idol effectiveness, speed, perception, light resistance and skill usage so don’t feel like you might have the edge just because you have some nifty stats and some sexy new shoes, because that creature might be just as quick as you! You might be wondering why the creature has light resistance, and the simple matter is that if you manage to get your flashlight on it then you can stun it and it will be forced to teleport to safety. Keep in mind that the more you do this, the more it’s resistance will grow, so the game focuses more on stealthy approach rather than going full on light warrior.
So you’re objective to complete is to find 8 tapes, which might sound easy, but not when you have a creature chasing after you with magical abilities ready to gobble you up like a bowl of cheerios. You can defend yourself with light though, and luckily you just so happened to bring your flashlight with you, so you can be ready to dazzle that monster with your beam of safety!
As you progress and level up, you can also pick up more flashlights, each one having different statistics and helpful assets. These range from being able to stay on longer, adding more range to your light, more spread, or even helping your character be faster, spring longer, be stealthier or even have their skills reload faster.
Speaking of skills, your characters have a couple of things they can do to make life easier. Each investigator comes equipped with their very own compass, which takes a little while to recharge, but can help pinpoint the direction of tapes, you can also shout out so others know where you are (great for if that monsters coming) or throw a glow stick to light the way and stun The Creature before they can get to you. The only downside is that whilst all these skills are great, they’re also incredibly counter productive. Shouting alerts your team, but also The Creature, throwing the glow stick shows where you are or have been and the flashlight lights up your location. But how can a compass be counterproductive? Well… The Creature has some skills of their own too…
All your skills help you in some way or form, but they also give you away, so sometimes it’s best not to use anything whatsoever and if you do, you better be quick about getting the hell away from there. As for the compass though, it will detect the closest tape location, but The Creature has a skill called decoy, which will drop a little fleshy ball that acts as a tape, so if you encounter that on your way to the next tape, then you better get running and quick. The Creature can also teleport to random areas closer to the investigators, and can summon idols which increase the horror of the investigators and detect when they are nearby, if that wasn’t enough, let’s just throw invisability in there as well, because why the hell not!? So yeah, be prepared to get caught… a lot…
If I’m completely honest, I wasn’t expecting this much detail and depth on the characters, skills and statistics. There’s actually a great deal of work which has gone into the personalisation, and once you begin to level up a little bit you can start to customize yourself to play the game in the way that you want too, whether that’s being super fast and stealthy, or being able to take a shed load of horror and damage, your playstyle is completely up to you.
Although the game focuses a lot on skills and statistics, it actually doesn’t really matter when you start playing, and the game is actually a hell of a lot of fun once you become immersed in the dark and foggy world where you’re going to be fish fingers (literally) at any given moment. Due to the fact that when you get caught you will need others to save you, there is a real emphasis on co-operative gameplay, and investigators should try to stick together as close as they can. Trust me on this, if you run off and try to be the hero, you will die, oh yes, very very quickly…
Further more, there’s two great maps to go through and each one has a real emphasis on survival horror gameplay. The first of which is Norwood Prairie and, yep, you guessed it, it’s slap bang in the middle of the woods, surrounded by ruins, bricks, forest, and darkness. The second map that you get to play is St John’s Hospital, a really gothic and archaic run down building with lots of twists, turns and corridors to run and walk down. The two maps really do contrast well, with one being open and large, the other smaller but almost claustrophobic, so it’s nice to be able to see different layouts of the world.
The sound of the game is impressive too, there’s no crazy gothic horror music or anything like that, but there is some very nice and suspenseful sound effects which occur at certain points in the game. Seeing The Creature will start kicking out a loud horrific music which almost scream ‘YOU GOT CAUGHT, YOUR SO GONNA DIE RIGHT NOW!!!!!’ In the most terrifying way possible, but most of the time it’s very quiet, almost deadly quiet, and that really does add a very welcome dramatic atmosphere to this survival horror game.
Gotta mention the graphics, but in all honesty, there what you’d expect. The characters look very strange, and most of them have giant foreheads and chins. My only real criticism of the game is that the characters look a little too unrealistic and The Creature looks like something out of a bad 80’s sci-fi film. With some more time and detail in the characters and The Creature, this would make all the difference!
Overall, there’s a few issues still to be ironed out with typos, movement and unbalancing of creature power vs investigator power, but all in all it’s a pretty fun game. I never really go into indie games expecting a massive amount of potential, but most of the time they really surprise me, and I genuinely believe if some of these indie games had the kind of budgets that giant AAA games have, we’d see a lot better games on the market than what we do now. The game is great for picking up and just having a few matches, and would be even better if you play with friends (there is a private match feature!) so for what it’s worth, it’s a great game to pick up.
Quote – “Lurk in the shadows or be Creature food with the new 4V1 Survival Horror game White Noise 2”