Silver Chains Review

It’s almost Halloween and it’s this time of year in which horror games take centre stage with an increased interest in the many darker experiences available in gaming. Finding a horror game that can really run with what the genre does best isn’t easy though, but 2021 has already seen the arrival of the rather exceptional Resident Evil Village and Tormented Souls, with both providing fantastic horror adventures, so any game that releasing for the remainder of the year already has a high bar for expectations if the plan is to remain relevant. The game taking on that challenge today is Silver Chains, from developer Cracked Heads, but is it another quality entry into the horror hall of fame?

The game starts with our protagonist Peter crashing his car into a tree, before quickly realising he is surrounded by nothing but a creepy and haunting British manor. With no one in sight and only a light visible within the manor, and a shadowy silhouette in the window, it seems there is only one place your desperate search for help is destined to take you. Fast forward a little and it turns out you’ve somehow fallen unconscious and as you come around, it’s apparent you are now inside of that same creepy manor, with no one to be seen: something isn’t right.

At this point, most of us would be moving heaven and earth to get the hell out of there, but that’s not the premise here, and after some further investigation it appears that this creepy manor and the crash you recently endured outside the doors of it may all have more of a link than just a simple coincidence.

The game is played from a first-person perspective and it’s obvious to see that the well-known and much-loved P.T. is an inspiration here, to say the least. One of the first things that really stood out for me was the visuals and despite the low-budget nature of Silver Chains, the visual experience is, for the most part, incredible. Textures, lighting, shadows, detail; it’s all there in full glory and looking absolutely brilliant throughout. If you didn’t know better, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were playing through a triple-A title with the visuals on offer.

Sadly, the gameplay doesn’t hold quite that same triple-A feel, it doesn’t bring bad gameplay by any means but it’s not the best either. Throughout the game, players are left to search through the seemingly abandoned and derelict building with most of your exploration holding the purpose of finding a particular item from somewhere within the mansion to either trigger the next cut scene, or unlock a particular door, whilst a monocle is also used for puzzles, allowing you to see supernatural messages and other items of importance. Most of these situations form the basis of the puzzles within Silver Chains and whilst although there isn’t really much you’ll find in the way of a true challenge, the puzzles included are effective in their purpose.

This isn’t a simple walking simulator like some of the other horrors that have filled the genre in recent years either and throughout the game there is a particularly creepy woman known only as ‘Mum’ that likes to make an appearance from time to time, chasing you throughout the mansion from room to room. In these moments you have no option to attack, so instead, you must run and hide, with the music that livens up the situation usually indicating when it’s safe to re-emerge courtesy as it will usually quieten down or stop completely.

Sadly, the scares rely quite heavily on typical and overused tropes with jump scares and loud noises used for the majority of fear-mongering here, and whilst that is probably due to the much slimmer budget than some of the best horror titles of the year, it would still have been nice to see something that isn’t quite so predictable causing a few jumps here and there.

As mentioned earlier, there is a purpose to why you’re here, and what’s going on, but for me, it was more a case of needing to get to the end for review purposes rather than any strong interest or engagement caused by clever storytelling as whilst I was intrigued to see if it was right in my earlier assumptions as to where the story was going, sadly my assumptions were correct with the story proving way too predictable.

There was some voice-acting on offer on brief occasions that isn’t too bad, but it doesn’t quite sell the fearful horror tale you’d quite hope to see when you jump into the latest genre experience.

The general runtime isn’t all that long with Silver Chains done and dusted within 2-3 hours, with a lot of that time spent backtracking to places you’ve already been, but whilst it isn’t the masterpiece we’d like to see rejuvenate the genre at this time of year, it’s not a bad way to spend an evening either. You’re not likely to remember it as one of the year’s best, or maybe even at all come the next 12 months when bigger titles have arrived, but it’s definitely not in the shovelware category either and is if you’re looking for a Halloween jump or two, it’s worth a go.

Conclusion

Overall, Silver Chains is at best a capable horror that gives a few hours of chills, and at worst it’s a game that relies on overused tropes to create its scares whilst looking damn good doing so. Let’s not forget though, this is an indie title, and for a small budget adventure, we’ve certainly seen and played much worse. Whilst it might not be the best horror game you’ll play this year, there is no reason not to add this to your list if you’re a fan of the genre.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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Good
  • Visuals are fantastic and environments detailed
  • A few good jumps here and there
  • Doesn't drag on
Bad
  • Over used horror tropes are relied upon too much
  • Story is predictable early on
  • Nothing original to see here
7.5
Good
Gameplay - 7.2
Graphics - 9
Audio - 7
Longevity - 6.7
Written by
After many years of dabbling and failing in Dark Souls and many other equally brutal gaming adventures, I can now be found in a state of relaxation, merely hunting for a little extra gamerscore or frightening myself with the latest Resident Evil - Sometimes I write about it too!

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