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Penumbra

by Frictional Games, 2006

Download
(156.84MB)

Rating

Graphics

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Penumbra is basically an engine showcase. There is a lot of lighting, shading, texturing, bloom, motion blur, and other graphical effects at work here. Games have significantly improved by now but so far this game has aged pretty well.

Sound

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There sound design aids the atmosphere quite quite. This is a very atmospheric game with a large sense of dread, and the sound effects produce a strange hollow effect that make you feel as if you've been swallowed by the earth.

Gameplay

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The physics in this game are great and very similar to the Valve engine. You can pick up items in real time and use them in real time similarly to Half Life 2. The game was basically made to showcase this company's engine.

Also try

The Silver Lining

Voodoo

Trilbys Notes


I picked up yet another game to review for the Freehare community the other day, and this time I picked a really amazing, yet freaky, experience. This experience came in the form of the technology demonstration by Frictional Games, which took its place in the horror adventure genre that has become so popular of late. With this demonstration they indeed proved that they can make an amazing experience with an amazing engine, and they gave glory to their programmers with this one. Some adventure games prove themselves to be amazing through their story, but this game proves itself in a way that’s completely different from any other game. It proves itself in the gameplay, by creating a very fresh experience. Prepare to delve into the dark, highly interactive world of Penumbra.

As a child, his father abandoned him, and his mother died soon after. For years, the hero of this game found himself harboring a deep inner hate for his father, but also an overwhelming desire to learn more about the man who deserted his family. Years later, when a key and message from his father arrives, the players decides to learn more about his father. Following clues in a journal, our hero heads to Greenland, but a harsh storm forces him to take shelter in an underground base. He delves deeper into a harrowing world of darkness and blood, not knowing what to expect, or how to escape. Will he survive?

All right, time to discuss this games shining feature, its gameplay. The creators developed the game in a 3D engine which relies heavily on physics, where the player walks around and interacts with his environment like never seen before. With a heavy influence on object AI, this game is probably the one game that feels completely real, immersing you in a horror that you can’t wait to escape from. You interact with objects as in real life. When you click on an object and hold down the mouse, this enables you to move the object any way you want, which is useful for barricading doors or making paths to vents in the ceiling. That’s right, you can move anything that isn’t bolted to the floor, or isn’t too heavy. To swing a weapon or throw something, you must access it from your inventory then swish the mouse as you would move your arm. (Yes, it’s like playing a Nintendo Wii game.) You can also look around your environment in a full 360 degree arc, just like in real life.

Another amazing part of the game is the graphics, which are in fact some of the best graphics I’ve ever seen in a freeware adventure  game. The lighting is very realistic, and everything moves just how it would normally. As far as sound, besides the thump of your heart, when nervous, or the screech of a “creature”, there isn’t much to say about the sound.

Anyway, to conclude, Penumbra is a fantastic horror and physics experience that is rivaled by no other. Just don’t have a heart attack while playing a game as scary as this. This game gets a score of 5 carrots.

Review by: Secret Fawful