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Darkly Dreaming Demographic.

Where weird shit hits bizarre fans.

What Lies Beyond Smoke by Ben Burns

 Not really much I can say about it, kind of just went over my eyes. Its basically a really drawn out creepy pasta and thus I think it’s pretty diluted. But at the same time the story is sort of ethereal and just dropped into our laps without any real ceremony, boom dead sister, boom cigarettes summon a magic cheesy anime slenderman. It’s not so much a story as just a bunch of stuff happening in quick succession.

The chapters are pretty short and they’re fairly easy to read, if a little mechanical in their delivery. It reads almost like a journal because it’s very matter of fact and even when he’s talking about falling down the stairs it sounds like he’s describing tying his shoes. some spelling and grammar errors but that’s pretty irrelevant when it comes to inkitt, 99% of people don’t have the professional editors to pick over their work.

It’s not bad, just kind of middle of the road, I don’t know how old you are but it seems like something a teen would write and if that’s the case it’s a solid effort, it has the makings of something fairly interesting. It kind of reminded me of like death note or silent hill. I don’t know if that was your intention or if you’ve seen that show or played that game but it might be worth checking them out because they could have the elements you’re missing to really nail the atmosphere down.

What Lies Beyond Smoke by Ben Burns

 

GS2 Chapter 9 Dreams Come True Girl

Bonjour, short and sweet is the name of the game, in and out and all that.

Been wage cucked for the last week so no content of meat was possible. I just got the wordpress app on my phone so I could only lie awake in bed writing haikus as I dreamed about … something.

But they seemed to go down quite well.

Dreams Come True Girl

“We have to keep moving Sparkles” Mr fuzzles said panting like a dog.

They were on the cold streets, it was dark and quiet, snowing calmly. The lack of noise made them feel like they were in a snowglobe, the sky an open vacuum of stars staring down with bleak ambivalence. A building cacophony of silence following them, whispers, whispers, moans, bones creaking. Squelching noises, hungry breath and padded feet crunching up the snow.

“They’re coming Mr Fuzzles, we can’t outrun them forever, we need to go somewhere, find a place we can hide.” Sparkles said, fighting for breath as Fuzzles pulled her along.

“Hmm” He said putting his paw to his purple chin.

It was dark, pitch, the streetlights waned, the moon was the only one on their side and it was known to play both sides when it was full. Figures moving slow but resolute under the glow of the orb floating in the sky, the glow from it’s teeth touching only their outlines. So many outlines and the sparkly one stood out the most, all those sequins. Leading his army of beasts, beasts of the new world. All those mascots climbing out of the murk like ghosts from a Saturday morning cartoon coming to claim the town.

Muffled screams, glass breaking, the slow roll of furry death unfurling on the sleepy town.

“I think we should go to the police Mr Fuzzles”. Sparkles whispered.

“Cut it”

The sound of bolt cutters biting on the hanging lock on the back of the building. The shaded figures pushed passed her into the building through the back.

“Put her down on the counter”

“I don’t think we can lift her”

“And what do we do with her head?”

A fat but well manicured hand flipped on the lights, they popped and croaked into life. First the kitchen, stainless steel everywhere, deep fat friars, fly buzzers buzzing in the corners. The smell of cinnamon and cold chiros.

“Why did you pick a donut shop of all places?” Roch said.

Juanita turned her head and looked her up and down and said “I don’t need to answer that.” She marched through to the front of the store. The lights were all on but blinds were tightly shut and there was a steel rolltop door protecting the glass storefront.

The donut shop was standard in a small diner feel, but tighter and more like a dispensary for a bake shop than an actual restaurant. A few stools up against outcroppings from the wall functioning as small tables. The floor space had a handful of small circular tables with tall backless chairs dotted around them. Very modern. Pictures of happy donuts on the walls.

Juanita could have found it by the smell alone but she couldn’t mistake, even in the dark, the giant metal donut sitting on the roof of the shop, beckoning her.

“Fuck this bitch is heavy” Kat said.

“Don’t body shame her, she’s a stunning and brave larger woman” Jaclyn said as she cleared a place for her on the counter. “Can you get her up here?”

