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Forums > Submission Feedback > Lewis's Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem review

This thread is in response to a review for Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem on the GameCube. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: Suskie
Posted: January 03, 2010 (03:44 PM)
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Hmm. Well, glad we at least see eye-to-eye on this one. Eternal Darkness understands survival horror more than any other game in the genre as far as I'm concerned. You've read my own review so you know I agree with pretty much everything you say.

I share your bafflement over Dyack citing Too Human over Eternal Darkness in the games-are-art argument. The game is so mechanical in every way that it's further from art than any other modern game I've played. That both games were headed by the same guy is astonishing to me, as they literally represent opposite ends of the spectrum.

Also: Too Human employs stick jerking, not button mashing. I want this to catch on.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: bloomer
Posted: January 03, 2010 (05:41 PM)
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A genuinely and successfully novel review here. Good work. You also moved me to go look at the unfinished ED review on my hard drive from 2004(!). I am surprised how decent and near-done it is, and perhaps if I just structure it a little, I can post it in the near future, and that will show where my own interests fell while playing ED, rather than me just typing them in this box here.


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: January 03, 2010 (11:14 PM)
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You know what? All of us have our own style and I'd guess we all see things in other writers that we envy. After reading this review, I'm feeling that emotion right now. This was just a clever fucking bit of writing. Using the game's sanity meter as a gimmick for your review to throw in seemingly unrelated things to tie into the points you were making was pure genius!

Due to the way I look at games and write about them, I could never pen this review. And I am jealous of that.


I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle


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Author: Lewis
Posted: January 04, 2010 (04:22 AM)
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Thanks, folks. I'm glad people think this was successful. I had a real urge to write something that would top last year's Alphabet Olympics entry in terms of utter ridiculousness, but knew it would be something of a risk. Hopefully the Judges of Doom think it paid off as well.

Ultimately, the thing that would bring people's sanity meters crashing down the hardest was, well, last year's entry. Which I look back at now with a sense of horror that I'd ever write such a thing. A real cringe moment of writing for me, in retrospect.

But I thought it made for quite a cheeky ending.

Maybe I'll look back on this next year and go "what the fuck was I thinking?" But then, that was probably half the point.


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Author: jerec
Posted: January 04, 2010 (05:19 AM)
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I do have one question, Lewis. What's the game like, apart from the sanity stuff? Because I came out of that review knowing more about Red Faction. And I've never played Red Faction.

But do you know what? I have played Eternal Darkness. I did like the review, and I do think it works. And that guy probably talked about Too Human because he was told to, because it was a new game. Eternal Darkness has been around for years. Who would bother talking about it? Where's the profit?

Wait, Too Human was released in 2008? I completely missed that. Flew right under the radar. Maybe that's why he had to talk about it.


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: radicaldreamer
Posted: January 04, 2010 (06:19 AM)
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I wasn't really a big fan of trying to incorporate the sanity effects into the review or the presence of the Red Faction tangent. I think the Red Faction part would be great for an actual Red Faction review, and the parts of this piece that are actually relevant to the game in question are really interesting and insightful, especially the intro paragraphs and the comparisons to AA and Indigo Prophecy.


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Author: Lewis
Posted: January 04, 2010 (06:46 AM)
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The Red Faction stuff was lifted straight out of anoter of my experiMENTAL competition entries from some time last year. Wasn't sure how much of it to shoehorn in. I wanted it to be enough that it made you feel a bit awkward to read it all, but not so much that you just stopped entirely.

As for the game, well, I'd argue it is the sanity effects. I think Suskie said something similar in his review. Aside from the way it weaves its creepiness around you, it's pretty much unremarkable survival horror.


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Author: aschultz
Posted: January 04, 2010 (07:52 AM)
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Judges of doom, eh? It will be as monsieur requests!


My principal said, 'Emo, Emo, Emo.'
I said 'I'm the one in the middle, you lousy drunk!'
-- Emo Phillips


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: January 07, 2010 (10:59 PM)
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I think Eternal Sanity's sanity meter was underused. It was so easy to avoid going insane that it became something I would just show friends to try and convince them the game was cool.

Then I'd go back to being bored. Because it really is a pretty boring game. They stretched four small levels over the course of a ten hour game and then ask that you play it three times to see the real ending.

Which I did and that says something, at least, about the game's aesthetic. But it's an aesthetic forced into flawed level design.

Anyway, this review is an interesting one. I'm not sure I dig its approach as an editorial. It feels a bit like a well written blog post and not a review proper, which I only bring up because it's not a piece that would convince me to play Eternal Darkness. But it covers a lot of interesting points that are worth discussing further.

I especially agree with the first bit about survival horror games (see my Fatal Frame review for another take on this). Survival Horror shouldn't be about poor controls and camera angles. It should be about disturbing environments and level design. My favourite things are when a game that's NOT survival horror ends up being scary. Such as Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, with the occasional jump out monster or that basment with the growling... thing. Or even Dragon Age, when spiders ambushed me inside a group of tunnels and caught me totally unawares.

Best Survival Horror of all time? Half Life 1.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: qxz
Posted: January 08, 2010 (07:07 AM)
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My own brief experience with Eternal Darkness very closely mimics ZippedDimentia's. I was thoroughly bored with the game only two chapters in.

Seeing as how my brother absolutely loves the game, having thoroughly completed it, it's doubtful Eternal Darkness will hold any surprises for me in the even I ever go back to playing it.


"I reject your reality and substitute my own."
-- Adam Savage


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Author: sashanan
Posted: January 10, 2010 (01:51 AM)
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I think Eternal Sanity's sanity meter was underused. It was so easy to avoid going insane that it became something I would just show friends to try and convince them the game was cool.

All the more reason why, on my next playthrough, I impose one little restriction on myself: healing up the sanity bar is forbidden. It's not even to make the game harder but to make it creepier. Why deprive yourself of the one thing that sets this game apart ? Because it certainly isn't the combat. The most horror I got from that was having to do the final boss fight eight times before I got it right, every time being forced to sit through the same unskippable sequences. I wish people would stop copying that bad bad habit from Final Fantasy.


''Yes, yes...but apart from all that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?''


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: January 11, 2010 (06:15 PM)
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Now that the contest has been judged ---

I appreciate what you were going for here, Lewis. In reviewing theory, every game has a number of potential angles that a writer could take, and each angle has a limit. Most of the time, people stay within a safe comfort zone, well away from that limit. However -- the closer someone hedges that limit, the more likely they'll produce something brilliant. It's an imprecise limit and thus difficult to measure (as opposed to a clear line) and crossing too far is when people are likely to lose interest, roll their eyes, or label a review as "pretentious", "overwritten", etc.

Point is, hedging that limit is a skill and skills are sharpened through practice. Experimentation in contests can do nothing but improve your "normal" writing. Regarding the ED review in particular, I was digging it most of the way (including the dream part), until the next bit when you started talking about Red Faction. I thought it was a cool angle, I just think you ended up taking it too far. So there's my feedback.

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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