INSIDE Reviews

AuthorReview
Wyyvern
478,562 (250,350)
Wyyvern
TA Score for this game: 1,283
Posted on 29 June 16 at 16:24, Edited on 30 June 16 at 09:56
This review has 29 positive votes and 5 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
"It's hard to write a review when you're speechless."

The best review for this game would be the shortest possible one, such as "it's amazing, buy it now". Obviously I can't do that though, so read on for my thoughts on this game.

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The reason for a short review being the most ideal is because the less you know about the game, the better. I will not go into the story of Inside, not even give a synopsis, as it needs to be experienced blind to get the best possible experience from the game. I will also not post any personal gameplay or screenshots, and I recommend not viewing any gameplay or video reviews. The limited marketing campaign that has been provided by the developers is what was needed for this game, and I applaud them for that.

At first I was apprehensive when I saw the price of the game. £15.99 for what is reported to be a 3-4 hour completion does seem a lot to ask for, but this game has one of the highest quality over quantity values I've seen in a long time. I was originally going to wait for a sale, but I worried about coming across a spoiler before then, which lead me to buy now. Looking back, I'm glad I spent full price. The developers deserve the money for what they've created.

Much like the developer's last project, Limbo, the player controls an unnamed, faceless boy with no story or goal. The core gameplay revolves around exploration and solving puzzles through the manipulation of objects in the surrounding environment. The puzzles themselves are not explained to the player (neither is anything else for that matter) and must be solved through trial and error, the reward being progression and failure often being a violent death of the character. The game sometimes helps in highlighting important objects, such as the direction of a light or the brightness of a colour against the mostly monochrome surroundings.

The character can only move in four directions like a typical 2D game, however the game is set in a three dimensional world. The world is incredible and expertly created. The forest area at the start of the game is particularly stunning, with each tree independently moving along with the character, leaves falling from the sky and a small view distance due to fog. The world is very active. Even when the character is still, there is often something happening in the background, all modelled in stunning 3D. The viewing perspectives can only be described as perfect.

One of my favourite parts of Inside, and where it is obvious a lot of effort was put into, is the sound design. I played with headphones and I believe that it is the best experience, as the original soundtrack, background noises along with the character's steps can all be clearly heard and appreciated. The ambient soundtrack that is present in the game was composed by Martin Stig Andersen, who also created the audio for Limbo. The strong, echoing chords are often a helpful reminder to the player that progress is being made, and they satisfyingly blend together if the character dies and respawns, with two distinct examples coming to mind.

Once I finished the game, I was disappointed with the seemingly abrupt ending. However, having time to think about it more, the ending of this game does not matter so much, as it is the journey before it that makes the game truly special. However, I still believe it could have been improved, as it did not have the stunning and thought provoking factor of the ending to Limbo.

The achievements in this game are all based on the game's fourteen collectables. During my playthrough I only found two of them, but they can be easily achieved later as there are nearly 60 checkpoints that can be revisited through the main menu.

Inside can be best described as half game, half experience. It is a must buy for fans of Limbo and a great purchase for players who enjoy puzzle focused platformers. It is a game that shouldn't be rushed, but taken in and enjoyed.
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Slam Shot Sam
777,507 (416,154)
Slam Shot Sam
TA Score for this game: 1,283
Posted on 30 June 16 at 19:50, Edited on 20 September 16 at 10:30
This review has 9 positive votes and 4 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
INSIDE | Xbox One

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Games like INSIDE don’t come around often; it’s a truly special experience that should be savoured over its precious three to four hour course. It’s Playdead’s second game, the spiritual successor to LIMBO, and another absolute classic.

INSIDE is immediately gripping, consuming us with many a burning question. This desire to discover never subsided, which is impressive, considering not a word of dialogue is uttered throughout the game. The narrative is conveyed more fluently through lovingly detailed environments, body language and actions than most stories that are scripted with painstaking care.

