Out today on PS4 and Switch, Silver Chains is a first-person horror that tests your cojones when it comes to ambience and the supernatural. It’s a puzzle game with an underlying story that connects the protagonist with a chance encounter.
Horror games aren’t my thing, and the first to admit that I tend to tuck my sack away until the scares decline. Films aren’t an issue – it’s that first-person viewpoint that reduces your peripheral vision, leaving you exposed to whatever lurks in the darkness that’s the problem.
Yes, there are several jump scares, but not necessarily cheap ones. It’s the vibe that Silver Chains exudes that was the lure for me, and also the underlying narrative of why you’re there in the first place.
Silver Chains PS4 Review
In the recent news piece, it was said that you, Peter, have a car accident and lose consciousness. When you slowly gather your bearings, you appear to be trapped in an abandoned manor and have to figure out the mysteries inside before you can escape.
That’s not because Peter has an inquisitive nature or just bloody nosey, it’s his burden. Awakening in a derelict guest room you’d only offer to someone you hate, he realises that interior design is the least of his worries.
Alarm bells raise when one of the adjacent rooms, where you wake, has a series of doll parts hanging from the ceiling. In the same room, you locate a torch essential for your orienteering adventure/escape plan and give you the heebie-jeebies.
There’s the first hint that Silver Chains will tease you with lighting techniques when you have to configure the brightness before playing the game. And, coming from a horror gaming wuss, don’t brighten the screen so you can see everything. Suck it up.
They’re Creepy And They’re Kooky
Armed with a torch and not much else, Peter searches for clues on how to get out as most of the doors are locked and no way to escape. Through a series of letters, he seeks some explanations.
After a chance encounter with a ghost, he’s handed a mission to free them from their torment, and perhaps it’s no coincidence that his accident happens so near the property.
It’s no spoiler that spooky things are going on. In the news piece, the manor is confirmed as a Victorian one. What wasn’t clear is that Silver Chains is set in the era too, making it incredibly eerie – you can’t whip out your mobile and ask for help.
Credit to developers Cracked Heads and publishers Headup Games; I was tip-toeing about with the sound down a lot of the time. My imagination was sometimes more eventful than the gameplay, triggered by the manor’s excellent design, where you will reside for the duration.
Mysterious And Spooky
Unfortunately, those lack of events make Silver Chains a bit of a walking simulator in places, lacking the puzzles and interactivity of similar titles such as Lust From Beyond or The Suicide of Rachel Foster. While the items didn’t do anything in those games, you could still pick them up and inspect.
The puzzle elements were good, but there weren’t that many. One of the main tasks other than escaping is retrieving doll parts. Yes, that sounds like a fetch quest, and while it is, finding these parts is the trick: using a monocle.
With the monocle, a filter drops over the screen, and you can see things the naked eye would miss; like a supernatural Predator scoping out the scum and secrets excreted across these dirty walls.
And again, that’s another charm for this Silver Chains PS4 review. Broken floorboards blocked up rooms… it has all the usual ingredients we expect from these sort of games and looks the part, but we need some urgency. How about being chased by some inexplicable demonic creature, intent on your demise? Well, it can be explained, but let’s not give away the surprises.
They’re Altogether Ooky
You can counter this thing with two tricks: hide and… RUN! The actual character didn’t bother me; it was her sudden appearance. Writing appears on the wall warning you that ‘she’s coming’ or the DualSense (PS4 game though) vibrating like your mum repeatedly texting you to remind you of her existence.
This contributed to the instability of it all in terms of storytelling and Silver Chains made me uneasy, for the right reasons. I’m not the type that likes to be scared and felt a bit stupid attempting to cover this as Blair Witch made me uncomfortable too. But that’s the point, right?
While the atmosphere and presentation are excellent, the lack of interactivity in places was a letdown and looking back; the game was pretty short. If it weren’t for me sneaking everywhere, it could have been finished in one go.
Loading times can be a bit lengthy too, but there aren’t many. Unless you repeatedly die as I did in the end sequence – that was a pig! It was well worth it, and despite not being a fan of the genre, Silver Chains was an enjoyable, if tense, experience. Gutted that there weren’t any trophies though!
Silver Chains Review Summary
Making Children of the Damned look a little like a product from the Mouse House, Silver Chains has a lot going for it in terms of atmosphere and the overall aesthetic. There will be moments of backtracking and what-not, but still, a satisfying venture.