It seems like every day a new survival styled horror game emerges on the market, ever since YouTuber PewDiePie screamed in terror and brought attention to the genre. It seems like a great many PC and Console gamers are looking every day, week, and quarter for a new game to scare them. I am definitely a horror fan with movies, and especially games. So, when a co-worker of mine suggested that I check out Pineview Drive (Pineview), I had to. Unfortunately, this game is not much to brag about, yet, it can still be appreciated for what it could have and should have been. This horror game takes place when the main character (without a name), heads out to Pineview Drive to find out what happened to some girl that he has a muddled connection to. The game actually doesn’t make it too clear why the main character is back. All the information you have at the beginning of the game is that you need to find out, “What happened” whatever that means, involving a girl that you see briefly in the intro of the game during a flash back. So far, it’s a fair start to what could have been a great story, but I hate to say that the vague information and loose story doesn’t improve. Without further ado, let us dive into all the nastiness and get that out of the way, then I’ll talk about what stood out in a positive light.
Pineview Drive is played as most horror games today are, first person with some sort of light source that you need to maintain, a health system, and items to pick up that will help you accomplish tasks while you try to experience a story and a good scare or two. There are quite a few mechanics that Pineview Drive could have improved. Remember all the heart pounding chases and hiding in Amnesia and Outlast? Well, this is not present in Pineview as walking is incredibly slow and running can only be described as a quicker slow-walk. There is also no crouching or jumping in the controls. These can all be passed off because you won’t be running from things, or hiding, as all scares are jumps, and a lot of them entrap you with no way out. Pineview also feels like nothing more than a guessing game at times, and a game of “Find-the-right-key-when-nothing-is-labeled”. Occasionally, these limitations made playing the game seem like work and as if I was swimming through a thick syrup. The syrup was not tasty.
At times, Pineview can be bothersome for some other reasons as well. As if the previously mentioned limitations were not bad enough, there is a significant number of game design flaws that only add to the frustration. Design flaws start with a health system that makes no sense at all. It’s never explained and is nothing more than a green health bar that seems to drop when you get scared…I think? Beyond that, all keys and matches and batteries are nothing more than tallies in the corner of the screen. Again, the keys are not labeled, just like the doors, and valuable time is wasted simply trying door after door. To top it all off, this game is terribly optimized. I played this game on my test bench gaming rig, (i5 4670k, 16GB RAM, and a GTX 750ti OC edition) and played with all settings cranked up to max. The result was about 30 to 45 fps at 1080p. Frame rate was all over the place! Drops were up and down and up and down. That, in addition to the very narrow FOV, I got light headed and woozy being someone who is used to 60 fps to 120 fps solid, this game was all over the place. Was the GTX 750ti not enough for the game? Were my settings not optimal? I turned the settings down to receive worse results. This got me curious, so I threw this game on a machine with an overclocked GTX 770…still, the game ran like utter crap. I haven’t seen a PC game this poorly optimized since Risen 2: Dark Waters. Well, now if you’ve read this far you’re probably thinking, “Gee, that’s a lot of bad news, what in the world was good?”
Pineview excels with its use of atmosphere. Until you discover how the game is going to play, a lot of the limitations actually work to the benefit of creating a very intense atmosphere. Especially lacking the ability to run and hide. The game has plenty of creepy statues, gargoyles, and other things that you may think are moving or watching you. The audio is pretty spot on, the noise of the hours going by on the grandfather clock, the sounds of tightening ropes and whispers; it’ll give you chills. Ignoring all the bad, this game looks like a great Alpha model, and my guess is that whoever put the money behind the game, also rushed production. Rushed production from the man with the money is often the reason a potentially great game to fall short, or in this game, flat on its face.
To wrap this all up, Pineview Drive is a game that may appeal to those just getting into the horror genre of gaming. However, if you are a serious PC gamer, and/or also a seasoned horror genre player, I can almost promise that this game will disappoint on many levels. I wish this game saw some more time on its test bench before it got to mine, and I expect that these game devs are probably furious if my guess about rushed production is true. In conclusion, great Alpha, good concept, but in the end it lacks all the follow through that it deserved.
I give Pineview Drive 2 “Obnoxiously Unlabeled Keys” out of 5
By Austin Gragg
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