Roch and Kat strained as they pressed the lifeless body of Garylynn against the counter and struggled to leverage her up onto the wide counter top. “Why are we even doing this? Her fucking head is off!” Roch screeched as she lifted one side of the giant woman, straining, her neck getting as veiny as a weighlifters stool.

Jaclyn passed them and put her laptop down on a circular table in the middle of the restaurant floor and took a seat in front of it and started taping away.

Roch and Kat got Garylynn’s body hoisted onto the counter, Kat reached down and dropped her misshapen soggy head on her chest. Roch was hot and bothered, her frustration apparent physically and mentally. Panting, she said “Jace are you hearing me, I’m talking to you.”

Jace spoke without looking up continuing to tap away at her laptop “I’m working on it, I just need to tap into the satellite and we can get some help.”

“I thought the phones were down?” Kat said leaning on the giant’s corpse.

“Phones are but we’ve got our satellite to play with.” Jaclyn smiled looking up briefly, the light of her laptop illuminating a set of adult braces.

“But he’s not here, what can he possibly do?” Roch said.

“I wont know until we get him on the line and we can do a full diagnostic”. She turned and looked at the body and squinted. “Err, can you, erm, pass me the head please?”

Roch looked at Kat and shrugged, lifting up the head with a straining noise, it was like a big medicine ball, deceptively heavy and bulky. She dropped it heavy on the small round table, looking at her hand and grimacing wiping a thick goop onto her tank top. “Gross”.

“O-k” Jace said as she pulled a cable out of her laptop and thumbed the misshapen ball of a head, moving the hair looking for something particular. “Aha” She said as she pulled back what must have been a horribly deformed ear. She plugged in the cable and sat back down in front of her laptop and started typing. The screen was blue and blank, a bar climbing that said ‘Establishing connection’ a picture of a floating satellite with a smiley face on it.

“Oh no no no, this isn’t right.” A nasally effiminite voice came out of the speakers, a feed of some dark room. A close up on a man’s head moving and then the camera being fixed in place, a close up on a man’s face. “What have you done to it?” Macintosh Lysander said as he looked down at his feed of the diagnostics report.

“Erm well” Jace said.

“Is she alright” Juanita came around the counter.

“Where were you just now?” Kat said as she pushed past her into the restaurant.

Juanita dusted icing sugar off her face and shirt and said “I was just checking we were secure”. Quickly changing subject she said “You contacted Lysander without me?”

“Well, I needed to send him th-“

“I’m the leader of this fucking team, you got it???” She said as she bounced her fat ass at Jaclyn knocking her off the high stool and taking her place in front of the laptop. “Hey Maccy darling, its me, she just had a little accident.” Her voice was sweet but then switched on a dime “It was that transphobic bigot Sunday. She cut off her head, but its no biggy right you can fix her, can’t you?”

“Nita that is a one of a kind prototype, do you have any idea the strings I had to pull to get that out of dad’s lab without him knowing?” He breathed in making that cloying sucking noise that he does. “If he finds out its missing, he’ll kill all of us. I’m not kidding.” His voice dipped in and out of the effeminate voice. He realised this paused and did that annoying clicking tutting noise reseting his voice to max effeminate swagger. “I can reboot the system from here but you need to reattach the head yourselves. I can walk you through it, but first I need an update on the mission, did you get the samples I asked for?”

“Maccy it doesn’t start til tomorrow, we’re early. We’ll get them, don’t you worry. These animist assholes wont continue their sick oppression any longer than they have to. We can put a stop to the whole fucked up Animarchy.” She said raising a fist doing a cringeworthy rosie the riveter pose.

Cruel wind.

She’s right there looking,

Although she’ll never see me,

I was never there.
I did touch her lips,

But she will never feel it,

I’m too far away.
I know she needs me,

A cruel wind steals her away,

I can only dream.

Soft cheek

I’d do anything,

Just to be the one who waits,

Outside those same gates.
For you to come home,

As the summer slowly fades,

I’ve you to keep warm.
To kiss your soft cheek,

Is all I’ll ever need now,

To carry me on.

Autumn again.

Its getting darker,

I only see you in dreams.

I can still feel you.
You are always here,

So close, but I cant touch you.

You weigh down my heart.
It’s getting colder.

I so wanted to be there.

But I never will.

