I broke the cycle! …Almost. #LayersofFear @blooberteam

Ye gods, that was grueling. Another three times I walked that house before I finally got a conclusion that definitively ended my eleven-run Layers of Fear campaign.

The solution, ironically, was probably a simple one. In the hallway where the piano is yanked back toward a blacked-out hallway, I stopped long enough to realize there was another door there, at the end. This may have been patched up in the most recent update, but I don’t care.

I got the Wife and Child ending, which *SPOILERS* ends with the artist lighting all his paintings on fire and burning himself alive. *END SPOILERS*

Here’s what I did:

–I looked at baby/family related things by zooming in (the zoom is important!)

–I played with the globes and other objects.

–I read pretty much everything I could, esp. the note in the little box in the piano-yank hallway and the document in the dresser in the phone-call-in-reverse hallway.

–I got killed at every possible situation, but did NOT jump to my death in the library. I DID jump down the hole with his paintings, WITHOUT bringing them up, and pulled the chain in the chain-or-crank room to listen to him scream.

–I walked toward the horrible sentient baby doll creature in the red hallway of baby madness.

–After the piano-yank hallway, I looked out the window at the flashing light, prompting The Wife to appear behind me. I also lit the candelabra in the hall after the anniversary calendar room, then looked at her rippling shadow on the wall and turned as if to meet her.

–I gathered all spoken words and rat pictures, and re-examined those I’d collected in earlier playthroughs (the final rat picture + one memento reset with each run).

–I stopped to listen to piano music, when it played (this wasn’t intentionally for the ending, I just found the soundtrack beautiful).

What did I learn, after all this? Absolutely nothing.

Because there’s still one more ending.

I want to see it.

Part of me needs to see it–for real, in person, on my PS4.

…Here we go again.

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@blooberteam #LayersofFear has ruined me.

I can’t break the cycle.

If anything, the cycle is breaking me.

(Spoilers for Layers of Fear follow.)

The first time I played this game, I found it pretty scary. Weird sounds everywhere. Shadows twitching, jerking, watching. Rooms repeating, endlessly, always the same, but always different, forcing me down paths I wasn’t meant to tread.

I got the Wife ending–the magnum opus, designed to look like The Artist’s perfect, unscarred wife, until it morphed, laughing, becoming disfigured, forcing him to throw the ‘defect’ in with the rest of his other failed works.

Naturally, I turned right around and found they were all perfect. A sad and haunting feeling overwhelmed me as I guided the poor soul back to his canvas to start again.

I played a second time to get all the collectibles. The Wife still terrified me, her apparition seeming to stalk every corner, but I pressed on. I got her ending a second time.

Then I decided, “As much as I hate using guides on a game like this, I want to see the other endings–and get that last trophy, of course.” So I went on YouTube, read some instructions, and replayed.

The Wife laughed at me a third time.

And a fourth.

I replayed half the game, starting from the middle, to change some decisions and see what might happen. The Wife happened. Her ending, again. By this point, I was throwing myself at The Wife at every turn. The game ceased to be scary.

After a few days of DMC, I invited a friend over so I could watch him play. He made similar decisions. He got fewer collectibles, but still the significant ones.

He got the Wife and Child ending on his first run, earning that elusive gold trophy and one of the two other endings. As The Artist threw himself into the fire, I felt the heat licking at my veins, The Wife’s laughter echoing in my ears.

But now I had an advantage, right? I’d seen it done–hell, I helped him do it! Surely I could do it again, right?

Fifth time: Wife.

Sixth: Wife.

Seventh: Wife.

It’s like she’s locked me in The Artist’s head, damned me to permanently loop through his nightmares. This isn’t a joke or euphemism.

I’ve been dreaming about that house. About the Wife. I see her shambling through new rooms of my own mind’s invention. I’ve walked hallways that are halfway between The Artist’s head and mine.

This game was heart-pounding at first. Then, dull–why be scared of something I could predict?

But I never predicted this. I never thought those ghosts would follow me from a fake dream world to a real one.

And I’m going to keep playing.

At this point, I think I have to.

