The Land of Pain begins with the protagonist going to his mountain cabin in search of some peace. Following a path that goes through a splendid wood, we are catapulted into a luxuriant natural environment that does not let us foresee the horrors that we will soon have to face. Arriving at his destination, after lighting the fireplace, the man decides to fetch water from a nearby well; on the way back, however, he discovers that a large sphere has appeared on the lawn adjacent to the hut. Intrigued by the mysterious object, he examines it but ends up on the ground unconscious. When he wakes up he finds himself locked in a cage, in a place he does not recognize. Who brought him there? Why is there only death around him? What goes around the woods?
These and other questions form the backdrop to The Land of Pain's Lovecraftian story, which unfolds throughout the adventure. The game itself is a first-person horror positioned halfway between an Amnesia and a Slender: The Eight Pages, with ample moments of pure exploration linked to others in which you have to solve some puzzles, never too complicated (the only real difficulty sometimes is finding the objects we need). The protagonist can walk, run for a few seconds and interact with objects by picking them up or automatically using them on others when carrying them. Obviously there is no lack of a monster that chases us to kill us. But let's go in order and try to explain each point better.
As soon as we wake up in the cage we have to solve a first, simple puzzle to get out of it. In reality, already in the prologue of the hut we had a taste of how the game's puzzles work and the very simple interface that regulates them: they usually require searching for objects to use at specific points to unlock passages. For example, you need to look for keys, or a ladder, or even crates to stack and so on. For the whole game there is only one mechanical puzzle that requires the manipulation of a few valves.
In general, the puzzles must all be faced in a precise order and are constructed in a linear way, so that, when you have the overall picture of the area in which you are, you can proceed quite quickly in their resolution. The trouble is that The Land of Pain is made up of often very large areas that force us to go back and forth several times to figure out what to do, often forcing us to walk for several minutes. This problem manifests itself especially in the initial part of the adventure, and then is reduced in the final one, in which the areas become denser. Just to give you an example, right at the beginning there is a blocked passage inside a house that requires a specific object to continue, an object that can be recovered at a certain distance, near another blocked passage.
So, after taking it, you go back to the first house, where you finally get an object to unlock the second passage, which requires us to take another long walk to be reached. Another example is the mines, where you have to go back and forth several times along the tunnels that make them up to find what we need.
After solving the first puzzles, the classic hunter monster appears who wants to skin us for reasons that will be explained by the various traceable documents and the protagonist's diary, in which the progress made is noted from time to time. At the first appearance, we tried to evade the creature by playing fine but without succeeding. On the second attempt we tried to hide, but we were relentlessly killed. So we understand that it works pretty much the same as it does in Slender and that the only way to save yourself when it chases us is to run at breakneck speed. Unfortunately this discovery, also linked to that of its territoriality (it appears only in specific areas), has somewhat reduced its impact, making us develop an action strategy that has proved effective for the entire game: run as soon as the signs of his arrival are perceived on the screen (increased intensity of the music and a slight blurring of the image).
Only in two advanced stages did the creature give us some more headaches: these are areas in which the protagonist's breath is not enough to escape him and we must therefore make him take regenerative breaks, while always keeping an eye on his approach. For the rest there is little to say about The Land of Pain, which from a technical point of view uses the CryEngine to create rich and convincing natural settings, while it lacks a bit in the buildings, quite flat on the outside and a bit poor in the interior. Even in this case, however, the best comes in the end, with better furnished homes and some more details to enrich the scenario.
- Intel Core i7-4770 processor
- 16 GB of RAM
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 video card
- Windows 10 operating system
- Sistema operativo Windows 7/8/10 a 64-bit
- Processore Dual core 2.8 GHz
- 4 GB of RAM
- GTX 460 1GB / Radeon 5850 1GB video card
- DirectX 11
- 5 GB of hard disk space
- Quad core 2.0 GHz processor
- 8 GB of RAM
- Nvidia GTX 670 2GB / AMD R9 270x 2GB video card
Playing The Land of Pain you immediately realize the enormous passion with which it was made, but you also understand all the production limits that have led to some compromise choices. In essence, the horror atmosphere and the gameplay offer some good adventurous moments, but at the same time there are unavoidable problems at the design level, which force, for example, a continuous back and forth between the places that can be visited before understanding what to do. Do. The monster, on the other hand, although made in an intelligent and thrifty way, stops worrying as soon as you understand how it works. In short, The Land of Pain is a first work full of good will, but this alone is not enough. Having clarified this, we do not feel like rejecting it completely, because in any case fans of the genre will find us inside a few pleasant hours, carried away by the Lovecraftian-style history.
- Good horror atmosphere and the rendering of natural environments
- Some adventure moments in the advanced stages
- The monster is very predictable and soon stops worrying
- There is a lot of back and forth to solve puzzles