Layers Of Fear – In the Maze of a Nightmare

REVIEW – The Bloober Team has fallen into the same mistake Turn10 is about to make: a new installment in a franchise with the same name as the first in the series, but with different content. The Polish studio has put its previous work on Unreal Engine 5, so it took seven years to abandon Unity, but this time, it’s an enhanced experience for those who don’t think of the game as Layers of Fear 3, or Layers of Fears, or Layers of Fear 2 (as someone has…).




Layers of Fear is, therefore, a combination of Layers of Fear, its Inheritance add-on, and Layers of Fear 2, but with a new engine that raises the visual bar considerably, also offering a fair price point. There’s a new chapter, The Last Note, where you control The Painter’s wife of the first game, expanding the story (and giving it two endings). LoF23 (to distinguish the new from the old…) could have given the second part a similar treatment, but it didn’t do so, and as a result, it’s kind of a black sheep. Instead, the story of a character called The Writer has been added to the pack, and we get to experience his adventures between the chapters of the first and second part.

02,3The problem is that these transitions between chapters are not subtle but necessary, as the threads of the story have to be tied together somehow. If you didn’t like the second part, you wouldn’t like this story, but the two core games have not been reimagined in a 1:1 ratio. LoF23 is a step up from the first game, although you still have to play it mainly passively.



Still, the environment is not as repetitive. In the first game, The Painter must “clean up” the locations with a lantern, and new paths can be opened. This tool can also ward off the obligatory creature chasing the character, giving you a chance to find the key and escape. It’s like Outlast: it’s still tired, dull, and doesn’t catch everyone’s attention. In the second part, you can use a torch to stun the monster chasing you on the ship, but you’ll also need this light source to solve the puzzles.

Illuminating some mannequins will set them in motion, so you can get the items you need from them, or they’ll move away. Still, a question cannot be ignored: have the Bloober Team and Anshar Studios modified the gameplay concept enough to make it worthwhile for players not interested in the franchise? No: it will still be familiar to veterans, and the experience will be unchanged in many ways…



Scare Factor


This thought needs to be thoroughly explained. How does LoF23 scare the player? In the same way as in the two original games. Not everyone will like it, so one of the legacies of the franchise is still present. Furthermore, the experience offers no variations, i.e., it can be described as linear. Hence the predictability is not helped by the fact that some sections can be described as more open. Consequently, replayability is essentially eliminated, so you play through once, and that’s it.

Sure, it might be a game we’ll return to once every few years, but let’s not get carried away. The visuals alone do not make LoF23 an exciting game with some content enhancements, but that is not enough to make it a smash hit (and get high ratings). Still, when looking at the psychological horror aspect, it must be admitted that the Bloober Team’s creation can engage audiences who are so inclined. It is as if the game has fallen between two chairs under the bench; because it is beautiful and the gameplay has been updated, it still moves within a set framework and cannot fully unfold.



Silent Hill 2: what will happen to you?


Layers of Fear is at least capable of keeping its audience engaged for longer in terms of length because it is considerably longer than Amnesia: The Bunker (it probably needs 10-11 hours), so it could perhaps get a higher score for that reason. But it doesn’t, because, despite the remake, it hasn’t been able to renew itself properly. Therefore one can rightly fear how the Bloober Team will ruin Silent Hill 2, which is still a perfect psychological and survival horror title.

Those who liked the first two episodes should treat the rating as an eight out of ten because it delivers. For everyone else, however, it’s only a seven out of ten because, unfortunately, it only does the obligatory, but not much more. The Writer sections cannot be called such an extension that one should invest in this product. And the predictably consistent experience cannot be called revolutionary. Modernization has happened, but it has remained in a cage, so even if it has been painted in vain, there is no more to it. That is why it is forgettable. Instead, it’s worth picking up Amnesia: The Bunker, even if surprisingly short.



+ Made more beautiful by Unreal Engine 5
+ Some gameplay mechanisms have been modernized
+ Historically seeks to expand…


– …but maybe he didn’t do everything in this area
– Still predictable
– For those who didn’t like the previous ones, this won’t change their opinion either

Publisher: Bloober Team

Developer: Bloober Team, Anshar Studios

Style: Unreal Engine 5 tech demo

Release: June 15, 2023.

Layers of Fear

Gameplay - 6.2
Graphics - 8.3
Story - 7.6
Music/Audio - 6.9
Ambience - 6



The word layers in the game's name can be applied to itself, as it's a niche game.

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Grabbing controllers since the middle of the nineties. Mostly he has no idea what he does - and he loves Diablo III. (Not.)

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