When you play horror games they can be fun. Sometimes that little escape on the T.V. allows you to have some control. The scenes can be gruesome and maybe even a little scary. But when you add Virtual Reality, you are allowing yourself to enter that world to add to the gruesome and turn that little scary into somewhat terrifying. So when I got the chance to review Chainman from Developer Oukaichimon for the PlayStation VR, I knew this refreshing take on the horror genre was going to be a welcomed one.
Please keep this in mind, this is a Japan-only game so you will need to create a Japenese PSN account to even get access. So with a Japan-only game, there might be a slight disadvantage if you cannot read Japanese. I say slightly only because the Developer has some parts in English including the dialog of the characters. But if there is an option I missed that allows showing how to change the language within the game itself, I will be updating the review.
Chainman for the PlayStation VR is, in fact, a horror game with zombies. No one would expect anything else other than being a horror game. But unlike horror games or games with zombies where you grab a weapon to protect yourself, Chainman does something completely different by not having any weapons what so ever. Yes, you read that right. There are no weapons. But you might be asking yourself, how do you attack or defend? Well, you don’t in that aspect. As you see Chainman is a stealth horror adventure where you must hide, avoid, distract the enemies, and not get caught.
- Left Stick: Move
- Right Stick: Turn
- Circle Button: Switch Light
- Square Button: Use of Emergency Evasion Items
- R2 Button: Action (Hold Item/Hide Item)
- L2 Button + Left Stick: Run
- Options Button: Reset Camera
When you first start Chainman you are in a calm house. Actually, it’s very nice here. But this serves really as a way to get used to the controls. As you move around, you will see a small PlayStation VR headset that you must pick up and put on the table. Since this is in Japanese, I thought I would help get you to the action.
You are then seeing your hands in front of you in this black and white type atmosphere and you will notice that your hands are chained. Once you reset the camera, you will be good to go with some different options (I checked and options do not have any way to select English).
As the story goes, you awake on this island and not some normal island of paradise…no no no. This island is full of death (the smell alone is not what The Rock is cooking) and full of zombies. But to make matters worse, you are somehow in handcuffs and you can hear the moans and the groans of something lurking in out there, but what is it? As you start to move, you start seeing things…strange things. I don’t want to spoil anything, but at the beginning, you see this person or creature attached to a wall that really makes you start to think of what is really going on with this island and why are you in handcuffs. I do appreciate the artistic environment of how the colors are used as it really does add to the sense of the game.
But as you move along is where audio starts to play a part in that scary horrifying way. The idea is to not get caught and the sounds to help you by getting the scene more intense so you can be prepared for how to avoid and hide from the enemies. Luckily if you can hide in it or by it, it will be blue. So thank you for crates and barrels is all I am saying. As you progress you will learn about the other survivors based on the messages they left. So you will need to explore in order to find a way out and escape. I am very thankful that I am able to be equipped with a light and even more thankful that there are two different modes for the lights. Torch and Range. The Range light comes in really helpful when you know there are zombies around.
While you are playing you will come across flares that will allow you to help distract the zombies, which can be great, part of the time and not so great the next. I am just saying this now. Don’t waste them and please don’t waste them near your feet. I won’t go into that now, but just trust me on this. There are also puzzles in this and this is where it helps to know Japanese. The conversations I mentioned earlier that reminds you text messages that are in Japanese, well some of that discussion has the answers you will need, so hopefully, there is an English option coming or maybe it’s there, just not easy to find. (Again if it’s there, I will be more than happy to update this review. I know the PC version for Vive and Rift do have it). As you make it through certain parts of a level, you end up in a safe house. Here you can see your progress along with reading the messages to uncover more of the story. There are puzzles to keep you thinking and being mostly in the dark it is possible to get lost and go in circles it seems like. Is this bad, to some it can be, but to others, it might not be.
Think about it. An island full of death and zombies and there are no weapons. The only thing you can do is run from and away, hide, distract and avoid the enemies with this dark and gloomy environment. And what would you do if you were in a place that you were not sure how you go there, in handcuffs and the majority of the writings and language are different from your own and what you are used to and all while trying to escape from whatever is out there? Then to top it off it’s in Virtual Reality and when you add the moaning and the breathing to the point of where you know they are right behind you, but for some reason, you don’t want to look, but you know you have to.
Chainman is out now for PlayStation VR on the Japan PSN Store. A review copy was provided. To learn more about Chainman and Oukaichimon, please visit the site. Make sure to follow Ouckaichimon and follow ChainmanVR on Twitter and to like them on Facebook.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have to see how much longer I can last in the dark and try to regain my memory.