INSIDE – Review (Xbox One)
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Follow Developer: Playdead
Platform: Xbox One, PC
Release: June 29, 2016
July 7th (PC)

INSIDE – Review (Xbox One)

Good: Beautifully eerie.
Bad: A little short for the price-tag.

INSIDE is one of those games that you play, and will remember that experience for a long time to come. The game is very much a spiritual successor to Playdead’s other game, LIMBO and it shows in terms of gameplay, aesthetic and overall feel when you’re traversing through these levels, and completing the puzzles. In the game you take control of a young boy with no real idea of where the story, nor the game is going to be taking you. You’re completely oblivious as to what could happen, and it’s a sort of freeing experience with INSIDE. You’re dropped in right away with no idea on controls or anything. You go in completely blind, and I think that makes the experience better in this case.

Right away you’ll notice a very dystopian feel to the game in terms of the visuals, and setting. Unlike LIMBO which took a solid 2D aspect, INSIDE seems to delve more into the realm of 2.5D and cranks up everything that LIMBO had up to eleven. INSIDE’s graphics may be minimal, but they work extremely well for the game and you can’t help but go through the game thinking how visually pleasing it is, and just bask in these environments that the developers have constructed.

Like it’s spiritual predecessor, INSIDE is rather dark once you get beneath its hide so to speak. In LIMBO you were also a child in this nightmarish world where graphic deaths were still quite brutal for a child, but with INSIDE everything feels that much more darker and bleak when you do happen upon some of the dangers, and deaths present in the game. There was a moment where I had to outrun a group of dogs, and they caught up to me and began to relentlessly tear my throat out. The game doesn’t shy away from killing the protagonist in these dark ways, but it never once feels over the top, and mindless. If anything it seems to fit the art-style, and never comes off as poor taste which some people would seem to think as you are witnessing a child being torn apart in the end.

It also is like it’s younger brother, as it too is a puzzle-platformer with some stealth elements. Most of the puzzles never border on being too difficult, but they never come off as too simple either. They will mostly have you pushing around boxes, and controlling these mindless corpses which is one of the more unique aspects in INSIDE, and plays a huge part in the game for various ways, and reasons but I won’t go into that, so you can find out yourself when you pick the game up since it can be pretty spoiler heavy.

It does feel easier than LIMBO did, but that’s not necessarily a negative point on the game at all. The puzzles are still incredibly fun, and it stills feel great when you solve them and progress through the level.

INSIDE works with a ton of environmental settings as well, so you’re never really looking at the same walls, floors, and backdrops during your time with the game. You’ll be traversing through forests, factories, labs, dystopian cities, and my favorite the underwater segments as pictured above. INSIDE is a beautiful game, and each location seems to have been crafted with absolute care and really makes the end product something to be marveled at.

The great thing about the game is that it never feels tedious. You never feel bored with it, and you never feel like the game feels too long. If anything, it feels too short, which is really the only negative point I can give the game. During my initial run-through of the game, I clocked through the finale at around 3 and a half hours, and an extra hour to clean up the remaining collectibles which could turn some people off for a game that’s priced at $19.99, but the experience alone is worth the price-tag in my opinion. Although INSIDE is a short-game, there was never a moment where I found myself becoming bored, or sick of the endless puzzles, it actually made me feel sad that the experience was over when the credits began to roll which has only ever happened with a few games.

In the end, INSIDE is quite possibly one of the best video game experiences of the year, and I can safely put it in my Top 3 games of the year so far. It’s a beautifully crafted game with pleasing visuals, aesthetics, and superb design on every front. The short run-time of 3-5 hours might turn some people off, but again the experience alone is well worth the investment. I can safely say that if you loved LIMBO then INSIDE is a must buy, and if you didn’t play LIMBO but want a game that won’t take up too much time, and will be an experience worth remembering then definitely check out INSIDE.

You won’t regret it.

9.5/10

 

 

Justin Ross


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