Written By sPINDRAFT 07/10/2013
What a huge effort coming off of ‘The Eight Pages’, Parsec and Blue Isle did a fantastic job of expanding the Slender Man game into something that you can wrap yourself into. From the moment you start the game and the intro starts to roll you get the feeling that you are about to experience something awesome.
I was completely taken aback when the opening scene came up, the graphics (besides being daylight) were totally unexpected – you see I had not looked at any media concerning the game prior to playing it so everything was a brand new, first time run. I was standing there next to my VW Rabbit – or was that a souped up Plymouth Horizon? – going damn! I turned around in a circle several times either admiring the view or trying to figure out what direction I wanted to go in. When you are done admiring the new visual representation you can actually only go one way, down the trail and into the woods and believe it or not it is quite the tranquil little walk; nothing will chase you around here expect the breeze in the trees.
The mundane sameness that we experienced in the beta predecessor to this game is all but gone boasting instead 5 chapters that range over a series of unique settings as you search for clues as to what happened to your best friend (on the Wikipedia page for ‘The Arrival’ there are 6 chapters listed and also a secret level but this writer was unable to discover either of them). But the five I did get to play were fantastic, even the slight scare in chapter 2 was quickly dispelled as I realized the developers had actually made the original model strategically playable.
Did I mention that there is an actual story this time, it may not always seem like it because the preoccupation of running or hiding from Slender Guy tends to overide the smaller details but it is there and lends a greater level of authenticity to the settings and what you are doing there. You play as Lauren, the best friend of Kate whom you have gone to visit after the funeral of Kate’s mother; problem is when you get to Kate’s house she is nowhere to be found and there is evidence that she has either been abducted or completely lost her mind and run off with some cult.
I dare say that most will not link the pieces of the story together as they travel along on their first play through, the majority will stand as I did at the end scene feeling like they have overlooked something; there is a sense that you should understand more about what you are seeing. It is hard to pay strict attention to the story because other issues are closer at hand and require more pressing approaches to conquer and this is how much of your first play through will go down – in a determined rush.
The diversity of the chapters was quite stunning and the outdoor scenery at times had the feel of walking through a well done RPG landscape. It was interesting to see within each new chapter how the original model for Slender Man would be twisted into some new form, it was not all about collecting random pages at random locations (the one chapter that did revisit this had a well done setting and it was understood that you were looking for clues to Kate’s disappearance so we can overlook this lapse), there were generators that had to be lit in order to get out of an abandoned mine, windows and doors that had to be closed to secure the house and even forest fires and caves to negotiate. A lot of work went into fleshing out the original Slender Man game and it shows through on every count, there is even supposed to be a secret level but nothing I tried would trigger it to run.
There is no indication of late that either Parsec Productions or Blue Isle Studios is planning a third release for Slender Man but it is rewarding enough for the moment to have such a jewel to add to our gaming libraries. ‘The Arrival’ is duly spun and well delivered, offering great scenes of tranquil beauty at one moment only to throw off the facade and deliver you into another dark and trembling world of uncertain survival the next.
In lieu of any further game offerings we must cherish the grand work accomplished here and if one must seek out more mythos there are several indie efforts sporting releases of Slender Man based games, one being Slender Man’s Shadow (no affiliation to Parsec or Blue Isle) which can be found at this address
But we are not reviewing indie maps of Slender Man, I simply put that out there for all you Slendy junkies who may not know of it. As for ‘The Arrival’ it is awesome, scary, beautiful and terrifying all in one package, it is a game that can increase your heart rate and make beads of sweat pop out on your brow, it is peaceful and relaxing just before it rips your little stretch of calm to shreads – it is definetly deserving of the term masterpiece of originality and gains great marks on all counts. This is undoubtably a great candidate for any horror gaming library – highly recommended.
HAG Score – 9.1