…Kudos to you, Bloober Team. You broke reality. Or, at the very least, you broke mine.

 

 

Layers of Fear is REAL choice-based gaming @blooberteam

Hi everyone,

Thank you all for stopping by. It’s a cool day here in NJ, at least compared to the near-70 degree weather yesterday, so make today a warm apple pie day.

I’m a gamer, as you might know from my previous posts, and when I saw “Layers of Fear” pop up in my PS4’s “Recommended for You” box, I was like, “…The hell is this?” So I checked it out, thought it looked awesome, and bought the crap out of it, because I love all things horror and this game seemed like a great addition to my virtual library.

I was not disappointed–but for reasons far different than what I suspected.

Minor spoilers for Silent Hill 2, Fatal Frame 3, and Mass Effect 3, but NOT Layers of Fear, follow.

Brief Game Overview: A painter wants to paint his magnum opus, the piece that will put him back on top of the art world, but he’s been losing his mind after a great tragedy. He’s having trouble painting because he’s having violent hallucinations, turning his beautiful mansion into a nightmarish Escher work full of vengeful apparitions. Furniture flies around on its own, floors give out, dolls start multiplying, corning him in a small room–typical haunted house stuff, except, as this is basically a walking simulator with a survival mechanic, the first-person view makes his confusion and terror all the more palpable.

Here’s the kicker: There are three endings to this game. I’ve beaten it five times and only gotten one.

The ending requirements aren’t clear. It’s not like Mass Effect 3, where you go left, right, forward, or shoot a hologram to save/damn the whole universe. It’s not like Life is Strange, where all your choices boil down to a single decision with two possibilities that remain entirely unchanged by all your other actions. This isn’t even a Heavy Rain or Beyond: Two Souls style choice-system, where you could get multiple endings from plot-based but obvious stuff like “Did you get everyone out of the burning building?” or “Did you yell ‘Jason!’ enough times?”

Layers of Fear is a Silent Hill 2 level of choice. It’s a Fatal Frame 3.

I reference these because all three games did the same thing: they provided alternate endings, but gave you almost no indication on how to get them. SH2 had some obvious ones, of course–use the dog key, or collect the four sacred relics, for two clear endings–but the “Drowned” ending? I would never have known to examine Angela’s knife that much to contribute to James’s depression, and the fact that this was a more likely ending if you consistently played with moderate to low health when you could heal instead was pure genius. If you wanted the ending where he was suicidal, you had to PLAY as if he was suicidal.

FF3 also had a secret ending where, if you absolutely avoided one room in one level and did a bunch of random steps, you’d get a secret item that would prevent one character from dying. The ending wasn’t drastically changed, but still, that was really cool.

Layers of Fear takes the same steps. Collectibles are (apparently) factored into the end, and you have to get them all if you want to experience two of the other three endings. That can’t be all, though, because I’ve done this and not gotten anywhere.

But what about your other choices? Do you go through the paint-splattered door, or the one full of toxic goo?

Did you pull the chain, causing The Artist to scream in the distance, or use the crank?

Did you pull your paintings out of the hole, and did you jump in after?

How many times did you ‘die’? Were they intentional? Did you embrace it as a means of atoning for his prior actions, or is death just a way out of the nightmare?

Did you feed the stuffed cat?

I have no friggin’ idea what choices lead to what endings. I’ve Googled this and everyone seems to have different opinions–even video walkthroughs have reportedly not worked for some. How is that? How can you follow someone else, step-by-step, through a game and get a different ending?

Simple: This is a resurrection of REAL choice-based gaming, one where every move you make, from the tilt of your head to the items in your pocket to how many times the writhing PT demon snaps your neck, changes the ending.

Honestly, I’m really frustrated that I can’t get the other endings because earning one will get me that last trophy because I want to experience them all. Even more honestly, I’m gonna keep playing, even though the rooms no longer confuse me and the scares no longer make me so much as flinch.

And, most honestly of all, if this studio comes out with a new (hopefully longer) game even remotely as choose-y as this one, I’ll be one of the first to slap down my pre-order.

Seriously, play this game. 10/10, would buy again. And stay warm, folks.

-Kevin