Maid Of Sker is a first-individual survival horror recreation, which makes the call a piece difficult because it’s mentioned like “manufactured from Scare”. lamentably, this isn’t a excellent description of Maid Of Sker, due to the fact despite the fact that there are some true and creepsome bits in it, this isn’t always a sport made for soar scare compilations on YouTube, nor it’s miles suffused with a creeping, lingering dread.
alternatively, it lands someplace in among the bizarre keys and puzzles of Resident Evil, and the quiet, existential dread of something more like Soma, ensuing a whole lot of ready round rather than making you feel nicely afraid – though the tune and inventive version of a Welsh ghost tale are each extraordinarily nicely finished. it would have achieved better leaning extra into those factors, possibly, than in the direction of straight horror.
The ghost tale in question includes a actual life vicinity called Sker residence in South Wales, not a million miles from in which my dad grew up, and though the authentic house isn’t always even in the game, Wales Interactive got in a small amount of lukewarm water for the usage of it in a gaggle in their promo fabric. The original maid of Sker, Elizabeth Williams, fell in love with a terrible musician called Thomas Evans. They deliberate to elope, however Elizabeth’s dad saved her locked in an upstairs room, and Thomas got scared off by using the dogs in the grounds and never came to rescue her.
Elizabeth didn’t die a terrible loss of life or anything; she just entered into an unhappy marriage with someone else. but ’tis said that her ghost now haunts the room where she became locked, proving that ghosts hold lengthy and unique grudges.
In the game you play as Thomas, come to rescue Elizabeth from her circle of relatives’s Sker lodge, she having despatched you a frankly alarming letter asking you to compose a specific piece of song. when you arrive you find out the inn in a nation of some disrepair, with bizarre shrines to Elizabeth’s mother cropping up in numerous places, doorways with unique keys, and shortcuts and secret passages to open up.
Elizabeth informs you, through telephones positioned quite simply around the residence, that her father, uncle, and literally every body inside the inn have long past off a piece 1/2-cracked as a result of a magical and/or evil track. Elizabeth is holed up inside the attic and absolutely everyone else is roaming approximately the resort with sacks on their heads, like Scarecrow off of Batman (even though she doesn’t say that herself because it isn’t a modern reference to her). They assault all and sundry who makes an excessive amount of noise, a chunk like the monster from Amnesia: The darkish Descent (although that reference, too, might have likely gone over her head).
With commands to collect the 4 recorded parts of the siren song, you creep across the residence attempting now not to bump into some thing, stroll too speedy, or even breath too heavily, lest the heavy-footed, lumbering brutes run over to you to slowly thump you whilst making go noises. to begin with, the pacing is great. you are instructed in indistinct terms what the danger is, however are not sure while it will arrive, and eventually ought to make your way down to the basement in a noisy, shrieking lift that you are feeling certain will convey catastrophe.
The basement regularly ramps up the concern aspect via introducing your enemy and schooling you to keep a sharp ear out. You examine that you may preserve your breath in dusty or smokey areas to forestall yourself coughing, and that if you live still and hold your nerve, this type of lads can skip within a couple of ft of you. It results in a few worrying moments early on.
sadly, after you get to the mid-factor of the game, this experience of unease quickly wears off. extra patrolling enemies are shovelled in as you progress to ramp up the problem, however it finally ends up being a chunk stressful. You spend a number of time standing in a motel room off a hall, looking ahead to two lads to walk past so you can warm-foot it all the way down to the secret torture chamber you need to explore. sooner or later, this mounting frustration will push you to make a destroy for it, at which factor you find out that you may truely run around for maximum of the sport and clear up your problems in 1/2 the time, as long as you know in which you’re going and where the safe rooms are.
There are a couple of those on each floor of the 4-storey inn – friendly inexperienced doors to rooms with green lamps inside in which you manually shop your progress on gramophones. it is a tried and examined approach that works properly for the sections wherein you are locating your manner across the resort, even if their oddly silent gramo-save machines don’t lower the heartbeat nearly in addition to The Evil within’s sweet Clair de Lune rooms.
but then Maid Of Sker mixes in a few linear bits where you are suddenly thrown into the lawn or some caves or what have you with permadeath traps and lots of baddies as a way to boost the story, which are disturbing if you have not popped right into a safe room for a while, and doubly so when they do not certainly supplement the gradual exploration of the resort. on the other hand, a variety of the lodge’s setpieces feel like a smorgasbord of bits you have played from different survival horror games, and none of it honestly seems like a single, cohesive surroundings. One ground of the lodge holds Elizabeth’s massive angry uncle, as an example, who’s surely the long-lost 8ft tall cousin of Resident Evil 2’s Mr X. He fulfils the wall smashing promise of these older Resi video games, but here he is best a hazard on that one ground, not the residence in preferred, and he feels a piece out of location. it’s a piecemeal feeling you run into loads in the game.
That said, there are a few superb bits to Maid Of Sker to revel in. The look and sense of the resort, and the story as it unfolds, is good. a few rooms are full of get dressed dummies, or striking sacks that bump into one another, and you are not sure if you’re on my own or about to get the literal stuffing knocked out of you. if you trouble to explore beyond the locations you want to move, you may also uncover pretty a a laugh tale of a cursed own family, the slow growth of a cult, the version of the hotel into a grim homicide mansion, and so forth.
the sport genuinely rewards those who go off the beaten song to open all the locked doors, and this in itself is a satisfying task, because the resort is affected by trick doors that require you to take a terrific examine the room around you before you could unlock them. What order are the ones artwork in? where is that compass arrow pointing? as soon as the answer they may be clean, but till you do they’re a a laugh task.
satisfactory of all is the music, the darkish heart of the sport, which is genuinely haunting. The authentic composition you are piecing collectively, and the spooky chorus you pay attention loads in the course of the hotel, is at once lovely and off-setting, and the musical cues that accompany you being spotted are regularly greater frightening than the sound of footsteps at the back of you.
In truth, Maid Of Sker is greater scary whilst it is now not looking to scare you. The story, the ecosystem and the music are properly-crafted sufficient that they might nearly be enough on their very own, however its obsession with chucking monsters at you ends up destroying a number of that appropriate will. perhaps, in searching sideways at Capcom’s table, Maid Of Sker copied even the answers it didn’t want.