GAME REVIEW: The Beast Inside (Demo)

The Beast Inside

Before the review, some context. The Beast Inside is scheduled to come out in 2019. Whilst I’m therefore delighted Geek Syndicate was sent a copy of the alpha-demo to review, it needs to be borne in mind that I played an unfinished product. Some sections of the game simply aren’t there yet, with certain rooms/areas bearing an on-screen note that they aren’t yet available. At the end of the demo, I was invited to give feedback on what I’d played (which amounted in my case to saying “You’re much scarier than Resident Evil VII, so stay away from anything resembling it”). Alterations going forward are not just possible, then, they were one of the intended goals of the exercise.

Caveat applied, let’s talk about the two chapters of the game I played. The first is a fairly standard opener, a combination of scene-setter and tutorial. It looks absolutely gorgeous throughout, but beyond that most of the fun to be had here is in exploring the game’s physics engine, which has been designed to allow you to pick up pretty much everything you find and chuck it around with gleeful abandon. The amount you can do this without it getting old doubtless varies from player to player, but I personally took great satisfaction in taking a house I was supposed to be helping set up and utterly trashing the joint. Those more mature than me will probably burn through the level pretty fast, assuming they’re less idiotic than I was when it comes to the closing puzzle.

It’s the second installment where things get scary. And they get scary fast. This is a game that recognises that jump-scares are all well and good, but it’s the sudden realisation that you have to consciously head into something terrifying that really gets you. Factor in an appropriately spooky score, and there were at least three occasions during the chapter where I desperately wished the game offered a “Burn the house down and run like hell” action. I’m a huge fan of horror games (though I don’t get to play them as much as I’d like), and it’s not often I’ve been this freaked out – the early stages of Slender: The Arrival is the last time I remember feeling like this. I ended up so jittery and shot through with adrenaline that even the chapter’s vicious conclusion felt like a relief. All of which is to say, the job was well and truly done. After I’d had time to calm down and think back, I’m not sure I really came across anything genuinely original in the chapter’s battery of (literal) creeps and (equally literal) crawls, but it was certainly flawlessly executed. Besides, there’s plenty of time for the game to cover new ground as it goes on. Plenty of horror stories don’t break out their most interesting ideas right off the (vampire) bat.

So am I looking forward to the full game? Guardedly, yes. It was certainly both interesting and pretty scary, as well as looking and sounding great. It’s difficult to say how involving the story is, with so little of it revealed by this point, but there’s certainly potential here (I really wish we could move on from stories focusing on who’s kidnapped the hero’s wife, though). I will confess to being a bit concerned that the game is building towards a twist that’s vastly less clever and more obvious than it thinks it is.¬† This may well turn out to be a red herring, though, or a small piece of a much larger puzzle.

Ultimately, if the job of a game demo (like that of a film trailer) is to increase awareness without dampening anticipation, this did what it set out to do. At the very least, I recommend horror fans keep their eyes open for reviews of the full game nearer the launch date. It’s also worth noting that the Kickstarter for the game will end at the beginning of April, and at present the game is only 75% of the way towards funding. If this review has left you intrigued, you might want to dig deeper¬†sooner rather than later.

(More info about the game – including a link to the Kickstarter – can be found here.)

Game title: The Beast Inside (Demo)

Studio: Illusion Ray

Score: 3.5/5

GS Reviewer: Ric Crossman

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