TOTCB Chapter 12 ‘Running Scared’

Bonjour,

Not much up, still doing the second draft of Diana in the dark, Diana the Daydreamer, Diana After Dark, Diana by day. Still messing with that. I should have it done soon, get TOTCB editing out of the way and oh all the rejection.

I mean people wonder why there are so few female writers historically, it’s because men are more used to rejection. Men have no choice but face rejection everyday otherwise the species couldn’t continue, it’s always men that have to compete for the right to breed and it’s just women that have to accept or decline. They’ve never had to go looking for a mate and face the possibility of rejection, so dealing with rejection is an evolutionary traite for men in particular, I’m not saying I like rejection any more than anyone else, it still sucks but I’ve usually forgotten about it by lunch.

But now the game has changed, because now all the agents and publishers are women so in group preference works in a way that means they actively discriminate against men. That’s why you see so many female authors at the top of the charts these days with books that are frankly fucking garbage, I mean twilight, fifty shades of grey, these books are borderline retarded. I mean I like Harry Potter but it’s sort of spergy too with it’s fanbase.

The films were fun, I like watching them christmas, I had wanted to forge a nice tradition with my ex where we’d watch them every year but she’s now my ex so that went out the window. But it’s hardly the fucking holy grail of literary perfection.

I’m not saying men don’t write utter garbage that is nevertheless popular a la Darren Brown, that’s the guy that does the Davinci code or whatever, I’m just ranting.

I knew TOTCB wouldn’t do well, too many male main characters, not enough ‘strong empowered women’. I tried to do a female centric zombie story with Green Sunday but obviously it could never reach mainstream appeal purely because of the subject matter. So I’m hoping Diana will do a lot better because it’s a more mainstream subject matter and it’s pretty damn female centric, I mean you’re in a woman’s head the whole time, well it’s my head with a woman’s voice haha.
Not saying I intended it to be this way. I didn’t write it to pander to women it was just a happy coincidence really. Originally I wanted to centre it around the male child Cody but I realised after a while that wouldn’t really work and I’d have way more fun putting it from the perspective of the youngest child and actual blood relation to Dexter. And I had way more fun with what I actually did with Cody, no spoilers haha. I mean I could have based it on his male child from the tv show but that would have sucked, it would have been too generic.

I wrote it because I knew I could have fun with the set up, I never ever write anything with anyone in mind, particularly, I’m just thinking what would be the most interesting thing for me to explore. It just so happens that it might be appealing to these nutty feminist new yorker type literary agents haha. But that’s yet to be seen, scheduling it for editing some time later this month. I’ll see what Nat (The editor) says, always like to hear her take on it, even if it is a little ‘too nice’ at times.

Aurevoir

It was late, Johnny was taking a shower. He just let the water run over his head, his eyes closed, trying not to think.

It was just him in the house, Peggy was out at a bar, some kind of girls night with her and friends from work. The kids and his mother were tucked away in bed and Brandon was working the night shift.

He got out the shower and dried his head with a crisp white towel. It was a simple bathroom with a bath shower combo with a round tub. That bathroom was all white tile with a touch of light blue. The sink was littered with kids toothpastes and brushes and shampoos. All those bright colours and cartoon characters in between those standard brands.

He went to his room which was the guest room at the end of the hall. The top floor was carpreted in this white almost shag and it made his footsteps quiet and soft, if a little itchy.

He put on a shirt and a pair of boxer shorts ready for bed. Sitting on the end of the made double bed in his bare room with only the bedside lamp on. The windows in this room had no shades, just venetian blinds which he’d taken all the way up. Now he was just staring into space quite literally. The sky was black and seemed to ooze into his room with the occasional dot of light.

After a while of sitting and staring the thought of sleep seemed a waste. His mind was tearing at the seams trying to make sense of all this. A lot of time seemed to pass of him just staring out into the night sky and not thinking. Just letting the empty blackness enter him and clear his mind of itchy thoughts.

He’d soaked up enough darkness. He turned the bedside lamp off and then noticed the light coming from the crack in his door. He’d left the hall light on. He got up and went to his door and walked into the hallway to turn off the light.

The switch was at the top of the stairs next to Peggy and Brandon’s room. The door of which was tightly shut but as he probed, not locked.

