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Review

Review: Slain – Back from Hell

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Have you ever drea­med about side scrol­ling action with a metal atmo­s­phe­re and sound­track? If the ans­wer is yes, then you pro­bab­ly alrea­dy heard about Slain, but pro­bab­ly not very good things about it. Slain: Back from Hell, howe­ver, is a total­ly dif­fe­rent sto­ry.

Slain: Back from Hell

Risen from the dead

The ori­gi­nal game was pret­ty much an uplay­a­ble mess: the deve­lo­pers of the game, howe­ver, deci­ded not to give up, lis­ten to the cri­tics of the play­ers and fix the game in its ent­i­re­ty. The result of this pro­cess is the new Slain: Back from Hell: a game that has a beau­ti­ful atmo­s­phe­re, fan­tastic 16-bit gra­phics and an ama­zing sound­track.

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Slain: Back from HellThe game­play is pret­ty simp­le, in theo­ry: you can jump, sli­de, block, attack and chan­ge bet­ween 3 dif­fe­rent wea­pons, which are more or less effec­tive against the dif­fe­rent types of enemies; but the most important skill to mas­ter (which is not made clear at the begin­ning of the game) is the par­ry sys­tem. You will need quick refle­xes and block effi­ci­ent­ly, at the last second, the attacks of your enemies to inflict mas­si­ve dama­ge and, also, to avo­id get­ting kil­led. The game is relent­less­ly dif­fi­cult and you’ll often find yours­elf with a game over screen.

Slain: Back from HellThe pro­blem in that is that the game is not real­ly balan­ced: the check­points are a nice incen­ti­ve to get you to keep moving on, but they’re some­ti­mes mis­pla­ced. It hap­pen­ed more than one time to find a check­point after a real­ly easy part just to get a non-sen­si­cal dif­fi­cult and long part whe­re the check­points sud­den­ly didn’t seem to exist any­mo­re. Doesn’t help that in many of the­se long parts you can abu­se the sys­tem by making yours­elf invul­nera­ble for a bit, by get­ting hit once, and move right past a wave of enemies just to final­ly reach the next part of that level.

The game­play also feels very limi­ted and repe­ti­ti­ve and the real­ly hard dif­fi­cul­ty seems only a mean way to hide the real­ly short length of the cam­pai­gn (about 4-5 hours to finish).

Slain: Back from Hell

In conclusion

Slain: Back from Hell is a game that looks and sounds real­ly beau­ti­ful and it’s pro­bab­ly a must-buy for all metal music fans. As for the game­play fac­tor, it’s cer­tain­ly a major impro­ve­ment to the ori­gi­nal game, but it still doesn’t feel good enough and the unf­or­giv­a­ble dif­fi­cul­ty doesn’t help eit­her. If you love a real­ly tough chal­len­ge and are also a fan of 16-bit loo­king games and metal music and atmo­s­phe­re, then this is the game for you. For all the others, you could eit­her swe­ar a lot at it or have a lot of fun: this is cer­tain­ly not a game for ever­yo­ne.

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Slain: Back from Hell
Gen­re: Action adven­ture
Sys­tems: PC/Mac (review plat­form), PS4, Xbox One (from the end of Octo­ber)
Pri­ce: ca. €13
Deve­lo­per: Andrew Gil­mour
Publisher: Digera­ti Dis­tri­bu­ti­on

This game was pro­vi­ded by the publisher for review pur­po­ses, check our review poli­cy for details.

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