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PS4 Game Review

Pack shot

Song of Horror


Format: PS4
Publisher: Raiser Games, S.L.
Developer: Protocol Games
RRP: £34.99
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Age Restrictions: 16+
Release Date: 28 May 2021

The famed writer Sebastian P. Husher has gone missing, along with his entire family. Worried, his editor sends an assistant to his house in order to look for him – but after entering Husher's house, he also seems to have vanished off the face of the earth... These disappearances spark a set of events that soon reveal something dreadful: a nameless, dark entity known only as The Presence seems to be responsible...

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Try to stay in one piece as you enter the Husher house

Song of Horror is a mystery survival horror game where you have to explore a creepy old mansion to uncover clues as to what happened to the owners.

When the game opened I wasn't expecting too much. The first character you play, as you enter the Husher house, had some of the worst vocal acting I've ever heard. Thankfully (and this isn't spoiling much) he soon disappears. You then have a choice of four other characters to choose from to explore the Husher house and, depending on how careful you are will depend on how many characters you go through before reaching the end of the level.

The game is pretty simple. Laid out a little like the early Resident Evil games, you have to explore a creepy old mansion house. The camera angle is stationary, but moves automatically as you explore different rooms and areas of each room (which is where the Resident Evil similarity comes from). At first the dark atmosphere and spooky decor of the house are creepy enough, but as you get used to your surroundings the game slowly introduces new elements to keep you on your toes.

After the truly unsettling fate of the first character you played, you reenter the house. As you move from room to room you discover items as well as come across puzzles and tasks to complete. Checking your map each of these tasks is clearly marked and once you complete them it removes them from the map (as well as deleting any item that is no longer of use). This way, as you complete one task you can quickly see what else you have to tackle without having to rely on memory and no unnecessary items clog up your inventory.

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Beware "The Presence", which lives in the very fabric of the house

The tasks are interesting in so much as they're not as straight forward as you'll be expecting. For example, after spending ages figuring out how to put the four fuses into the correct slots in the fuse box, I was filled with smug self satisfaction... only to discover that there was a fault somewhere else stopping the electricity from coming back on. Argghh! The game uses little twists like this to constantly keep you on your toes.

Your first character proper is where you'll also first experience The Presence, which appears to live in the very fabric of the house. It really is a good idea to keep your wits about you... I didn't and BANG, my first character was lost. Moving onto my next character... after exploring every inch of the house, several times, and failing to fathom how to complete any of the other tasks other than mopping up the water in the kitchen (even though I had what I thought was the right combination for the safe, I couldn't open it) I thought... "Maybe I'm supposed to do the complete opposite of what I expect... and so I opened a door that I knew I shouldn't... ARGHHHH! Another character down... Only two to go. Better be careful.

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How many characters will you go through in your quest to find the truth?.

And it was here, with little to no help, that I started to get a little bored. I'd checked every room and every interaction point more than a handful of times... yet nothing new seemed to open up the game. My only option was, one that I hate to do: go online and check out a walk through video. I discovered, pretty quickly that - SPOILER ALERT: I could turn the electricity on now. Apparently mopping up the water was the fault that was stopping the power coming back on. There are a few instances like this where the logic is a little weird. Trying to open a loft hatch I tried super gluing two items together. That didn't work, but one of those items was revealed to be something else that I needed (something that wasn't even remotely obvious before I used the glue... and even then I doubt very much that the glue would have held two bits of metal together in order for me to progress the way I was able to.

At every turn you're acutely aware that the evil spirit in the house can make itself visible to you at any moment. According to the press info: "The Presence, is controlled by an advanced AI (Artificial Intelligence) that adapts to your actions and decisions. Experience unbearable fear as this otherworldly being responds to your way of playing and hunts you down in unexpected ways, offering a unique experience to every player and game play where tension builds up naturally instead of coming from scripted sequences."

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Stop "The Presence" entering your realm

Maybe this is true later in the game, but on the first chapter/episode, I doubt this was the case. Other than the game realised I was curious in one part and so punished me later on for delving in and hoping every things would be fine.

Now I only had one character left. And, in my eagerness to check the rooms again, I forgot to listen at the doors and was immediately punished. This is where my journey ended and in all honesty, the thought of retracing my steps wasn't overly appealing. But then I rationalised that I probably would have restarted anyway after completing the level in order to ensure that, before I progressed to the next level, none of my characters had perished. It's this twist - that you can lose any of the characters at any time - that adds a little jeopardy to the game.

The first level/chapter is just the start of things. Complete this and you move onto the next chapter. Future locations include a mysterious antique shop, a forgotten abbey, an abandoned mental hospital... Each location being inspired by classic tropes of the genre.

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One of the chapters sees you investigate a forgotten abbey

The jump scares are pitched at just the right level - and I'm embarrassed to admit that I fell for almost every single one. Horror fans who like a challenge will fall in love with the game. Sure, there are a few issues and bugs. My characters constantly got stuck on the stairs in the mansion and some of the vocal acting is pretty poor. Other than these slight problems, this is an interesting addition to the genre. While it treads a well worn path, it also adds much to the what has come before.

Despite not want to slog through the game again after being killed... I couldn't stay away and was eager to try and safe all of the characters. A spooky, challenging game that will take several hours to complete...


Darren Rea

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