By some miracle Playdead have been allowed to release their latest vunerable-child-with-strangely-large-head game Inside on the PS4. Just buy it. Pretty please.
Okay, let’s be realistic: you have a PS4. There’s no doubt in that. And, because you have a PS4 and presumably not an XBOX One (because it’s terrible), you are likely yet to play one of the best games of the year so far: Inside.
From Playdead, the creators of Limbo, this 2.5D sidescroller has you play as a young boy on the run from those who wish him dead. The reason for this, similar to virtually any other element of this game, is up for interpretation, and throughout the runtime you will encounter many a foe, some of which will remain unmentioned so those of you who are yet to play this remain completely on edge (yes, I am that evil). It released to worldwide critical acclaim, with many reviews labelling it as intelligent and challenging, complete with an absorbing world and engrossing atmosphere. After reading these reviews, I could not agree more, and I may even go as far as saying this is my favourite game of 2016 so far, and possibly one of the best puzzle games I have ever played, aside from Portal. This is a game I would recommend everyone played, but alas, this game unfortunately only released on XBOX One and PC, so if you’re a member of the Sony Club and you don’t have a decent-enough PC, then you can’t play this possible masterpiece.
BUT FEAR NOT, it’s coming to PS4 on August 23! (insert multiple party-popper emojis, poop emoji optional) – and here’s a few reasons why you should give this a go as soon as possible.
1. The World
One of the greatest achievements of this game is its ability to create a believable, plausible world in very little time. Whilst games like The Witcher and Mass Effect may take a good while to allow you to explore and ease into the environment at your own pace, Inside throws you straight into danger and encourages the player to figure out what the hell is going on by themselves, with very minimal dialogue. Within the first hour, you will encountered rabid dogs, huge parasitic worms and helmets which give the wearer the ability to control the actions of others. And the best thing about this is that the game has absolutely no explanation for any of the events taking place – without any words it allows the player to decide what is happening for themselves, an aspect of gaming that is sometimes simply replaced by characters in-game straight up telling you what’s up. This level of trust in the intelligence of gamers is worth credit, and is, unfortunately, not seen enough in many other games these days. I won’t talk too much about what else is actually in the world, as it is more fun and interesting to experience for yourself. Go have fun, guys.
2. The Puzzles
A expected from the makers of Limbo, the gameplay isn’t anything complex; you simply run, jump and push/pull. However, despite the simplicity of the controls, the puzzles are both perfectly paced and varied. Despite the tools used in these puzzles being mostly the same, the way in which they are used in order to complete challenges are never reused. For example, at one point in the game, you must raise and lower a body of water in order to pass through a door and progress further into the game. However, once this challenge is surpassed, a very similar puzzle follows it with the same objective, except in this case the water starts on the ceiling, the surface hanging in mid-air (for reasons unexplained). This changes up your style of play drastically and forces you to rethink your entire strategy from the previous challenge in order to complete this one. It’s that kind of variation and imagination that you appear in every puzzle game – if a puzzle is repeated, it only serves to extend the runtime, not to make the game more challenging. The same kind of puzzle diversity can be seen in the Portal games, which are both similarly praised in the same area. It keeps the player on their toes, keeps everything feeling fresh and new, and thus the game never feels – and here comes the single most dreaded word in all of gaming – boring.
3. The Story
Honestly, there isn’t much to say on this particular aspect because I do not wish to spoil anything. However, what I will mention is that the story will be relayed to you in the vaguest, most ambiguous way possible, and much of it is left, much like the world, up to interpretation. I have my own way of looking at it, and after reading many a theory online it seems that almost everyone has their own way of perceiving it too, which I feel is the true genius of Inside. No-one is wrong, everyone could be right, and to me, that’s a serious achievement on Playdead’s part. There are moments, especially the ending, that are guaranteed to stick with you well after the credits roll. Some advice: do not worry if the game doesn’t make much sense at the time, because given a few days to process the events that occur, you will find your own unique way of viewing it.
Inside is a game best experienced blind so I implore you, don’t look up any videos, don’t look up any screenshots, just buy it as soon as you can and dive right in. I would recommend playing through the whole thing from start to finish, so be prepared to remove at least 3 hours from your day in order to experience this utter work of art.