Real life issues always plague us on a daily basis whether it be dealing with an illness, suffering from a severe disease or in Perception’s case, blindness. Blindness is pretty common around the world and can affect just about anybody, and so when playing Perception, there’s certainly more emotional content involved which creates a powerful narrative going forward. The team behind Perception is The Deep End Games, a husband and wife duo who had worked on the hit titles Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite. As you all know those games had an incredibly powerful narrative that’s still celebrated to this day, and in Perception you still get that strong sense of impact once you manage to get through it all. If you enjoy a solid narrative paired with unique gameplay mechanics, then Perception should be a game to try out.
What to Expect
Perception is a uniquely designed game where you take control of a blind female protagonist named Cassandra who’s on a mission to solve an ancient mystery, and must use her other senses outside of sight in order to uncover clues and to survive any threats that may impede on her journey. It’s an adventure game that focuses on atmospheric cues such as sound, and by using your cane to tap the floor you’ll be able to determine where certain items are around you. It also incorporates some horror to surprise you at times but not too much to the point where you’re sweating bullets after the whole ordeal. The horror elements are meant to throw you off course which is a nice little added bonus, because since the main protagonist can’t see it teaches you to rely on other methods to successfully clear objectives. There aren’t any guns or dashing through stages fearlessly, just a lot of walking and discovering things through using your sixth sense. It’s a game that’s refreshing in a way because it’s not your conventional horror style, but rather something invigorating and special.
Perception’s gameplay revolves around being absorbed in the narrative and getting to know more about the main protagonist’s past. One of your early objectives is to find a rope which had some direct connection to you and some event that happened prior. So as you walk around this dark house you’ll be tapping your cane to “see” where things are located (known as echolocation by the way), and as you uncover items more of the backstory is then further explained. One thing that really made playing this game more interesting was that it was all inspired by true events and so, you’re actually playing through the life of someone who actually experienced such situations in real life. That emotional connection you build throughout the game is something that not many games these days can provide, since a lot of the time you’re just racing through a stage either shooting people or not really paying much attention to the details. In a way, a lot of us are blind to the details in the games we play and Perception sort of reminds us that we need to open our senses to really get the true experience.
The colors within the game are all monochromatic which adds more of a dark creepy feel to everything, but it’s supposed to be that way since you’re blind. There were moments where we got too caught up with the environment around us and had a few jump scares because we weren’t prepared, but that was the best part. You start to feel more absorbed in the game because you essentially have become the protagonist’s “eyes” and so, while you traverse around each part of the house looking for clues it’s almost as if you’ve become the character. Every emotion she feels you feel, and every memory she recollects you become more emotionally invested in it all. The atmospheric gameplay is perhaps one of the best experiences we’ve had playing a video game because it reels you in as each step unveils something new, while in the back of your mind you know something terrifying might just jump from out of the closet, or drop from the ceiling. It reminded us of our childhood days when we’d go to the haunted house with our friends, and because everything was pitch black as you walked through you became more tense as you feared what would pop out. Perception is sort of like that where everything is unexpected yet at the same time, provides this rewarding sense of accomplishment when you’re able to successfully collect the clues you need to escape.
Is Perception a world class title? To be honest no, because while it does provide players with a uniquely enthralling experience there isn’t much else after the ordeal is completed. It’s certainly a good game but not an absolutely stunning one. Its story is the major selling point and that’s where we felt the most intrigued by because the more we dived deeper into it all, we wanted to know more about Cassandra. Perception isn’t a long game and so once you run through it there’s not much else to consider, and so that removes any sort of replay value. Perception felt more like a demo in the sense that, due to its very short duration (roughly 4-6 hours) it was merely trying to paint an image of a game that could take advantage of a physical disability and turn it into a positive mystery solving tool. We loved that because not many games these days take that risk to shed light on such issues as blindness, and also create a solid narrative behind it to evoke that emotion from you. It’s that added element of realism that makes Perception feel a little more immersive but the short timespan totally steals all of that away since it ends so quick and the ending itself felt a bit rushed.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
In the end Perception isn’t a game that’s going to appeal to everyone, but it’s certainly a fresh new take on horror while combining unique atmospheric elements to draw you into the game’s refreshing narrative. If the game were a bit longer perhaps the lasting appeal would’ve resonated more, but because it all ended in the blink of an eye we really didn’t get to hold onto those powerful emotional sentiments for too long. Had the game provided more chapters and perhaps more characters to fully flesh out Cassandra’s role, then surely this game would go from good to fantastic. The voice acting is very good because it helped to really humanize everything and didn’t make the game just feel like a game. The inspired by true events appeal made it more interesting because for anyone who can relate to Cassandra’s story, it only makes that element of surprise that much more satisfying. However what really hindered the game was its lack of horror despite the game being sold as horror. Mind you, we did mention that there were jump scares which were fine, but there weren’t that many actual threats to really hit you psychologically. A horror game is meant to throw you curve balls at every opportunity whether it be a crazy enemy, or being chased by someone or something which occurred but very seldom. Perception seemed to lack in that area which made it feel more like a simulation than an actual horror experience, and we didn’t really feel nervous with the lights turned off at all. We’d still recommend this game of course, but perhaps only when it goes on sale or something.
Unique visuals and atmosphere.
Great narrative paired with solid voice acting.
Very short in terms of gameplay.
Lacking in horror elements.
Ending felt a little rushed.
Honey's Final Verdict:
We all hope you found our review of Perception to give you a better ‘perception’ of how the game feels and plays from our end. For those who want to experience something unique then this game is certainly worth it since it does provide some cool moments, which you can’t find in any other game. We only wish it were longer and threw in more scares to really make the story feel more fleshed out, but hopefully the team at The Deep End Games will come up with a sequel that may solve this, who knows. In the meantime be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest articles we release, and catch us on Twitch to know when we go live with more exciting games!
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!