Layers of Fear: Inheritance
- August 2nd 2016 Worldwide
- Xbox One
- Playstation 4
- Aspyr Media. Inc
- Bloober Team
Mental health problems are genetic, if a parent has them it will have a chance of passing along to their children. While not immediately present these issues can eventually be triggered by some traumatic event, or even the exploration of a troublesome past which presents the twist for Layers of Fear Inheritance. In this adventure we step into the shoes of the artist’s daughter dragging her down the path of her own mental problems all to decide whether to hate or forgive.
Layers of Fear was an interesting game that told an enjoyable and captivating story around its mentally troubled main character, the game sought to scare players with our artists twisted mindset that did well to explore key elements but also grew lacking over time. Certain scares became predictable and by the end it seemed to confuse itself, Layers of Fear delivered some interesting elements but failed to live up to its name.
One major issue that Layers of Fear encountered was its half made story, it felt like it had many great ideas and interesting threads, but also like it was missing a selection of key elements. One particular point that seemed absent was the artist’s daughter, there was a section that seemed to explore his haunting memories and how she saw him but this never explained much. Luckily, Inheritance goes deeper into this point to explore the troubled relationship between the two and finally bring closure to the story.
Inheritance plays out completely from the daughter’s perspective, after her father passes away she returns back to the place she called home long ago to claim her inheritance. Returning home brings back plenty of memories for the girl as we begin to see flashbacks to her childhood scattered across various corners of the home, including the artist’s almost abusive nature, terrible temper, and even his broken mindset all of which tie into the daughters mental illness.
The narrative also further explores the mother and the trouble she faced, allowing us to also see how she treated her daughter, and what it was like for her growing up. This narrative that plays out through the same setting as the main game offers far more insight into the primary characters, and finally fleshes out a huge chunk of the base games missing narrative finally exploring the family dynamic and the daughters absence.
To get the full story behind Inheritance at least two playthroughs are required which presents a decent amount of replay value, a good chunk of the narrative are hidden down choice driven pathway’s all hinging on the simple choice of rebellion or acceptance which ultimately ties into three possible endings for the character. Every choice matters although it can prove challenging to get the “good” ending when every instinct goes against the choices you might have to make, and the lines are often blurred forcing you to question which path is best.
The way the developers handled Inheritance was interesting, instead of an endless cycles of look-alike hallways a different method is explored which takes us into a different world. To go down the path of the painter and accept the guidance of your father, or infuriate him and resist the gift he tried to bestow focusing on child like art with crayons. This one particular instance offers choice to the player allowing us the option to which type of world we prefer, the dark and troubled realism of a painter, or the cardboard cut-out fantasy world of a child, the way this ties into the overall ideas of acceptance or resistance was fascinating while also allowing us to see part of how the daughter sees the world and build the increasingly troubled narrative. Although this section is only relatively short but leaves a lasting and thought provoking impression.
One thing that really needs to be noted is the sheer lack of fear within Inheritance, everything seems calm throughout the experience and even the more haunting moments feel like the memories which they are. There are random moments where a dog randomly jumps out at you which ties into the daughters past, or where she gets yelled at from a clear memory of her father. Inheritance never achieves that moment where you feel uncomfortable or scared and instead remains a placid narrative driven experience.
This does make you wish that Inheritance could have done more, the narrative and varying moments throughout the experience were ripe for some decent scares. Even replaying a similar tactic to the base game and using a horrifying creature that was symbolism for the artist would have added a lot to the still dark and creepy atmosphere of the games setting, and yet this never came. Most of what comes from the experience tends to be simple tricks or jump scares with no impact and this does ruin some of the build-up that it presents, the lack of horror feels like a missed opportunity.
Layers of Fear: Inheritance never really evolves from the base game, but it does show slight improvements such as the impressive narrative that expands upon Layers of Fear and offers closure to the experience. Inheritance becomes a story of self-reflection, redemption and understanding which stands as the games strongest aspect, and the narrative remains constantly enjoyable as you seek out the past. For what Inheritance does well, it also forgets some of the interesting aspects of Layers of Fear itself, in some ways it leaves you wanting more but with what it did well it gives players most of what they would want out of this experience.