If you know games at all, the first thought that probably crosses your mind is where is the 7th Guest? Team Gotham has crafted a stylish and mood appropriate horror game which is over all too soon. Hotel California, you can check out but you can never really leave, this is not.
You play this game in a first person perspective as Dr. Leonov who has been invited to the University of Boston’s 9th Annual International Scientific Congress. The university has been kind enough to billet you at a nearby hotel in a rather sumptuous hotel room. That is pretty well all the narrative there is and all you learn about your character. Oh, there is one more thing. Seems Leonov is suffering from some form of unspecified mental illness. One that affects his grasp on reality. Without it he has difficulty discerning what is true and what is delusion. A particularly poor affliction to be burdened with when staying in a haunted hotel.
“Team Gotham has crafted a stylish and mood appropriate horror game which is over all too soon.”
From a technical perspective, the game looks and sounds gorgeous. Rooms are presented in stunning detail with lighting that creates appropriately moody shadows and dark areas. Added into the mix are the all important sound and music cues which really help build up a sense of isolation and dread. All these elements work in concert to task you as you try to work your way through each room. This is what The Guest boils down to. It is a room escape puzzler.
Each room requires you to piece together clues and/or items that will allow you to progress to the next area. The main criticism to be found with the game is the rather ridiculous amount of items you can carry in your inventory. It could be argued that determining which items are relevant and which are of no consequence is part of the gameplay but it feels excessive, and more germane, becomes tedious rather quickly.
That tedium sets in even quicker than the game play which will clock in somewhere between three to four hours. And that amount of gameplay is definitely good value for the cost of the game but it also blunts the experience. Psychological horror, jump scares aside, which this game certainly is, requires time to properly setup and let the player experience it. Because of the shortness in game play, I was left unmoved and only partially engaged. Without a fleshed narrative, The Guest plays out more like a quick funhouse ride rather than a fully fledged frightfest.
If you go into the game knowing it is short you can adjust your expectations accordingly. The Guest looks, plays, and sounds great but because of its brevity feels like a easily forgettable brief encounter rather than an overnight stay.
*** PC code provided by the publisher ***
- Excellent sound design
- Good graphics
- Nifty puzzles to solve
- Sparse narrative
- Shortness of gameplay
- Too many objects to pickup