Slender: The Arrival
|Slender: The Arrival|
|Release||Microsoft Windows, OS X
Slender: The Arrival is a survival horror video game developed by Blue Isle Studios as a sequel to Parsec Productions' Slender: The Eight Pages, with Chapter 6 being a remake of the aforementioned game. It was released on Microsoft Windows and OS X on March 26, 2013. The game was released on PlayStation 4 on March 24, 2015 in North America and March 25, 2015 in Europe and Xbox One on March 25, 2015 worldwide. Like its predecessor, the game is based on the Something Awful forums' creation, the Slender Man.
The majority of the game takes place in abandoned areas (house, defunct mine, etc.), each with different objectives. Slender: The Arrival uses similar mechanics to its predecessor, The Eight Pages. The character is armed only with a flashlight. This limited defense forces a sense of helplessness, as the best way to survive in the game is to run whenever in danger. The Slender Man's behavior changes slightly between levels. In the first level, the Slender Man can be seen outside the window, and after going through the gate outside he can be seen on the top of hills well away from the player. In level two, he most often teleports off-screen or just out of the character's line of sight, but is capable of appearing directly in front of the player. It is observed that his motion centers around following the player, but consists largely of jumping from place to place, the inconvenience of which is increased as each of the eight pages are collected. His behavior is much the same as this in level four, except more active. In level three, he pursues much less aggressively, though is capable of teleporting directly in front of the player and ending the game. In this level, the main antagonist is a girl who chases the player (most often following her path directly, but has been seen teleporting. It is unknown whether this is a glitch or an in-game mechanic). The only way of subduing her is by focusing the flashlight (on its second setting) on her. While looking at the Slender Man, the camera succumbs to electronic distortions such as static, blurring, color spots, audio distortion, etc., which obstructs the player's vision unless facing away, and far enough from it. The player cannot pause while this occurs, to prevent them taking a break due to being frightened. When caught, the game over screen is also different; while in Slender: The Eight Pages, the player saw a white static background with Slender Man's faceless head, the one for Slender: The Arrival is black, with an overhead-lit and color-distorted hue and less static. There are also new choices in difficulty (which must first be unlocked by completing the game once) being easy, normal, and hardcore. The differences being that hardcore allows the flashlight to run out, enemies are more aggressive and the player's stamina runs out quickly. Easy has infinite flashlight, a great deal of stamina, and the enemies are not very aggressive.
Slender: The Arrival follows the story of two childhood friends, Lauren and Kate, several years after the events in Slender: The Eight Pages. Kate (believed to be the young girl in the Eight Pages) is selling her childhood home outside of Oakside Park.
Lauren, in response to several unsettling letters Kate had sent her, comes to visit her childhood friend, bringing along a video camera. Her driveway blocked by a fallen tree, Lauren leaves her car by the road and continues on foot to the familiar house. Along the way, she passes another car (who owns the car is unknown). With the sun setting behind her, Lauren discovers Kate's home, doors ajar; furniture and belongings disheveled. After carefully searching the house for the key to Kate's room as well as finding a flashlight, Lauren lets herself in. Scrawlings of an ominous figure and haunting messages adorn her walls. A woman's scream coming from a shattered window causes her to panic. Desperately searching for her friend, Lauren heads towards the sound, into the wooded park behind the house. She activates three generators to light up the path and finds a burnt farmhouse. Inside is Charlie Matheson Jr., a boy who had disappeared recently and is now deformed. He disappears when Lauren approaches him.
Lauren aimlessly searches the wooded area for any clues as to the whereabouts of her friend, only finding more of the scribbled drawings. As she ventures deeper into the park searching for the eight drawings, scopaesthesia causes her to encounter a tall, faceless figure named Slender Man. After all pages are collected, Lauren runs from Slender Man, slipping down an embankment, hitting her head and causing her to pass out.