He turned the handle and the door opened with a jerk. Something light and small fluttered in the corner of his eye and as he slowly entered. He could smell her perfume and almost hear her voice. He switched the light on and the room lit up. He stepped inside and noticed there was a small piece of tissue paper under his feet. He picked it up and it was blank so he thought nothing of it.

The room was fairly nice but there was something odd about it. It looked almost like you’d expect a little girl’s room to look, cuddly toys, lots of pink and lace. A dressing table like her mothers but smaller and more modern and less cluttered. The bed was big with too many pillows and looked like it had never been slept in ever with more plush toys on top. This was the room Brandon shared with her but there was almost nothing of him in here. Shy maybe a few sets of the same kinds of shirts in the dresser near the bed.

The room was layed out almost indentically to her mother’s room without the ensuite. The dresser on the left as you came in, the bed across the wall on the right and the dresser against the wall opposite.

The room was neat. It almost made his room seem less like a hotel room seeing that her room was almost as bare. Besides the little touches and the stuffed animals.

He walked around barefoot on the soft carpet. She had long pink and white drapes that touched the floor tightly pulled together. He walked over to them and looked out onto the street. It was empty, lit only by the street lamps and the neighbour flood lamps.

He closed them and went over to sit on her bed, the covers of which were tightly pulled over. He didn’t know why he was there or what he was looking for but he felt different in this room. There was a cold static energy to it that he could feel running up his back. Touching the tips of the tiny hairs on the back of his neck, touching each of his finger tips.

He looked over to the bedside table, the one closest the window, the drawer of which was open about a half an inch. He slowly slid it open, it was almost empty but for a worn looking purple address book.

He opened it, careful that nothing would fall out but something did. Something small and cold and metallic fell into his lap and onto the floor. Upon closer inspection it was something of crude journal. Used to jot down her thoughts in short hand that was barely legible. Things like groceries and things she did. It didn’t seem to go back too far or have too many of her inner most thoughts such as you might expect. But it was stuffed with pieces of folded paper which looked to be a few years older than the book itself.

He unfolded the first one as carefully as possible. Trying to remember the exact way it was folded so he could fold it back again. It was a child’s drawing, but a fairly detailed one drawn by an older child. At first it just looked like something a bored teen would draw. Just mindless gore of a battlefield, stickmen killing eachother. As he looked closer he saw specifics and recurring themes.

In them a child sleeps with tears running down, his dreams in a bubble above his head. In the bubble a man with a bullshead turns the boy on a spit over a raging fire, laughing as he does it.

The next picture was of a man with a beard sitting in a chair. The man being bludgeoned to death with a hammer by someone marked as ‘J’. A woman in red watched in the background. There was lots of blood.

The last picture was a boy running away from a mass of darkness made up of garbled words. The only one of which he could make out was ‘Nobody’ repeated over and over.

After he folded the pictures away he remembered the thing that fell out. It must have hit the carpet and made no sound. He closed the book with the drawings folded up in it and placed it on the bed. He looked down at this feet and couldn’t see anything, it must have bounced under the bed.

“Shit”

Johnny got on his hands and knees on the carpet and started padding the floor. Under the bed where he assumed the thing had bounced. After a few moments of padding nothing he felt some hard and small and metallic and he pulled it out. It was a chain, some kind of necklace. He pulled on the chain and the necklace came into view and he cradled it in his hand to get a better look at it in the light. It was some kind of bird, an owl most likely, atop a five pointed star in a circle.

Mystery of the Fat Cat By David Frenkel Review

Hard boiled second grader

I read this with much ‘perspicacity’, new word learned haha.
I actually really liked this, I don’t know why people are down on it. I wanna say it went over people’s heads without seeming too pretentious. People who aren’t a fan of this kind of genre like I am wont really get it. it’s like a fun kiddy version of a Sam Spade novel.
I see it for what it is, a nice neo-noir almost essay or an opener. It’s a nice little show piece. Fun kiddy noir style diaglogue and characters, i don’t see what’s not to like. I can’t say I’d like to see you do an actual noir story with adults because that would lose it’s uniqueness but maybe you could use this as an opener to a book with a bigger mystery down the line or a series of cases like this for a children’s book.
I think it has a lot of potential.

https://www.inkitt.com/stories/mystery/156850

Diana After Dark Chapter 5 ‘The Magic Hour’

Henlo my dudes,

I’m using ‘dudes’ like california people do now, it’s gender neutral over there.

