Alone in the Dark Review — The Inspiration Is Inspired

Alone in the Dark Review

Alone in the Dark is survival game royalty. Some would argue it’s the genre’s godfather, inspiring all the great titles such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill, and it’s finally back! This has been one of my most anticipated games since it was announced, so finally being able to get hands-on with the final product from THQNordic made me feel like a giddy schoolboy (yes, I was that old when I played the original).

For all of you young gamers out there not too familiar with the Alone in the Dark series, it was originally released on PC back in 1992 and is widely acknowledged as an early instance of survival horror video games and is often credited with the creation of the genre. It also holds the Guinness World Record for being the first-ever 3D Survival Horror game, set in a mansion with lead character Edward Carnby investigating a haunted house and has since spawned six sequels and two movies.

Jumping from 1992 to 2024, the latest in the franchise looks to revitalise the series after the last two outings, which were not received well in terms of sales or critical success. This Alone in the Dark looks to be a reimagining of the original title. You will return as Edward Carby, a 1920s private investigator accompanied by Emily Hartwell in search of her Uncle, who sent a disturbing letter to her. You begin your journey to the Derceto Mansion, a psychiatric facility where Emily alleges her uncle is possessed. He insists a shadowy figure named the ‘Dark Man’ constantly pursues him. Suspecting his mental state, he voluntarily admits himself but later confides in his niece that the institution is a cult.

Edward is hired by Emily to find her missing Uncle

After a short introduction, you are prompted to select between the main protagonists, Emily Hartwood (Jodie Comer) and Edward Carnby (David Harbour). As you search around the house, the manor appears to be empty, so you are free to look around and search as you please. There’s not much to find early on besides some notes, ammo, and health.

The map of the building is found early on, and it borrows from the Resident Evil series in terms of letting you know via colour coding when a room is completely searched, so you know when to move on from the room. This may have something to do with the options at the start of the game, which let you select between modern and classic. Modern offers hints, and classic does not, such as where objects are.

As you approach the front door to let in Emily or Edward, you are intercepted by the maid and other guests in the house, their faces marked with suspicion and curiosity. Reluctant to welcome you inside, they inform you that Jeremy, Emily’s uncle, has disappeared, assuring you he will return in a few days. Despite their objections, you excuse yourself and push your way into the house, insisting on waiting despite the maid’s protests.

Go searching through the many rooms of Derceto Mansion

Now able to conduct your search around the house, I couldn’t help but be drawn into the atmosphere and period of this old New Orleans mansion. The lighting was fantastic and took me back to the original game but also the original Resident Evil. As you move along the halls you hear every slight noise, whether it be the creeks of wood or subtle jazz tones, you will truly become immersed in this. Along with running into the other patients of Derceto Mansion, all filling you with suspicion and riddled answers as to the whereabouts of Emily’s Uncle. 

It’s not long after this that you descend into madness and find yourself in the dark streets of New Orleans after looking into Jeremy’s room (Emily’s Uncle), not quite knowing what to make of it. As soon as you enter, the monsters start to appear. Armed with a pistol as well as scattered bricks and Molotov cocktails spread across the streets as your only defence. Once again, you are drawn into the setting with subtle noises and subtle Jazz tones as you search the streets. I can’t stress enough what a great job they did with the audio in this game. It was never overbearing of the environmental noises that were out there to keep you on edge. 

Descend into madness and question reality

Eventually, you will find a Talisman, which becomes the main tool for Alone in the Dark. It assists you in finding Jeremy as well as a tool to solve puzzles throughout the game. The puzzles are a good mixture with a few of them being repeated, especially the talisman puzzles, with clues varying between simple to complex and some being environmental based. Such as being required to locate an item, like a key to get to another room or plate-based puzzles where you need to move them to create an image to open a draw. Some of them will rack your brain, whereas some will only require patience to find the missing item.

Throughout Alone in the Dark, I got really small vibes from many games that Alone in the Dark helped shape over the years, such as Resident Evil’s puzzles and even its tight, ominous corridors. From Silent Hill’s eerie Other World to the GameCube classic Eternal Darkness, where you delve into fragmented memories. The inspiration has been inspired after all these years.

Alone in the Dark Review
You might be alone, but you are not always in the dark

When you are not solving puzzles or travelling to a great variety of new areas in Alone in the Dark, you will be reading notes and finding Lagniappes. There are 3 of each item to find, and when the set is found will unlock Knowledge, Secret objectives and other unlockables to help with the case. These are not all found throughout one character and will require you to play through both of the main characters’ stories in Alone in the Dark. This will give you a deeper understanding of what is going on in Derceto Mansion.

Alone in the Dark Review
Puzzles will require some time

As for the current build I have played (Version 1.01), I must say I hope there is a day-one patch to be deployed as I did find some bugs during my time with one that would crash the game at the start of chapter 2, but the main one was the shooting audio. For the majority of the game, when shooting, the audio would be delayed. Nothing game-breaking, but enough for me to want this to be fixed because these small things took me out of the immersion of Alone in the Dark. Hopefully, these will be addressed by the launch of the game.

The only other gripe that I had with this game was the two-character story plot. As much as I loved the premise of playing as two separate characters in Alone in the Dark, there just wasn’t enough difference in the overall presentation. Sure, there was different dialogue with the numerous characters in the Mansion and areas of New Orleans, but apart from that, nothing much else varies. I was able to fly through the second playthrough of Alone in the Dark for a few extra collectables and different cutscenes.

Alone in the Dark Review
Visit many other areas apart from the mansion

After my 12-15 hour experience of Alone in the Dark, I did feel that the good outweighed the bad. With only a few small bugs, it was entertaining to watch both characters struggling with their grasp on reality as they dug deeper into the happenings of Emily’s Uncle and the secrets of Derceto Mansion. So grab your best pair of headsets, turn the lights off and get ready to be immersed in a great Survival Horror classic.



Alone in the Dark’s reimagining remains faithful to the original game but is not afraid to take some traits from its modern counterparts in the survival horror genre. Be prepared to become heavily immersed in the Decerto Mansion once more, but don’t expect much variety in the co-existing stories or puzzles.


  • Great Atmosphere and setting

  • Performances across the board are all brilliantly portrayed

  • While sticking to its roots, it is not afraid to lend from its modern counterparts

  • There are moments of terror, but no cheap jump scares


  • Stories could have been varied much more

  • Puzzle variety was lacking

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