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Lone Survivor: The Director's Cut Review

One of the more interesting developments in the current generation of gaming is the birth of the independent scene on home consoles; with digital releases able to cut out the physical costs of producing game and letting some very original ideas be release to the consumer; I would even go as far as to say that most of the highlights of this generation have been with these bite-size games and though small in megabytes when compared to the multi gig AAA titles they tend to entertain even more. All this can be said for Lone Survivor, a very basic survival game where lack of graphical powers and a multi-million budget does nothing to stop in its goal, to mess with your head and scare you witless.

Lone Survivor: The Directors Cut is a survival horror, think Resident Evil or Silent Hill but in a 16bit world. Presented in 2D that is more familiar to platform games you start off witnessing some very strange dreams before waking up as 'you' - a medical mask sporting character constantly referred to as you. You give very little away to start with, how long have you been here, what is going on? But what is clear is that you are not all there. Through your mad ramblings you slowly gather yourself, venturing out from your room and into the hallway, welcomed only by the imposing void of darkness, trying to hopefully to find a way out of the madness.

The game then slowly opens up to you, as you wander around the many corridors you start to offer more background, something clearly happened, turning the occupants in to monsters, but why are you the only survivor, more and more returns to you as you slowly make sense of the maps you pick up, finding rooms in various states of disarray, some you can’t get into straight away, requiring you to find keys, others mysteriously open on their own; are you really on your own or is it our mind playing tricks on you. The darkness that lies through every room is occasionally interrupted by small offerings of light, sometimes these come as a breath of fresh air as your torch battery runs low, however most of the time they are even more frightening, as the darkness often covers up the state of the world, with blood splattered all over the walls or large pieces of skin stretched across tunnels. Though human survivors are apparently few and far between, you do come across some but they do not offer any more sanity to this spiralling situation, with a man with a box on his head appearing in your dreams and a young girl in a dress calling you and then disappearing, they do nothing but add even more tension to your daily excursions through the apartment complex. However one thing is for sure, they may not be real but the monsters that roam the corridors can kill you, leaving you to rely on a sparse supply of bullets to kill them, flares or rotted meat to distract them or slipping into the shadows and sliding past their line of sight.

With monsters lurking in the dark and strange flashbacks and the maze-like corridors messing with your sanity there is also another element to the game, food. Little or none of the left over rations will mean even more crazy incidents and missing your queue to eat and the game starts to creep in the madder side of things. As you venture further out, you will keep on getting hungry, then you will start to get tired, with the game feeling even more oppressive and closed in, more than the pitch black dark could ever manage with static effects scratching across the visuals and audio tracks, causing you to rush back to your room for some vital sleep and more food via the twisting corridors or the strange mirrors that act as quick travel portals.

Sometimes fear of not knowing what is there can be worse than what is actually lurking in the dark and Lone Survivor: The Directors Cut plays on this really well, making each step terrifying; amplified even more by the chilling audio effects that creep around your speakers, ramping up the tension and also giving you warning when something truly scary is about to happen.

Computer games only rarely manage to find the perfect recipe for fear, Lone Survivor: The Directors Cut strikes a raw nerve early on and never stops playing with you, with it messing with your perception of reality and also the more basic fear of what lurks in the dark.

Words by Ash Buchanan.
(Version Tested: PS Vita)


- Offers a few return visits with different endings depending on your actions.
- PS3 and Vita cross-play
- Ideal for your PS Vita in a dark room and headphones.


- The ending can leave you scratching your head just as much as the main game.
- Though full of suspense there is not much variety

Edited On 03 Oct, 2013

( 3 )
shiny miller's avatar
shiny miller 3 years ago
Wow this looks perfect to me! Only slight issue is that, although I know the main character is wearing a surgical mask, it does look like he's just got a huge, cheesy grin.
inspector 74's avatar
inspector 74 3 years ago
Is this on the PS3???
Ash Buchanan's avatar
Ash Buchanan 3 years ago
Yes, and thanks for reading the whole review ;)

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