So what is up? Haven’t been that busy recently if I’m to be honest still kind of coming out of that funk, dealing with the constant and ever present rejection of literary agents, I never know if I should respond, maybe send them bags of burning dogshit, I dunno. But honestly I didn’t expect TOTCB to get much traction, that’s big brain nibba stuff for sure, way above some fucking cat lady literary agent who’s just looking for a new harry potter but with more preferably non-white vag to stock her portfolio with.

But I’m getting the editing wrapped up with Nat and I’m working on a second draft for Diana and trying to decide on a title, taking this one much more seriously. I have high hopes for it, it ticks a lot of catlady boxes and I enjoy writing it and subverting their expectation. It’s like writing a harry potter book where harry drops out of wizard school to join the third reich and do meth. I dunno haha.

Like it fits these normie cat lady parameters but in doing that it lets me slip in a lot of my own counter-subversive hyper-sanity. If that makes sense (I know it doesn’t).

So yeah, just underway with that and playing the surge, which you won’t be getting a review for because I actually like it, it’s like an awesome mix of dead space and dark souls. Gets that risk and reward hierarchy down perfectly, I actually returned prey and got this in exchange from amazon, only paid postage on the return so I’m really happy. Traded one shitty sci-fi borefest for an all out grindcore balls to the wall sci-fi dark souls action rpg.

That’s all, enjoy the stuff haha.

Also my book is on sale as if you care haha. www.hyperurl.co/kcio3t

The Magic Hour

He took me back to his place in French court, about a two minute drive from the Starbucks. It was a nice little bungalow that looked like it should have a picket fence but it didn’t. It was a small red brick building with white trim and a brick chimney. The small patch of lawn in the front was of course neatly manicured. The bushes I suspected were tested with a spirit level. The house was pristine, it looked brand new, could have single handedly raised the property value of the entire neighbourhood which had seen better days. He lived directly opposite the elementary school he went to as a kid.

The area wasn’t too bad, well-kept palms, and lawns. It was quality middle of the road Mediterranean style housing and home to some of the best seafood in the OC. There was a restaurant called Ambrosia he seemed very proud of. It was a beacon in the least shiny part of Orange County. The birds chirping on resilient in their fortitude for this too to be a slice of paradise. Nonetheless they all had wrought iron fences guarding their lawns, except Paul’s house. Just a small white porch with roman style pillars. There was something about it sitting on the corner like that, looking like a model house. Like a house sitting on a nuclear test site about to be blown up, full of wax fruit bowels and mannequins sitting at dinner tables. It didn’t look lived in, it looked like it was a trap house begging for someone to step on that carefully trimmed lawn. Teeth gnawing and clicking and tensing against each other. Praying the mailman would plant a foot off the path and then something could be unleashed, some dark righteous fury bottled up just for this moment. But it never came. The birds just chirped on incessantly.

It was Sunday so the elementary school was quiet and still, which I’m sure was a welcome change. We got out of the car. Parking it in the lot behind the house and he lead the way into his cool still house. “Come on in” He smiled.

It was a show house alright. I can’t remember the last time I was in here, funny enough. I didn’t spend a lot of time with Paul, despite being my boyfriend he and I didn’t really know what that meant. We appeared places together, we were together at school but when the curtains came down the actors went back to their trailers and rested. Nothing more.

That was really as far as our interactions went. A pantomime for an audience of slack jawed watchers probably begging to be us and having no idea about the truth. I guess, we just liked our own space.

He cleared his throat and threw the keys down on a Formica top kitchen counter and said. “Well?”

 

I smiled and took in a lungful of the cool musky air in his house. It didn’t smell bad or like dust, just old leather and new plastic and rubber.

“Well what?” I sighed.

“What was that all about?” He asked, almost stuttering.

I sat at a small functional kitchen table and said “Some weirdo just tried to grab me, it’s nothing”.

