Still Wakes the Deep sees The Chinese Room return to in-your-face horror

Aside from arguably popularising the ‘walking sim’ sub-genre with Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, The Chinese Room was also behind Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. In it, the horrors you faced were much more obvious, often requiring you to run and hide while solving puzzles when you could. And, that’s the formula the team’s revisiting with the upcoming Still Wakes the Deep.

Set in 1975, Still Wakes the Deep takes place on an oil rig named Beira D, where a horrendous storm destroys all means of communication. Now, being stuck in the North Sea without a way to contact the mainland during a torrential downpour is scary enough, but throw in a mysterious creature coming aboard, and everything becomes downright terrifying.

You play as Caz McLeary, an electrician from Glasgow, desperately searching for a way off the rig. As is commonplace with horror in Amensia’s ilk, you won’t have any weapons to stave off the threats you face. Instead, anytime the monster appears, you’ll need to sneak around or distract it. And for when that doesn’t work, run, climb, or even swim to safety. 

Still Wakes the Deep’s oil rig shifts as you progress

It’s not just the terrifying monster you must contend with, though. The aforementioned storm will also be a constant threat throughout, even going as far as altering the game world. As the weather batters the Beira D, you can expect parts of it to crumble into the ocean depths, which, if done well, could add to a growing sense of helplessness that any good horror game boasts. The monster might be deadly, but the power of nature should never be underestimated.

Despite that seemingly paranormal setup, The Chinese Room understands that creating a sense of place is crucial, working to ensure the offshore rig feels authentic. The Baker household is so brilliant in Resident Evil 7 because it’s so believable (at least at the start). It’s a lot easier for most to suspend disbelief if the location feels like one you could visit.

A breezy six-hour runtime

According to The Chinese Room, Still Wakes the Deep clocks in at six hours. For me, that’s ideal for a horror game; any longer, and you run the risk of the scares losing their effect. Of course, this still depends on how masterfully the developers unravel the mystery. Too much too soon and the monster might become irritating long before the credits roll.

Obviously, if the entire game was six hours of you being hunted by a creature, that would undoubtedly grow old fast. That’s unlikely to be what we get here. Aside from ducking and diving from the creature’s sight, you can expect plenty of puzzles to solve throughout Still Wakes the Deep.

Still Wakes the Deep arrives on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox on June 16th. And, it’ll be on Game Pass at launch. So, if you’re signed up, you can try it out as part of your subscription.

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