This minimalistic philosophy encompasses the game’s systems as a whole. Be it the focus on diegetic sound, the muted colour palette, three-button control scheme, or forgone tutorial, menus and HUD - there’s a general simplicity of shape and design. The end result is an experience that feels firmly grounded - less game-like - whilst abstract.

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There are many a controller-gripping, squee-subduing narrow escapes from the mysterious range of pursuers encountered throughout the young protagonist’s harrowing journey. What makes these instances altogether disturbing is how defenseless you are, in addition to the fact the conflict seems unprovoked. Masked adults will happily gun the boy down, or set attack dogs on him, the ensuing violence of which is freely depicted. These moments are shocking, but perhaps worse are the times he’s knocked unconscious, limp remains dragged to a presumed fate worse than death.

Games like INSIDE don’t come around often; it’s a truly special experience that should be savoured over its precious three to four hour course.
Some grisly fatalities are a necessity, as death serves to teach the player. Most often the process will help deduce the conclusion to a puzzle, of which there are many, all naturally integrated as to not feel like contrived progress gates. Many are physics based - courtesy of a system that’s beautifully true-to-life - involving correct placement of environmental objects. They’re never frustrating, exclusively occupying that perfect middle ground that sees you pause to scratch your head, whilst not for long enough to consider throwing in the towel and looking up the solution.

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Platforming is a secondary gameplay pillar, more a means to an end than a challenge of its own. You’ll naturally employ the tightly controlled manoeuvres to aid in your traversal, but don’t expect any particularly taxing jumps.

To fully explore INSIDE’s strange and exciting subject matter would be to rob you of discovering them for yourself.
There’s a refreshing, if still slight, level of freedom for what’s usually a somewhat linear genre. Some sections can be tackled in an order of your choosing, dependant on which direction you choose to take off in, whilst there are also plenty of hidden secrets to uncover. These are tied to the game’s achievements, in addition to an alternate ending, but please resist the temptation to introduce the distraction of a walkthrough on your initial playthrough. Play at your own pace, allow yourself to absorb it, discover what you discover, then go back.

To fully explore INSIDE’s strange and exciting subject matter would be to rob you of discovering them for yourself. That said, the ending has been the one constant criticism raised. It certainly doesn’t answer all of the questions it prompted, but when paired with the alternate ending, we’re content with our interpretation. It doesn’t need to be spelled out.

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A rare, somber experience that’s dense with atmosphere, you’ll likely play in a stunned silence, mouth slightly agape in wonderment. If you ever find yourself in a games as art discussion - a topic that shouldn’t still be up for debate - point towards INSIDE and rest your case.

Pros

+ Beautiful, encompassing simplicity of design
+ Fantastic use of sound - focus on diegetic draws you in, whilst the scarcity of arranged pieces makes them more impactful
+ Tight controls and intelligent puzzles
+ Compelling narrative without the need to utter a word
+ Respects and trusts the player with no form of handholding

Cons

- Can’t fault it

10/10

INSIDE is an incredibly easy completion with the help of a collectables guide, but as I said in the main review, you'd be doing yourself a disservice following one the first time through. Chapter select makes it easy to go back and collect any that you may have missed.

Originally written for Pass the Controller, a copy was provided for the purpose of this review.

If you vote negatively, please consider leaving a comment as to why to help prompt improvement.

Thanks for reading.
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Mr Velezbian
315,265 (214,418)
Mr Velezbian
TA Score for this game: 1,283
Posted on 30 June 16 at 17:48
This review has 6 positive votes and 5 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
INSIDE
PLAYDEAD DOES IT AGAIN, INSIDE IS PLATFORMING PERFECTION

Where to start, where to start. Even trying to conceptualize how to even begin to write about INSIDE was a challenge all its own, and now here I am actually doing it. To get straight to the point, INSIDE is a moving, chilling, and overall fantastic piece of creative work. It is art in motion, and every step you take in the three to four hour experience is one you will not regret. In 2010, Playdead treated players to LIMBO, a dark and visceral platformer that was as challenging as it was charming. Here now six years later, INSIDE brings many inspirations from its predecessor in an enhanced, fully fleshed, and practically perfect game. INSIDE does everything it aimed to do, and as challenging and mind-boggling as its story is, the beauty of it is that it can be interpreted in multiple ways. Due to the nature of the game, I will try my absolute best to avoid any spoiler-esque details regarding story, scenes, or generally intriguing content that the game has, but note that I will use some detail to get my point across.

