Launching on PlayStation and Xbox.
Song of Horror, developer Protocol Games’ entertaining slice of decidedly old-school third-person terror, will be making its way to Xbox and PlayStation on 28th May.
Inspired by the likes of Silent Hill, Resident Evil, and Alone in the Dark, Song of Horror tells the vaguely Lovecraftian story of a famed author who vanishes in his home following some strange business with a nefarious music box. What follows is a deliciously atmospheric – and, notably, entirely combat-free – stomp around a diverse range of appropriately spooky locations, with each of the game’s five distinct episodes serving up a new haunt (starting with a shadowy old house) and a new selection of playable characters.
Aside from delivering some wonderfully effective chills across its five episodes – Song of Horror keep the tension taut by encouraging players to proceed cautiously, pressing faces to doors and listening out for the ever-shifting horrors that may lie beyond – it also has a nicely diverse line in puzzling and some interesting ideas of its own.
There’s the aforementioned AI-driven supernatural menace, for instance, which conjures its horrors dynamically depending on player actions, but most notable is the use of permadeath. When characters – who each have their own subtly distinct strengths and weaknesses – die, you hop into the shoes of another poor soul to pick up where the last one left off.
It’s a fascinating system insofar as each brings their own perspective to proceedings – making fresh observations or revealing new story details – to the point where the odd death or two can really add texture to the game. The only downside is that, should all characters meet an untimely end in your care, you’ll need to restart an episode from scratch – which, inevitably, can utterly annihilate narrative momentum.
Despite that odd little wrinkle (and some distinctly B-movie voice work), I had a good old time with Song of Horror when I played its first couple of episodes on PC last year – as did Eurogamer contributor Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, who wrote about his experiences in more detail elsewhere.
If you’re suitably intrigued after all that, Song of Horror will launch with all five of its episodes in a single bundle when it comes to PlayStation and Xbox on 28th May.