“Some guy tries to grab you and that’s nothing?” He almost coughed and screeched. His face became a shade redder and his tone was strangled off by some violent shifting of gears in his throat. “How are you- I mean how is-?” A clever aside from ‘What was it like to see severed human heads’.

I looked up at him with a raised eyebrow and massaged my temples. “I’m fine”.

The house was oddly dark and cold. Even though none of the blinds were drawn it seemed shaded somehow. It was pleasantly cool, like the underside of a rock. Probably just the position of the house relevant to the sun.

I took out my phone completely displacing his concerns, they seemed too banal for me to even want to press. Why should he care if Skeletor tried to grab me with a boney claw and what could he have done to prevent it? And he most certainly couldn’t make me un-see the heads with a back rub or a sonnet and moreover- I wouldn’t want him to.

Did the posturing and planning make him feel better, should I embellish him just for his own ease of mind? Wasn’t I the one who had been through two supposedly traumatic events? Why should I be responsible for setting things right in his world? Humans, why do I bother?

Who was that strange metal pincher man, my mind instantly drawing back to one of those toy grabbers you get at the beach arcades. I guess that made me a hapless stuffed animal. Deer in headlights Diana. Did he really know about me? What was there to know? A naughty search history, a little amateur hack magic, hardly seemed enough to raise the dead. And hardly the most alarming thing to happen to me all week.

I swiped on my phone back to twitter and I pointed the screen at him.

“Do you know this guy?”

He took the phone off of me with a curt urgency, what did my phone do to him?

He turned the screen back to me and pointed at it and said “Is this the guy who grabbed you?”

“He lives around here?” I asked.

“Yeah I know this scumbag, deals dope out of a house in Central City, has these wild parties” He trailed off.

“How do you know him?” I asked with a raised eyebrow.

“We went to the same elementary school, he dropped out”

“He dropped out of elementary school, see a future in orange sherbert or something?”

“Or something” He sighed. “He’s a pretty bad dude, heard a lot of – rumours about him, I guess.” He shook his head and scrunched up his eyes as he said it, like he really wasn’t sure.

Central city for the uniformed was the unofficial gang hub of Orange County. A veritable hive of scum and villainy. Surely every nice little berg has one. You could get almost anything down there, drugs, unlicensed guns, prostitutes maybe even human lives and knock-off levis. The kind of place someone goes when they haven’t discovered you can get all that stuff on the internet without having to leave your mom’s basement.

“So?” I asked in my best pixie dream girl voice.

He held up the phone and then caught himself “You wanna go there?” He asked agasp, ruffling that long handsome brow of his.

I nodded and started to kick my feet like a kid on a swing set. Trying to hide a rising tide of dark angel trumpets calling me. A shrill laughter in the dark depths, a shock doing a Mexican wave across the invisible microscopic fine hairs I failed to pluck. I wax too, I said feminism didn’t interest me. Hairy pits in California heat? No thanks.

“Tonight?” He said, his voice almost shaking, with something I couldn’t quite fathom. Was he afraid, or was it something else? The way he said it, it was almost like a challenge.

“Is he having one of the parties tonight, it’s a Sunday” As soon as I said it, I felt decidedly dumb once again. Getting to be a bad habit today.

He made a hissing sound in his mouth. “Every night, these people don’t have jobs to go to, or school.” It was a school night.

Of course I knew that. I just felt awash with some new profound feeling of the unknown and the fact we had school in the morning made it seem twice as delicious to try tonight. But why would I go there? Just to see him for myself, and then what? ‘Hey Antoine, have you been leaving a trail of body parts for me to follow?’ Did I even think it was him, no, well I didn’t want it to be him, the twitter activity alone shattered a lot of the mystique around him. If he was the one I’d feel decidedly deflated. And what would he do when he saw me? Would it be ‘off with her head’ or ‘Hi friend, you got the message, let’s play’?

Either way if I could get Paul to go along it would be to my advantage, if only to be a distraction in case I needed to run far and fast away. Was I really that callous? Maybe, maybe not.

“Ok?” I said, rising to this illusory challenge.

He shook his head and let out a breathy laugh. “Sure.”

Prey… they don’t make a sequel

Yup, I went there, shitty kind of pun where I mix up ‘prey’ and ‘pray’, that’s how much this game disappointed me.

