Plenty of horror games enjoy leaving you in the dark and make you feel frighten, but none of them have literally put you in the dark and made you scared like Perception. Developed by Bill Gardner who worked on the original BioShock and BioShock Infinite alongside his wife, Amanda Gardner, Perception is a first person horror game that has you playing as a blind woman. When I say blind, you should believe me, it’s all about blindness literally and figuratively, but it’s also about confronting it and pushing forward in the midst of something quite weird.
Perception is about a blind woman named Cassie, a young woman who’s been blind since birth and she has been having nightmares about a house in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and she must uncover a secret that goes a long way using her connection and trying to run and hide from the supernatural. Perception isn’t your ordinary horror game and that’s one thing I like about it.
Cassie’s blindness offers a wealth of gameplay changes that you aren’t really accustomed to in videogames, it offers tension and dread almost because you can’t see anything unless you use Echolocation. Cassie can use echolocation to pinpoint where she exactly is inside the house, when you tap her cane on the ground or hear water dripping from a faucet, it creates an image of general shapes in her view. Those shapes hold for a short time, but if you go too long without more noise then the shapes will disappear back into the long darkness.
The primary villain and obstacle that’s always getting in her way is the Presence, I’m not sure what it is but I know it’s something supernatural and whatever it is, it doesn’t like that you’re inside the house. Make too much noise like tapping your cane too many times or make any sort of noise like running or turning on a radio or loud television, the Presence will come down and hunt for you in the form of a creepy and evil spirit and you must run and hide.
I’m going to say one thing here, it is impossible for you to die in the game and failure is quite unlikely because it isn’t really that challenging and it isn’t supposed to be challenging. I ran into the Presence every few hours and majority of the time it leaves you alone so you’re free to explore and pick up Audio Diaries, in the same format that was seen in the original BioShock. These Audio Diaries bring backstory to the mansion and to the couple that was living in the mansion, and it makes the game more immersive which is a plus. I like Audio Diaries in my games.
The key to progress is exploration and Perception is clearly inspired by games like What Remains of Edith Fitch ( 2016-2017 game.) and Gone Home, the goal is too walk around and pick up objects of interest and piecing together what’s going on with the house. You’ll have to solve puzzles, sometimes, though they aren’t really quite hard.
For now, Perception is full of interesting ideas. I wonder how the game will turn out once I reach the final chapter, stay tuned for my review.