The Town Of Light
Game review on PlayStation 4
Sam Heatley / Thu 8th Jun 2017
100 views / 1 bite
Based on real events and research, The Town of Light is a first-person psychological game. While the story itself is unique, the game fails to deliver on other aspects which decrease the impact the game could have had.
Set in the Volterra Psychiatric Asylum in Italy, you explore the now closed asylum as Renee, a former patient. Suffering from a mental illness, you must decipher the events surrounding her dark past. As you uncover more details, you must examine her memories and make decisions regarding her. These decisions then determine how the story will develop.
The story is the strongest aspect of The Town of Light. Knowing that the game is based on real events, adds an emotional intensity that is often hard to execute. It is difficult to connect to Renee initially, but, as you dig further into her past, you will find yourself getting more curious and eager to solve the mystery.
The Town of Light is simple in terms of gameplay. The game is so story focused that other aspects of the game feel neglected. The speed that Renee walks throughout is painfully slow and seems to drag down the pacing of the story.
The developers want you to explore, but, it is often easier to move the story forward then backtrack through various rooms when there is no real incentive to do so. Few collectables that you find are documents about the asylum and diary entries that reveal more about Renee's time there. There are limited problem-solving situations and tips are provided if you become stuck.
Most of these aspects are artistically driven and provide backstory. The Town of Light doesn't pretend to be anything else, instead focusing on its sole purpose of storytelling.
Carefully reconstructed, the asylum which is at the centre of The Town of Light is brought back to life. It is true to most details and feels both neglected and haunted. Yet, it seems to lack a depth to these details with textures lacking and colours feeling flat.
What is truly interesting is the artistic direction that the cut-scenes and diary entries take. The Gothic and somewhat comic book nature of them gives a darker insight into the mental state of Renee. There is a rawness to them which could almost be believed.
While the music for The Town of Light can be theatrical and emotional, it only appears in bits and pieces. The game lacks atmosphere with hardly any background noise or music with only Renee's footsteps to keep you company. The noises you do hear sound hollow and fake. The emphasis seems to be on heightening key scenes rather than the game a whole.
The Town of Light has a powerful story to tell. It explores both the good and bad of human nature and the confusion that resides with mental illness. While the game carefully explores these issues, it often forgets that a game needs more than a great story to keep a person moving forward.