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Perception – PlayStation 4

Perception – PlayStation 4

PlatformPlayStation 4

DeveloperThe Deep EndDB-Kp8xWsAEhV22-1068x599

PublisherFeardemic

GenreSurvival Horror

Release DateJune 6th, 2017

Nerd Rating7 out of 10

Okay, so I’m all for making games challenging. But to push the boundaries of gaming itself while making a game difficult is a feat that’s worth recognizing. Perception developer The Deep End deserves such recognition. As a matter of fact, let’s give them a big round of applause for going somewhere no developer has before! *cheers and applause*  

You might be asking, “What did they even do, Poseidon?” Well, let me tell ya!

Perception is a first-person survival horror/walking sim that puts players in the shoes of a blind woman named Cassie. Cassie is plagued by nightmares of an old abandoned mansion (yes, blind people can dream); except this mansion (ironically located in a place called Echo Bluff) seems to have a life of it’s own. It’s up to Cassie to find out what freaky things went down in this chateau while avoiding… The Presence. I was lucky enough to be granted Day 1 access to this game thanks to Terminals, a website dedicated to connecting developers with media outlets.

Now, I was not too fond of the gameplay here. But without giving much away, the story is flat out awesome. There’s a lot of investigating to do on the player’s part and The Deep End did a great job pulling me into the mystery. In my opinion, the game is tough as one of gaming’s most essential senses is taken away for the most part. Pile that in with an evil ghost and a thick plot, and they’ve made a decent sleeper-hit in my opinion. There’s never a dull moment in Perception, and I think that’s what the devs were going for. They nailed it!

I know what you’re thinking: “Did he say ‘BLIND,’ for real??”

Yes, the protagonist of Perception is blind! Now, that’s not to say that she can’t “see.”  Cassie is able to visualize her surroundings using sound waves in a process called echolocation. It’s a pretty fascinating subject. The Deep End did a lot of homework here and for that, I thank them. Although, for me, this takes away from the first aspect of the game I’d like to look at: graphics.

perception_review_screen_1

Graphically, the game is lacking if I’m being honest. I understand that Cassie is blind, but that means a lot of the game is spent trying to figure out what the hell you’re supposed to be doing exactly (no offense to those that are blind). 85% of Perception has players staring into a pitch black void with little to no direction. While there are environmental objects that make noise such as TVs, wind, and tape recorders, it’s still incredibly difficult to navigate. Tapping Cassie’s cane on the environment causes a wave of blue light to outline the world around her, but only for a few seconds as the sound waves reverberate into nothingness eventually. Though, those few seconds can either save Cassie, or end her night at the mansion.

All of that being said, Cassie’s blindness adds to the ambiance. Despite the disability, what players can see is actually pretty detailed! There are winding staircases, dusty old furniture, beautifully crafted busts, and long, harrowing hallways. Safe places or passages to other parts of the house are highlighted green. When Cassie is panicked, the once-blue visuals turn orange and red depending on the severity of the situation. There are quite a few jump scares, which is great when you can’t see your hand in front of your face and suddenly a swarm of moths explode out of some object in the room.

I’d definitely recommend playing with surround sound or with a nice gaming headset to really get the full effect the developers intended. Cassie’s breathing and the creaks and groans of the house are all indicators of the player’s status, progress, and level of danger.

perception-screen-04-ps4-us-07jun17Speaking of progress, as Cassie gets closer and closer to finding the truth about the mansion, The Presence within becomes more and more aggressive. Each time Cassie taps her cane, the ghastly ghoul draws a finer bead on her. This mechanic adds to the survival aspect of Perception. The player must choose the appropriate time to tap Cassie’s cane or rely solely on the sound of her footsteps. Cassie can run and hide, but she cannot fight.

Walking, running, tapping and using Cassie’s Sixth Sense are all easily controlled. While the environment is difficult to navigate, Cassie is not at all difficult to control. As I mentioned above, Cassie cannot fight, but that does not make her useless in the slightest. Her Sixth Sense guides her to each objective which is helpful when you get lost or disoriented. She can walk to keep quiet, and run to flee from the ghost that stalks her. Hiding spots are activated with the press of a button, and interactable objects work in a similar way.

Cassie’s phone, which serves as an in-game menu is also easily navigated. Players can have texts, voicemails, and other tidbits of information read to them. Some of these bits are crucial to helping Cassie progress while others simply add to the lore surrounding the mansion and Cassie herself. Players may also have her listen to music; however we can’t listen to music while we have Cassie progress which kind of blows. I suppose it serves as sort of a break in the tense action that goes on in Perception.

maxresdefault

So there you have it. Perception is a great game that pits players against their environment and most of all, themselves. If you’re looking for breathtaking scenery or a game that can be beaten easily, look elsewhere. If you want a challenging game that has the potential change your perception (see what I did there?) of the way games are played in general, check out this title. It’s a little rocky, but it’s surprisingly good for a game developed by just a handful of people. I have a feeling that this game will pick up later on down the road and no one will see it coming. Okay, enough puns! Go out and give Perception a shot. You may be surprised at how much you like it.

Written by Poseidon

Poseidon

Student, dreamer, video game enthusiast, with an affinity for all things anime. Poseidon (or Zack for short) is a full-time recruiter with a staffing agency in Raleigh, NC. When he’s not screening resumes and scheduling interviews, he’s usually nerding out and devouring vegan bacon in his free time.
If you have any questions or want to know more about Zack, reach out on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn!
Twitch: PoseidonNB (schedule TBA)
PSN: MilesBirch
RuneScape: Not Zack

 
 

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