If and when the player moves ahead to begin this new file, the game seems to react at any hint of this former character, and the client loudly glitches and morphs until it seems satisfied with its outcome.
Soon into the next run-through, the client repeatedly takes control of itself, speeding through text and tacking on unusual images to create grotesque jump scares.
leads you down a dark path, leading to the shocking and emotional death of one character.
But in the same moment that it rips your heart open, the game instantly takes a much more unusual twist.
Worse, a game can mask the world around you in highly efficient ways, bringing down your guard before a good scare.
You can start crawling into a space before getting dragged out, or you can open a door that seemed safe before and encounter a new monster.
The point of many games becomes, then, that fear often makes you lose control, and just as often, loss of control makes you lose the game.
The “action-adventure horror house” is an effective and proven genre, with tactics such as jump-scares, claustrophobic encounters and high-adrenaline chases that work despite their tired use.
In the process, I realized how utilizes an underrated aspect of the horror experience: control, or the lack thereof.
Since its release, the game has earned a reputation as an innovative scare.
It’s a slow burn that begins with you and group of cute girls who must prove that their literature club is worth becoming an official school organization.
But the reality of a sentient game client becomes nightmare fuel on its own.
To make matters worse, in the moment of the character’s death, keen eyes will notice that the game directs the player outside of the client by naming a specific game file, alluding to an outside force changing the game’s universe.