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Much like LIMBO before it, INSIDE places you in the control of a young boy with no introduction as to what the circumstances are. There is no hand-holding for the control scheme either. Playdead’s stories are all about discovery and enlightenment, and truly no one can weave a story without words quite like they do. It is almost immediately evident how gorgeous and inviting the game is visually from the moment it starts. Never has a dimly lit forest looked this good in a platformer. Taking in the peaceful scene is all too brief, as danger draws closer and your platforming skills get tested. Running, jumping, climbing, swinging, and pushing are the basic ingredients for a platformer, and they are all masterfully executed in the title. The boys physical appearance and motions have a weight and body to it that you can feel, making each movement feel incredibly accurate and proportionate to the character. Even his general response to the world around him feels immaculately real and personal. From simple glances at objects, moving an obstacle, and even the odd stumble here or there, INSIDE mirrors Uncharted 4 in character motion quality, and that is truly saying something.

The themes at hand are incredibly creepy and cryptic, and again are all open to interpretation. My time spent with the game was one of pure awe, with so many questions being naturally pondered over the course of time. My mind was like a cork board with pins and strings all over it, trying to connect the pieces the give the player over the course of the adventure. If there was a novelization of INSIDE that gave a deeper background, I would buy it immediately. There is so much to soak in, and it is clearly intentional and paying off. The online community, since playing this game that came out only a day ago at the time of this writing, is extremely excited to talk about their experiences with the game and what they think it means. This is an achievement all its own, as this type of inquisitive gathering online is seldom seen. Whatever you interpret it as, INSIDE to me is one of the best science-fiction realizations I have ever seen come across my screen. Its depth is unmatched in the genre, touching on social constructs, human life’s worth, and evolution. It is inspiring to me that something can have so much to process in such little time while maintaining complete control over the narrative. It’s truly amazing how spot on the pacing is.

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When it comes down to the puzzle side of things, I was taken aback how naturally the situations worked themselves out. A grizzly death or two here and there meant I was learning, or missing something right in front of my face. Some were amazingly creative, and others just straight up had the “whoa” factor for how cool they were. I caught myself saying “that’s awesome” dozens of times in my playthrough, and I do not regret a single uttering of the phrase because INSIDE is just plain smart. Chase scenes were packed with nail biting anxiety, and the quieter scenes were filled with ambiance and a solemn serenity. Every inch of the game works the way it should, from the platforming, to the emotional response and even driving the narrative. Where the game clearly stands out however is how great it’s new ideas work. Some puzzles are done by controlling other people, and while I will not touch on this too much to save from spoilers, I will say its damn smart. Going into this game I had no intentions of that feature being present, and was just as surprised when I found out you could also travel in a bathysphere style submarine. Each piece of interaction ties into that impressive pacing, and makes for a hell of a trip.

Creepy, cool, and intelligent are some of the many positive terms I could use to describe INSIDE. It is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. The only shot of disappointment I had with the gem of a title was when it was over and the credits rolled. I wasn’t ready for the end, and I am on the fence about how satisfactory that end was. That was until I went back and snagged every collectable, revealing an alternative ending that brought everything full circle. In short, my mind was blown. That sealed the deal on the score you are about to see. If you like LIMBO, play it. If you like platformers, play it. If you like smart and creepy-cool sci-fi stories, what are you waiting for? Do yourself a favor and play INSIDE, because the next thing you know it will be game of the year and you will be regretting not playing it sooner.
10/10
+Immersive and Gorgeous Environments
+Character Physicality
+Impeccable Narrative
+Everything Else


Originally posted on www.Player2Reviews.com thanks for reading!
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