Let’s Talk About Layers of Fear (2023)
A fantastic return to form for Bloober Team, wrapping the Layers of Fear series up in a neat package.
4.5Overall Score

As time goes on, I get more and more cynical about horror. By now, we all know I have very high standards. Admittedly, they’re mostly unrealistic. Nonetheless, they exist. It’s been a long time since I played a game from Bloober Team, especially after the issues I had with The Medium. I do plan on revisiting that game some day, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. Today, I’m going to talk about Layers of Fear. This was made in collaboration with Anshar Studios. It’s time to revisit the franchise that really put Bloober Team on the map, in the final entry to the series.

What is Layers of Fear?

Layers of Fear is a very narrative-focused psychological horror experience. It takes place across four acts, split into chapters within. However, as always in horror, there is a twist. These acts revisit stories from the past. Additionally, each act has its own endings. All acts have different ending options, including good and bad endings. The Painter’s Story also has a neutral ending, and the Daughter’s Story has a true ending. The Musician’s Story sticks to just good or bad endings. However, the Actor’s Story takes a different turn. We have the endings Flame, Always, and Formless. Honestly, none of these endings are particularly desirable, but they are all impactful. Each ending within this game packs a punch.

The Actor’s Story is also a different ball-game to the other acts of this game. This act follows an actor on a transatlantic liner. Painter, Daughter and Musician all follow the one family, and the impact the Painter (father) losing his sanity has. Sadly, I can’t say any more. Purely because I don’t want to spoil anything.

Layers of Spooks?

Admittedly, I went in to Layers of Fear with low expectations. I loved the original game and DLC, but I wasn’t a fan of the second game. It felt like it was missing something. Bloober are also almost famously hit or miss (looking at you Blair Witch). So this game could truly have gone either way. These days, if a horror doesn’t click for me in the first half hour, I know it’s not going to be for me.

Layers of Fear was a different kettle of fish.

I was very quickly sucked right into the world, and overcome by the atmosphere. It captured me, like all of the characters have been captured by their crafts. This is why I always go into horror with little to no expectations. The feeling of surprise when a game just clicks is insanely satisfying. Even when the characters are saying or doing something awful, they are still deeply intriguing, and even likeable. The actual scares littered throughout are also very well placed. Tension is relied on more than jumps, so when a jump does come, it hits harder.

Layers of Accessibility

This genuinely deserves its own little section. I don’t think I have ever seen more clear trigger warnings in a game before. Now, I know a lot of people won’t care about this. But just as many will care. On top of that, there are clear options for skipping over disturbing content. There is also the option to turn off dying. Admittedly, as someone who dies far too often in games, I very happily used that option. Layers of Fear also has a bunch of other accessibility features for all kinds of gamers. I truly feel that a lot of what they have done in options alone is close to revolutionary, especially in the field of horror.

Layers of Thoughts

Friends, I am so genuinely happy to say that I love Layers of Fear. Each act weaves a dark tale, innately disturbing, but near impossible to look away from. Each character we play as is fully formed and well thought out, making each stand out as an individual.

Being completely honest, I haven’t enjoyed a horror game this much since Project Zero Mask of the Lunar Eclipse near the start of this year. Now, Layers of Fear does not overtake Project Zero in the running for my game of the year, but it’s a really solid game. I can definitely see this being a runner up for me anyways.

I also feel rejuvenated for Bloober Team’s Silent Hill 2 Remake after playing this game. I’m definitely going to be more critical as a Silent Hill 2 fan as opposed to horror overall. If the standard holds up to Layers of Fear, Bloober could be in for another hit.

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About The Author

Jade is a 25 year old horror queen (her words), artist and gamer. She's also a bit too obsessed with dinosaurs. When she's not writing or in game, Jade can normally be found buried in some kind of art.

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