It's been a long time coming - not least for fans of the last instalment, which came out seven years ago - but Eden Studios' larks-in-the-park reimagining of the Alone in the Dark series finally hits later this month.
A steady stream of spectacular trailers has ramped up interest very nicely in this Central Park-set adventure. And Eurogamer TV even blundered around in the real park after dark in pursuit of the game's secrets.
Originally a moustachioed detective, series hero Edward Carnby has been treated to a hunky Hollywood makeover in preparation for his grand return. And that's in keeping with the slick TV-style feel of an adventure so obviously in thrall to present-day entertainment colossi like Lost and 24; so much so that the story unfolds in episodic format to suit the structured tastes of today's discerning telly addict.
Game-wise, most positive chatter has been reserved for the inventory system, which enables creative combining of items as both a means of outside-the-box thinking your way through puzzles, and just tearing strips out of enemies and the environment in freshly satisfying ways.
With the game out on 20th June, you don't have much longer to wait before Eurogamer delivers its verdict on one of the biggest single-player games of 2008 - which, if you believe Phil Harrison, are a dying breed. And, as former PlayStation dev boss, he should know.
Before that, we can bring you a lingering and lovingly crafted look into Carnby's world via the magic of Eurogamer TV, having spent a good chunk of time this week capturing exclusive footage from a practically final build of the game. Enjoy.
One of the more impressive technical accomplishments in Alone in the Dark is fire. Flames twitch and flicker convincingly; but it's more than simple eye-candy, becoming both asset and danger to our pyromaniacal hero. This clip begins with in a corridor, as fire quickly spreads through the building, showing how flammable objects degrade once engulfed in flames. Next, Eddie-boy improvises with a chair to shed some light on the situation, before frantically escaping a raging inferno.
While sneaking around the park after dark will take up the bulk of your time, getting behind the wheel naturally offers a distinct change of pace. Here, taking a leaf out of Niko Bellic's book, Carnby breaks into and hotwires a motor, before indulging in a spot of carpark dodgems with zombies. We're still looking for the dogging option.
Minor spoiler action here, with a taster of the cut-scenes from your opening mission. Alone's telly-aping episodic structure will be instantly familiar to fans of shows like Lost, each section beginning with a "Previously on Alone in the Dark..." recap.
Using bare fists is so uncivilised. Why risk those delicate knuckles when you can take down your enemies using all manner of bone-snapping implements? Here Edward smacks up some enemies using a pipe, and axe, a gun, a garden rake and a baseball bat, all accompanied by satisfyingly crunchy sound effects.
Items and Inventory
Much of the game's promised depth comes from combining multiple items as a means of solving puzzles, or simply ramping up destruction. The system's based on real-world logic, not that we'd know much about that, but here we see Edward fashioning a flamethrower out of a lighter and aerosol, creating flaming bullets, and turning a hot dog stall into a firebomb on wheels. Clever boy.
Alone in the Dark is due out on Xbox 360, PC, PS2 and Wii on 20th June with a PS3 version to follow.
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