“All the next-gen features are in the PS2 version," promises Lionel Fumery, lead designer for the PlayStation 2 edition of Alone in the Dark: Near Death Investigation. That's the full title of the upcoming game previously known only as Alone in the Dark. But given how staggeringly next-gen-ified this survival-horr... sorry, survival-action sequel is, how in the fiery hell will it work on a seven-year-old machine?
Pretty well, actually. The PS2 version will take the exact same structure as the ones on PS3 and Xbox 360: A series of episode-like levels set in and around New York's Central Park, following a paranormal disaster that turns the area into a survivalist's wet dream. And, while there'll be slightly less of the park to explore, your enemies possess a slightly less razor-sharp intelligence and the physics effects will have slightly less “oomph.” Fumery isn't telling fibs; all the features that have wowed our brains will remain amazingly intact.
For instance, neat bits like shaking the analog sticks to clear your vision - and, undoubtedly, many similarly immersive moments - are still present and correct. The game's impressive fire effects, where blazes spread realistically, will also feature. We'll even be able to interact with the environment to extreme levels, like leaping into a car and hotwiring it before flicking on the radio, or dipping a chair into a campfire and then using it as a makeshift torch.
And from the first images in this month's issue of UK mag Official PlayStation 2 Magazine, you can see that Alone in the Dark doesn't sacrifice the visuals, either. The PS2 edition is being developed by the same guys who brought us the respectably entertaining Obscure for Sony's old-gen console - and AITD looks just as nicely polished and atmospheric. Fumery concedes that it was "a great challenge" to bring the game to the PS2, but we're confident that it's a challenge the developer is more than equal to.
Finally, but no less impressively, Alone in the Dark’s PS2 outing will banish load-times. You'll be able to play "a whole episode with no loading time," Fumery assured OPS2 magazine during their interview. With dedicated support like this, who needs a next-gen console?
June 26, 2007