Alone in the Dark: Inferno

Alone in the Dark: Inferno

Alone in the Dark: Inferno

Burning crusade.

Developers rarely get a second chance with console games, unless you count sequels (and that would take all day), but when a port is lagging several months behind they sometimes get another half-chance. No one can argue Alone in the Dark needed an update, despite its successes, and Eden Studios has done a valiant job. The problem is that the game didn't need tweaking so much as Eden back at the drawing board.

The Xbox 360 version certainly had an intense atmosphere and memorable set-pieces as you took control of Edward Carnby for a hellish night of demonic discovery in Central Park, burning monsters and searching for the truth about your past, and it encouraged inventive problem-solving in a way that marked it out from the survival-horror herd. But far too much of the time you found yourself fighting the fiddly controls, a largely terrible camera system and probably the most borked driving mechanics in any game of this generation. Throw in some dreadful signposting and an inexplicably drawn-out root-burning section towards the end and it was a game to inspire delight and fury in almost equal measure. No wonder, then, that most people couldn't be arsed. To give Eden its dues, the team took the worldwide mauling in the right spirit and set about fixing as many of the problems as possible for the game's belated PS3 release.

The first and most crucial change is the ejection of the misguided dynamic camera system. Instead of lurching around searching for the most atmospheric view, the camera now lives behind you by default so you can see what's going on at all times. With full manual camera control also assigned to the right stick, the difference is vast, and immediately the game feels more polished and enjoyable. Everything from environmental interaction to combat is more assured and less likely to work against the player, while little tweaks such as running by default, rather than having to hold a button, are just common sense. On the rare occasions you need to walk, a gentle push on the left analogue stick does the job. It's the simple, standard and intuitive third-person system with which we're all comfortable.

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Alone and MGS4 demos on PSN

Plus GHWT tracks and PSone games.

Alone in the Dark and Metal Gear Solid 4 demos top the list of additions to the PlayStation Store this week because of the way we've formatted our list.

Alone in the Dark: Inferno

Horrifying or just horrible?

No publisher wants the phrase "polishing a turd" attached to their games as they cross the console divide, but Atari has at least been open about the need to spruce up Alone in the Dark before introducing it to anyone else. A new audience should represent new opportunities, but there's no denying that the well-publicised flaws in the 360 original mean that Edward Carnby's fifth outing arrives in Sonyville tainted by poor word of mouth and with much to prove.

Atari dates bundle of games

Naruto PS3, Jamie Oliver DS, more.

Atari has tidied up several dates for upcoming games, including handsome PS3 fighter Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm, which will be with us on 7th November.

Eden details Alone in the Dark PS3

Eden details Alone in the Dark PS3

Plenty of changes for a better scare.

Eden Studios has explained which bits of Alone in the Dark it's focusing on repairing for the upcoming PS3 version of its spooky-night-in-Central-Park-'em-up.

Long-haired, trenchcoat-wearing hero Edward Carnby should turn and react quicker in third-person view, we're told, while cars should handle and drift more realistically. Or at least less insanely. There's also full 360-degree control of the camera.

Combining items can be done on the d-pad, and selecting the right tools from inside your coat will, apparently, be more fluid and less like knitting during a fit. Spectral Vision has had a going over as well, resulting in less overall use and a tutorial to explain the power.

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Alone in the Dark

Why the PS3 version will be better.

For once, PS3 owners should be grateful for having to wait ages for a game to show up on their platform. Because, in Alone in the Dark's case, this is no loveless and unoptimised port; this is the game it should have been in the first place.

FeatureAlone in the Dark Video Roundup

Extensive gameplay capture in big, neat and spooky chunks.

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.

FeatureAtari's Phil Harrison

On Alone in the Dark and switching roles.

After four years of development, the first next-gen instalment in the Alone in the Dark series is almost here. Atari held a press event in London last week to reveal more of the game, and newly installed Infogrames president Phil Harrison was on hand to have a chat to us about it.

Alone in the Dark

I think we're alone now.

Before there was Resident Evil, before there was Silent Hill, there was Alone In The Dark. It's easy to forget that now, of course - those two games have unquestionably made the genre what it is today, after all. It's still worth mentioning, though, that Alone In The Dark was there before either of them.

Harrison proud of Alone in the Dark

Welcomes support from Internet.

Infogrames Directeur Général Délégué Phil Harrison has identified the Internet response to Alone in the Dark as a reason to be excited about it.

Eden boss hails Harrison "vision"

EG stalks Big Phil in NYC.

With the ink barely dry on Phil Harrison's shock new contract with Atari, his new colleagues were already lining up this week to praise the former PlayStation figurehead's appointment.

Here's a situation with which everyone who plays videogames will be familiar: you're playing as a heavily armed character, who has shot, punched, smashed and looted his way through wave after wave of monsters, zombies, henchmen or aliens - only to be foiled, despite your bulging muscles and impressive arsenal, by a plywood door. Kick it in? Shoot it? Blow it up? Nonsense - it's time to go and look for the four pieces of the sacred medallion that'll make it open!

FeatureAlone in the Dark

Eden's Nour Polloni on the delay, the format, the content and how it plays.

Alone in the Dark looked amazing when Atari and Eden Games first unveiled it. Over two years later, some of its smarter ideas - physics puzzles, high levels of environmental interactivity, fancy lighting, a mixture of third- and first-person controllers - have been and gone in other games. With an additional delay until May 2008, there's a lot of scepticism about its quality, and suggestions that the game's in trouble. Not so, said Atari, when they rang us up yesterday. In fact, why don't you ask the developer yourself? So we did. Nour Polloni, the game's producer, gave us an update on development, and explained how the game will go about living up to its lofty billing.

Eden wants more Alone in the Dark

Sequels, DLC likely, 360 demo planned, plus Wii control hints and new gameplay trailer.

Eden Games hopes to get straight on with another Alone in the Dark game once the current one ships, according to producer Nour Polloni.

May for Alone in the Dark

But Atari fed up with hardcore market.

Atari has ended speculation and confirmed a May release for Alone in the Dark on 360, PC, Wii and PS2.

PS3 Alone in Dark not delayed

Atari offers explanation.

Atari has told Eurogamer this afternoon that the PS3 version of Alone in the Dark hasn't been delayed after all, but will launch simultaneously with the PC and 360 games.

Alone in Dark PS3 delayed

Will follow PC, 360 versions.

Atari has told Eurogamer that the latest instalment in the Alone in the Dark series will not be released on all platforms simultaneously.

Atari's Leipzig line-up

TDU, NWN2, AITD, etc.

Atari has announced its line-up for the Leipzig Games Convention, headlined by playable versions of Test Drive Unlimited and Neverwinter Nights 2.

FeatureAlone in the Dark

Consolidate all those monthly killings!

Edward Carnby hops into a car. The woman demoing the game to us explains that everything in the car works. We sort of tune out a bit. Is this really relevant? It's nice that you can look in the glovebox for a gun. It's nice that you can operate the wipers. But is it that important? It's not like games haven't done this before. You could play the harmonica on the Plok title screen. Stupid PLOK RIP-OFF.

Boll nominated for Razzie

Well now, what a surprise.

Notorious movie director Uwe Boll has been nominated to receive the worst director award for game adaptation Alone in the Dark at this year's Razzies.