Before I begin this review, I would like to thank my dear friend Kankuro for making this review possible by providing me with the demo. Recently, I had the opportunity to play the One Final Breath alpha, which is currently being developed and produced by Dark Day Interactive. One Final Breath was originally posted on Steam Greenlight in the midst of October 2014, and has gained quite a bit of attention within recent months. Since I both love and hate the horror genre, I figured I would give my viewpoint on this upcoming title. Let’s jump right into this game.
The developers introduce the story by having the main character, a mysterious middle-aged father, appearing to be awaking from a drunken stupor in a trashed and bizarre-looking atmosphere. The main protagonist receives a phone call from his ex-wife, and she explains that their daughter had run away from home once again, and that she left behind a rather eldritch note. Now, there were several issues that I noticed prior to continuing on from this particular scene. One of the biggest issues being the sounds and dialogue. It came off rather rushed, and poorly made. The noises were corny, and sounded acutely unrealistic, especially when the character is either walking, or talking. The sound effects appear to have come straight from a low-budget 1970s horror film, which took away from the overall experience.
Second issue I came across is an enormous problem that we see everywhere in the horror genre. Jump scares do not equal horror. I cannot emphasize this enough. If your game’s narrative is uncommonly weak, than do not cover it up with mannequins popping out of nowhere, and possessed girls jumping in front of you at random times. This just so happens to be the technique the developers used. It’s no different than what developer Scott Cawthon, the creator of Five Nights at Freddy’s, did with his titles. For instance, in the early stages of the alpha, a mannequin falls from the ceiling as soon as you open a door. This alpha is filled with cheap scares, which was another massive turn off. Yes, you can almost always receive a reaction from the viewer, however, that does not mean it was respected.
In several adventure-horror games, searching every inch of the environment is crucial to the plot. Games such as Gone Home, and even Among the Sleep requires the player to do an extraordinary amount of exploring in order to proceed onto the next level. In One Last Breath, there is an immense amount of searching to be done, however, it is not at all relevant to the diegesis. In this particular scenario, almost everywhere you go, there is a new room where it appears as if the player must thoroughly explore. Although, most of these rooms do not contain any useful information, and are basically there just to confuse the player. Notes are scattered throughout the abandoned school, yet, they were implemented simply to make the story seem scarier than it actually is.
Overall, I was exceedingly disappointed with the outcome of the Alpha. The game has a lot of potential, but it also requires the developers to put forth more of an effort when developing the future stages of the game. If you love the horror genre, than One Last Breath is not a game that you will enjoy. There is simply nothing eerie about mannequins that attempt to execute you, which happens to be the major threat. I hope the developers take this first impressions review as constructive criticism, and I look forward to playing the beta.