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Distorted Reality (PC) artwork

Distorted Reality (PC) review


"Actual reality: you paid a few dollars for a game that offers nothing"


Distorted Reality (PC) image

I used to think only terrible concepts and blatantly rehashed devices produced detestable works of horror. Distorted Reality proved me wrong. Sometimes, truly abysmal works come about through a complete dearth of any core idea whatsoever...

Hell, the game basically warns you that it's going to be a huge disappointment from square one. The problem is that you might give it the benefit of the doubt at first, because it seems like it's intentionally withholding content in the hopes of scaring you big time later on. As you fire it up, it skips the developer and publisher intros, title screen, opening cutscene and all that, cutting straight you standing in a wrecked hospital room. Beginning apparently in media res creates the impression that the experience will likely drip feed you the rest of the story, though you don't realize at first that you're actually going to starve...

A floating message instructs you to pick up some batteries for your flashlight and get moving. So you do, venturing into the dark, ruined corridors, wondering what sinister thing lurks behind the blood-spattered gurneys and fridges containing fetuses. At first, this title seems like it's going to be grade-A freaky stuff. The visuals actually look and move nicely, plus the soundtrack is fittingly eerie. The only problem is you don't know what the hell to do right off the bat, unless you happened to see an easily missable early message that tells you to collect ten blueprints. If you don't read that when you begin, you'll end up voyaging all over the shambled hallways to nab batteries until your torch runs dry, and not doing much else.

Distorted Reality (PC) image

Only one scene attempts to scare you, where an apparition appears behind you and vanishes quickly. It might give you a little jump, but it otherwise causes you no harm.

During my playthrough I didn't catch the blueprint message, but discovered the objective through dumb luck. I happened to look at a piece of paper and thought it might be your everyday scrawled message that could add some context to this affair. I grabbed it and an achievement popped up, reading "1 Blueprint." I realized at that point that I had been suckered into purchasing a Slender clone, but figured I could make the most of out of it and stay the course.

So I scoured the locale, hoping that ghost wouldn't pop back up (not that it mattered because it's completely harmless), and continued my search for batteries and blueprints. I became worried that I would run out of batteries before finding the tenth item, and that the ghost would do something unspeakable to me in the dark, like read a Gary Brandner novel aloud. Luckily, I secured the final article before all of my batteries were gone... and nothing happened...

Distorted Reality (PC) image

I ventured back to the beginning. Nothing happened. I explored the whole place again. Nothing happened. I let my light's energy and batteries run out to see if the specter would come for me, thus ending my run. Nothing happened. I sat completely still in-game while the real me snatched up my smart phone to hit Google for some answers. I was a sitting duck, just waiting for the fiendish entity to come rip apart or whisk me away to some hellish dimension, or whatever it is these damn malevolent spirits do.

NOTHING HAPPENED

I put some pieces of the puzzle together. There is no viable threat here, because I never perished regardless of what I did or didn't do. At no point did anything assail me except for the one jump fright, but that was really nothing. Also, every walkthrough and bit of material I watched or read ended with the content creators giving up because they found nothing. I realized at that point that this title is either incomplete or was merely shipped out to spirit away a few of your dollars.

Then something occurred to me: what if by some chance the developer carefully hid the rest of the content somewhere, and no one has found it? Well that's unfortunate, then. If you're going to take a minimal narrative approach, you still need to give you player some kind of hint or indication of what they need to do, especially if failing to do so means no one ever finds the most substantial pieces of your game.

Distorted Reality (PC) image
I bothered to take a screenshot of a staircase because it's one of the few locations that stands out. That should tell you something...


Honestly, I don't think that's the case. Distorted Reality is actually just a completely blank, incomplete adventure that was probably going to be fleshed out later, but never was. Now, it's nothing but a husk of a horror adventure, offering only a bare outline for what a Slender clone could provide. Were I to rank all the horror games I've played, this one would be near the bottom, if not at the very base. I wouldn't put it there because it's conceptually rotten, but because it's conceptually devoid.

0.5/5

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Staff review by Joseph Shaffer (November 21, 2020)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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