Last week, I started up Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut, intending to finally play this indie horror game I’ve heard so many positive things about.
Then I took one look at the resolution and realized it wasn’t going to work. Fortunately, Lone Survivor is a cross-buy game, so I also have it on the Vita. I switched to the smaller screen and started playing this weekend.
I have a tendency to compare survival horror games to Silent Hill too often, but in this case, it really applies.
Lone Survivor was clearly inspired by the Silent Hill series, from the sound effects to the aesthetic to the environments). While Silent Hill 2 feels like the biggest inspiration, the way your apartment functions as a safe haven where you go to save also reminded me of Silent Hill 4, which I appreciated.
Anyway, Lone Survivor begins with you in an apartment building in the midst of some sort of zombie-esque epidemic. You resolve to escape and begin searching for a way out.
Monsters, locked doors, and plenty of other obstacles are in your way. In true survival horror fashion, you’ll need to use a combination of stealth and your limited ammo to get past monsters, use items to solve puzzles, and find keys to unlock doors.
It also includes mechanics based around hunger and sleep, but not to the point where it will take you out of the gameplay. Food items satisfy your hunter and restore health (although there’s no visible health meter), and eventually you can take food back to your apartment to cook it for greater health benefits. I liked that. As for sleep, sleeping also saves your game, and there are pills that will affect your need for sleep.
Even though it’s 2D and navigation is a bit odd at times, the gameplay really feels like a traditional survival horror game.
Now, what about the story? That’s… hard to say. I think it’s going for a symbolic/psychological type of story like Silent Hill 2, and I enjoyed interacting with some of the characters, but I ended Lone Survivor without a good grasp on what happened. It’s that sort of vague, ambiguous storytelling that just leaves you going, “Huh.”
But despite my usual preferences for story-driven games, I’m not as concerned about it when it comes to games like this. Lone Survivor is only a few hours long, but I enjoyed it as a sort of bite-sized Silent Hill experience.---
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