We've been rather excited to get our hands on Alone in the Dark since THQ Nordic announced the series' revival back in late 2022, and after a few delays it's finally coming to Xbox this week. The team at Pieces Interactive has re-imagined the IP, taking elements of the first three games in the franchise and combining them with a modern over-the-shoulder perspective. Unfortunately, whilst THQ's new title borrows plenty from the likes of Capcom's fantastic Resident Evil 2 Remake, it never really gets anywhere close to matching up with it - creating an inconsistent experience that gets bogged down by its own convoluted storyline.

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Those Resi 2 comparisons are obvious right from the get-go, where you rock up to a big old explorable building as either detective Edward Carnby or his partner-on-the-case Emily Hartwood - and just like RE2, each character offers up a slightly different experience. For our review playthrough we opted to play as Emily, and for a pretty major reason we recommend other day one players do exactly the same. More on that shortly.

Anyway, once you pick your chosen character and the team lays out the the game's basic story setup, you're off on your way to find 'Jeremy'; Emily's uncle. All is definitely not as it seems, and that becomes increasingly evident once you bump into any of the house's other inhabitants. Nobody's really bothered with helping you out, and it's soon up to you to explore every nook and cranny and root around every set of drawers to see what you can find that'll help you on your way.

Again, apologies for the silly amount of Resident Evil comparisons here but yep, your early hours in Alone in the Dark will feel quite familiar if you've played some of Capcom's slower-paced RE titles. You'll have to find keys, clues, and solve puzzles to progress through a big old mansion until you reach your end goal. There'll be plenty of backtracking to be done, and it's all very familiar stuff in the early parts of Alone in the Dark - although we did quite enjoy rummaging around the game's big bayou residence during our first few hours.

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Once things progress, combat gets involved and we're talking basic third-person shooting here. You'll have a pistol, a shotgun and eventually an SMG at your disposal throughout Alone in the Dark, and combat is serviceable if nothing more. Weapons pack a decent punch with some nice chunky feedback so it's definitely not the worst system we've played around with - although an annoying audio bug that often causes a delay in weapon sounds did dampen our experience a little bit. Some weapon upgrades and attachments wouldn't have gone amiss - Alone in the Dark's combat gets the job done but it does feel like a bit of a missed opportunity not hiding some neat scopes and weapon mods amongst the game's myriad of chests and safes.

Regardless, you get into a nice rhythm in these early parts of the game and initially, we were intrigued at where the story was heading. An impending foe called The Dark Man is served up as the game's carrot on the end of its investigative stick, and finding out more about him and his hold on the people of the house was definitely pulling us in. Top marks to the team for that initial encounter with The Dark Man - it was tense as all-hell and easily the scariest moment in Alone in the Dark.

However, this serves as a bit of a turning point for us. Once this initial encounter subsides and the back half of the game kicks into gear, things get a lot more weird and supernatural, and to be frank - messy. Where the first half of the Alone in the Dark reboot feels quite grounded and detective-y, the second half certainly does not, and you'll find yourself being whizzed off to many a weird and wonderful location in search of how The Dark Man controls his victims. The concept is cool but it all gets a bit confusing, not to mention the fact that these sections are much more linear compared to the puzzle box-like nature of 'Decerto' - the game's main location.

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On the topic of puzzles, generally speaking they were fairly easy to tackle throughout - most of the game feels balanced in how it challenges you to figure things out. There were a couple of safe codes and picture puzzles that did stump us though, and in the end we felt like we brute-forced our way through some of them - getting a little lucky from time-to-time. Alone in the Dark is definitely more 'puzzle' than 'third-person shooter', which is worth knowing before you head into it.

One puzzle that caused a bigger issue relates to looking at stars through a telescope - and this is potentially a game-breaking problem here. As Emily, using the scope's focusing function merely caused our Xbox Series X fan to absolutely scream in pain during the process, however our video producer experienced full game crashing at this same point while playing as Edward; the game's other playable character. He couldn't get it working and had to abandon his playthrough as Ed - hence the reason we can only really recommend playing through Alone in the Dark as Emily right now based on our experience. The team has already confirmed to us that a launch patch is coming to fix crashing issues and other bugs, so we're hoping this isn't an issue for the public release. We just thought we had to mention it as it halted our progress as Ed!

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Glitches aside, Emily's story ramps up to a pretty typical boss fight right at the end, which does feel a little out of place but hey-ho, gotta get that final boss in, right? The encounter didn't cause us too much trouble anyway, aside from some awkwardly slow weapon swapping to avoid running out of ammo. We recommend making sure you're fully stocked up on healing drinks and ammunition as you reach the game's climax!


Alone in the Dark is back, and frankly, it may have been better left alone. THQ Nordic's revival isn't a bad game — we enjoyed chunks of it especially towards the beginning of the adventure — but it doesn't stand out in any meaningful way, and ultimately feels a little pointless in the end. We'd recommend keeping an eye on that launch patch to see how the game is shaping up on release, but it's best not to expect a Resident Evil-level reimagining from this Alone in the Dark reboot - even if it stands as a serviceable third-person adventure.