Honestly, I really, really wanted to like this, I looked at it and I liked what I saw, I heard a lot of hate for it but blew it off because I mean people love shitty games and decent games sometimes come out at the wrong time and I thought a lot of the hate was coming from people who liked the original Prey game and those just sick of games like this after we reached peak space survival horror of alien isolation. Although admittedly I have a love hate relationship with arcane studios, I love the gameplay of Dishonored but it’s everything else that’s the problem and those problems as you will see are ten times that in this game.

So I really went into this expecting to be surprised and at the start I really was, the intro is great, I love a good intro to a game, if a game can blow you away within the first ten minute you know you’re onto a winner. Without spoilers the intro is this really nice mind fuck and I was really feeling this game after that, a great set up and then you get into the game and there isn’t a lot of hand holding you’re just expected to go out and explore which is awesome, it’s laden with atmosphere and you’re jumping at every sound and then coffee cups start attacking you.

Yeah, the best part of this game is probably the mimics, they’re these little aliens that can transform into anything so when you encounter one you end up hitting everything that has a double next to it with a wrench just to make sure.

I hear a lot of people whining about the difficulty curve of this game and to those people I say ‘git gud’. The game is quite punishing at the start because it’s trying to herd you in a certain direction so you can measure your strength from the start to later on in the game which is how games should work, that’s whats satisfying about a game like this, you start off shit but by the end you can deal with almost any problem you face. And I really liked that and I found myself really dreading he next enemy encounter merely because every fight felt like this intense ordeal… which is how a survival horror game should feel, that’s where the intensity comes from.

Another thing I saw people hating on was the gluegun, which is exactly what it sounds like it’s this projectile glue gun which acts as like a freezeray and covers enemies in glue so you can better shoot them or in my case hit them with a wrench and even better you can create vertical paths to get to objectives by climbing the glue when it drys. Which being a big portal fan I loved because you have a weapon that not only incapacitates enemies but also allows you to better traverse the 3d world.

2976125-paragon.0

Now onto the bad stuff, why I didn’t ultimately finish this game, I literally put my controller down and uninstalled it and sent it back to amazon. It’s not because of the difficulty believe me, it’s the overall design flaws inherent in the game and the glaring fact that this game has no character.

What do I mean by ‘character’?

Ok so this game is basically bioshock in space, the game plays pretty much exactly the same, you have guns and collect implants to get crazy powers and fight freak but is that all bioshock is? On the surface yes. But beneath the surface you have this very atmospheric game where every room, every section is a character in itself, rapture is a character but then on top of that you have this massively imposing figure like Andrew Ryan and Steinman and Sander Cohen and Atlas. And even in the audiologs you have these interesting characters that you want to know more about, you want to learn more about rapture and what happened to the people there and because of that you want to progress.

Moreover at every twist and turn you’re discovering new powers and new weapons so you have this tailored experience of risk and reward leading you through the game and that’s how a game sucks you in with this delicate balance of risk and challenge with rewards put at intervals that keep you going to find more.

Prey on the other hand is nothing like that, it’s a lot more like deus ex, a lot more free form, less linear and as you unlock more abilities more paths become available to you but Deus has characters that are interesting and a story that is engaging and a living breathing world that is immersive Prey has none of that.

Talos is just this dead piece of junk floating in the sky and you could say rapture is this dead city at the bottom of the sea but it just isn’t, every room is alive with its history, every piece of the game tells a story. Every enemy is unique and weird and surprising.

Now for the many technical gripes I have and why I ultimately stopped playing the game. Weapons, there aren’t enough of them, the only weapons in the game are a shotgun and a pistol and the upgrade system is just a numbers cranking mechanic, you just fill boxes to make the gun not shit. Yeah you get a lazer and a tazer and a gluegun but there still isn’t enough weapons for this game to call itself a shooter. The grenades are cool but it just seems lazy to have so few weapons in a game like this. None of the weapons are particularly impressive honestly, even the lazer gun is just ‘hold down to mulch target’.

