Darkness is upon you and time is running out! Quick, run and find the eight pages before he gets you. If you’ve not played the original PC title Slender Man, then you better go off and do so first. The Arrival is a reimagining of the original game, with fancier graphics, lighting and a new storyline to provide an overall better experience. The Slender Man, created by Eric Knudson has grown so much in popularity, that it’s become one of the most popular icons on PC, particularly for children, despite its horror genre.

The brand new storyline in The Arrival starts by introducing the Slender Man himself – as you enter the unlit abandoned house you spot drawings on the wall of the mysterious white figure and drawings in the child’s bedroom. The atmosphere is set from the off and it’s obvious that this creature is coming to get you next. Sticking directly to the core game’s objectives, it’s your job to locate all eight pages on the map in order to stop the evil presence from chasing you. Each section is broken up nicely, so the gameplay doesn’t feel too linear with turning on generators and exploring the landscape giving you a break from the true horror.

Slender: The Arrival on Xbox One.
This creepy knife-welding guy will pop up a lot

Recently I’ve found myself playing more horror games and there were a few jumpy moments in the game which I wasn’t prepared for – particularly the section where a lunatic is running around in the dark with a knife and he jumps at you out of nowhere. The real tension rises though as the Slender Man approaches nearer and the ambient soundtrack quickens to create a frantic mood as you try to escape for your life, then your screen starts to crackle with horrible static noises. Until it’s too late and you spot sight of him right in front of you.

Blue Isle Studios really have done a decent job to recreate a new chapter in the Slender franchise and you can’t see it coming to an end soon. There are multiple possibilities and many different storylines which can be told with Slender. After all the main gameplay comes from collecting pages in a world filled with terror and a creature constantly chasing you. My only concern is how long this premise could last for without becoming too boring. Even about quarter the way through I was asking myself “what’s the point in this?” and finding the action all a little bit too boring. I guess it comes down to a taste in games, but I like a horror game to keep me on my toes and catch me off-guard. Most of the time I knew what was coming up and found it easy to escape the Slender Man simply by changing direction and looking away.

A chance to capture that beautiful landscape
A chance to capture that beautiful landscape

Dotted around the landscape are some focal points such as leaflets and objects of interest, which tell more of a backstory such as a poster of a missing boy, who one would assume was taken by the Slender Man. Exploration is probably key to the amount of time it takes you to finish the game and if like me, you stop to take a look at the scenery and surroundings, then you’re going to appreciate The Arrival for its little snippets. It’s not on the scale of Fallout 3, where you spend an hour in one building hoarding items – it’s more like a passing thought as you see a letter on the table and you want to be nosey and find out more.

It has to be said the best experience will come to those who surround themselves in darkness and put headphones on, so they can listen out for floorboards creaking and children’s voices comforting you. It’s a very eerie experience, but well worth it if you’re a fan of horror games and want to get the best from it. The design of the world throughout chase sections are also more frightening than the original, as instead of a dense forest you’re confined to an underground mine or a creepy house. Turn around the corner and you’re greeted by the Slender Man’s scary presence – your heart will be racing with fear before he even arrives.

Slender: The Arrival does very little to impress in terms of introducing new game mechanics or detaching away from the original PC title – which was only designed to last a few minutes. It always feels like you’re being asked to find something like generators or pages and after a while that does get boring. The fact that the game has been drawn out into some sort of storyline makes it even more tiresome because you’re asked to do the same thing for a few hours and not minutes like the original. It might be worth giving this one a miss, unless you’re prepared to spend £7.99 and even then you’re probably a fan of the Slender Man.

Pros

  • There’s more of a story to The Arrival
  • The in-game sounds are excellent
  • Can be scary at times

Cons

  • Nothing impressive about the game in terms of new mechanics
  • Usually always asked to find something like pages or generators
  • Doesn’t keep your interest for long

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