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Review: Rise of Insanity (2018, PC & VR)

by

by Adam Love

Red Limb Studio is a small, independent team of developers with a passion for computer games and new technologies like virtual reality. ‘Rise of Insanity’ is the second game from the team, a first-person psychological horror, with additional support for VR, which draws inspiration from greatest psychological horror movies such as ‘The Shining’, ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘Silent Hill’.

Alrighty then, my madhouse monkeys, let me tell you about my adventure in “Rise of Insanity”.

I won’t lie to you, I’m not a fan of the genre, I feel that the atmospheric horror game, in general, relies too much on jump scares and never plays out the atmosphere part. In short a lot of dev’s get lazy…or complacent.

Cue my welcome surprise when I loaded up Red Limb Studios endeavor into the genre and found it to be only just, and I mean just, shy of amazing. First thing that hit me, the visuals are stunning (and not too taxing on the GPU.), I didn’t have the opportunity to play in VR but I still felt fully immersed.

The muted tones and distant haze reflect Stephen’s mental state as he deals with personal trauma.

You play through the eyes of Stephen Dowell, a doctor of psychology in the 1970’s on the cutting edge of new and progressive therapies. You awake at your desk alone in an empty house, several doors are cordoned off with police tape and it’s already clear something is not right.

Stephen’s journey is one of memories and the mind, jumping to and from his house, the hospital where he works and the garden of his house. There are also a few trips into his stylised and increasingly compartmentalized psyche.

Very early on in this experience do we find out, through notes and tape recordings that Dr.Stephen has lost his wife and child. And that somehow Edward, the Dowell’s groundskeeper and Stephen’s newest patient, is involved.

The story is deeper than it would initially seem and Stephen is a human being with dreams, aspirations and flaws much like you and me. His wife is, from snippets we get of her, love starved and increasingly worried about her husband’s obsessive need to prove his new theoretical treatment. His son is a smart child with a fascination with birds and a newfound fear of the dark.

Let’s get down to brass tacks, THE HORROR!!!

It’s good, atmosphere and tension prevail over jump scares and exposition. I often found myself jumping at this I knew were coming because of how damn well they were foreshadowed. It, as stated on its website, draws inspiration for Silent Hill, The shining and many others. Tidal waves of blood and white walls that peel to reveal meaty blood clots are all on the table, you know what isn’t on the table?

The object you saw there a few seconds ago, also the door is gone and locked. You’re saying “Adam, you dumbass, a door can’t be locked if it’s not there”.

To you I say, Bullshit! It absolutely can and there’s probably some terrifying mental construction behind it anyway.

The audio is solid gold I might add, I cannot find a single fault with it. The leitmotif carried through the game is complete, the music is confused and longing, sad and languorous…It’s good. The audio cues for imminent terror reverb down your spine and into that awkward place just above your ass, the place that tingles when you’re walking up the stairs and night and trying not to show the monster at the bottom that you know it’s there.

This was a well-rounded, creepy game and it did everything well, I wish I could elaborate further for you, but the ending is a killer and you’ll want to experience it raw and wriggling.

I didn’t have a problem with the game, it was great, PLAY IT, PLAY IT NOW!

Find out more about the game at the Red Limb Studio website or check out Rise of Insanity on Steam.

 

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