Another problem I have with it is the enemies are boring, there isn’t really any variety to them, it’s just the mimics which are little blobs of tentacally black goo and then the phantoms which are human size blobs of black goo and then there are big floating blobs of black goo and then an even bigger glob of black goo. Seeing a pattern here? Sure some of them shoot electricity for some reason and some shoot fire for some reason and some control technology for some reason but they’re boring enemies, to look at and to fight. They’re not scary at all so this game can’t be classed as a survival horror, not enough guns so it can’t be classed as a shooter and there isn’t enough customization to be called an rpg so what is it?

This game has an identity crisis but worst of all it’s boring.

I don’t know how else to say it, there isn’t one interesting character in the bunch. I get that it’s going for the realism vibe like dead space or alien isolation so you can’t have wacky bioshock characters but Dead space has this terrifying oppressive atmosphere and scary grotesque monsters and alien isolation has tension in spades. This game has none of that. So its like in this horrible sweet spot where it can’t be a serious horror game but it also can’t laugh at itself.

There are no villains in the game, I know this might seem realistic because no one is truly evil but you need a villain, you need some kind of interesting antagonist and the closest you get is the main characters brother who is basically a fat filthy frank lookalike with the most boring voice I have ever heard. I seriously want to fall asleep whenever I hear him talk and every other character is either a robot or acts just like them.

So I found myself sort of rushing through the game when I realised how empty it was and how little I cared about any of the characters and that everything was explored already. Who can be bothered to read all these emails when you don’t care about the characters or what happened to the ship? It’s tedious and pointless, Whereas in bioshock I read every scrap and listened to every audiolog trying to find out any titbit of what befell rapture. In Prey I found myself skipping over lots of audiologs and even when I listened to them I soon forgot what they said and couldn’t even see how it related to any of the side quests which are all just boring fetch quests really.

There basically is no story, admittedly the gameplay is fun but repetitive and I realise I’m waffling now. The reason I stopped playing is because all the enemies respawn, which is fine for a game like Dark Souls where you have an unlimited amount of sword swings but the supplies you find in drawers or wherever don’t respawn so you have limited resources but your enemy does not. And then by the end of the game these robots are constantly respawned as they’re created in a 3d printer so you kill one and another is instantly created to replace it and they kill you really quickly and are really annoying to kill.

So yeah, ‘git gud’ right, I could have just run past them and the newly spawned aliens and let them fight it out to accomplish the mission and finish the game but thinking about it I was just thought to myself, ‘why?’

Why do I even want to complete this game? It just seemed like more hassle than it was worth, it’s risk and reward scale was tossed out the window. I’d already just discarded all the submissions left undone as pointless busy work at this point. Because oh I’m so fucking sorry, the ship is filling with aliens that I don’t have enough ammo to kill and now killer robots that constantly respawn and you want me to find a recording of some dead pianists brain for whatever fucking reason, piss off.

Because at this point I realise I’m doing these submissions just to do them, they’re utterly pointless and then I realised that this game stopped being fun like an hour ago when I thought it was ending and I lost track of even what the objective was and I was just following a way point. I just want it to end and then it ratcheted up a level of difficulty that made the game just too tedious to bother with. I mean yeah I could have completed this game but for what point? I don’t care about his brother or any of the characters or even the ending.

So I just stopped playing. I don’t know how to describe it but arcane studios are just bad, and they should feel bad. They can make games that are technically good, good looking and well made but they entirely miss out the human element. And it’s the exact problem I have with dishonored. It’s a fun game but the characters and story and world building has the depth of a puddle. They try to copy games like thief and deadspace and bioshock but its like they don’t understand what made those games good wasn’t just the technical aspects. Deadspace isnt just good ‘cos aliens in space rarrr’, bioshock isn’t just ‘cos spoopy powers pew pew’. It’s like trying to explain the feeling of looking at a picasso to a robot, it can see all the lines and shapes but it can’t process them in a way that gives it a raw feel for what it is. Arcane is literally a design team of blind men all trying to describe an elephant and failing miserably.

Prey ultimately is a soul less tedious bioshock clone which deserves to sink to the bottom of a bargain bin and stay there and arcane needs to hire better writers or just stop making games all together because they just don’t get them.

Long story short, don’t waste your time or your money on this game, you’ll just feel empty and dirty at the end of it. Just play bioshock or deadspace again, you’ll feel infinitely better.

Needlessly overlong rant over haha.

See you…

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