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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.
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.
The 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.
The 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 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.
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.