She regains consciousness several hours later (which is now morning), disoriented; still searching for Kate, Lauren stumbles upon an old abandoned coal mine. Various scraps of old paperwork reveal the mine to have been abandoned in a hurry, crediting seemingly random and unexplained attacks upon the crew to the closure of the mine. An escape route was outlined, but due to inactivity, remains inoperable. With nowhere to go, Lauren attempts to reactivate the emergency lift by activating the six generators that power it. Her progress hindered by the attack of a young figure known as the Chaser, who seems to be afraid of the light of her flashlight, dressed in a blood covered white hooded sweatshirt and white mask. The Chaser's long black hair being the only discernible feature left uncloaked. Slender Man later attempts to attack Lauren in the mine.
Lauren does manage to escape both the Chaser and Slender Man and use the lift to get out of the mine. She continues moving forward, reaching a small storage outpost for the now abandoned mining facility. Within she discovers a small television playing a video allowing with two other tapes. Intrigue getting the better of her, Lauren watches the tape. On screen, she finds herself watching Kate hurriedly scribbling upon papers. Kate stops, grabs her camera and after discovering that Slender Man is trying to get in, starts to close every door and window in the house but Slender Man manages to get inside. Kate then runs back to her room where Slender Man suddenly appears inside all of a sudden. Kate appears to jump out of the bedroom window before the tape abruptly ends. The second tape shows Carl Ross (CR for short), a friend of Kate's, investigating a farm where he repairs a pulley system, find gas canisters to power a generator, and looks for a key needed to unlock a gate to a chapel. Charlie pursuits him at every turn and eventually chases him away. The third tape shows Charlie playing on the beach and after collecting a trail of toy trains that lead him into the woods, he is caught by Slender Man.
Obeying a message etched upon the wall across from the television, Lauren continues up the mountainside towards a radio tower. Behind every turn, Slender Man attempts to capture Lauren with increasing ferocity while she avoids fire and falling trees within a burning forest.
Lauren narrowly escapes her attacker in the hallways of the radio tower building and looks for a key needed to unlock a door. Her flashlights batteries die as she travels through the door only to find she has reached a dead end, containing CR's burnt body, a fire and a camera with the recording of two panicked people. Shortly after listening, the corridor goes dark and Charlie runs towards Lauren accompanied by seeing flashing images of Charlie before blacking out.
An additional level takes place after Kate fled into the woods where she collected the eight pages while being followed by Slender Man, after finding all the pages Slender Man catches her, claiming that he "has plans for her".
If the player has beaten the game once before, a Hardcore difficulty option will unlock, which is like the first game but more difficult. One difference is that Lauren must find gas canisters in order to power the generators in the mine. Before a game update, upon completion of the game again, Lauren will attempt to escape by jumping from a high area, in which her camera dies after she does so. After an update to the game was made, this ending is no longer possible to get. The game now ends with Lauren awake in the basement of the farmhouse from earlier with Charlie blocking the way out. After finding two documents, Charlie disappears. Lauren hears crying upstairs and find Kate but when she approaches her, Kate suddenly turns into the Chaser (implying that they are both the same person) and attacks her. Lauren's camera turns back on temporally to show someone's legs being dragged away. Who those legs belong to is unknown but it could either be Lauren dragging a seemly unconscious Kate away after surviving the attack or Lauren being dragged away by Kate, Charlie, or Slender Man after being killed.
A secret level is also unlockable, which takes place at Kate's house in the daytime. Who the player is playing as is unknown but the goal of the level is to travel from room to room while avoiding Slender Man.
- Lauren – The game's protagonist and playable character. She comes to her friend Kate's house to help her sell it, only to find her missing. Against all odds, she proceeds to relentlessly search for Kate and any clues that might explain how she went missing.
- Kate/The Chaser – A close friend of Lauren, she is also playable in 'Escape' and 'Genesis'. Her mother has recently died and she has decided to sell the house, prompting Lauren's visit with the intention to assist, but disappears. Prior to the events of the game, she had visions of the 'Slender Man' which she shared with her friend CR. The night before the events of the game, she was attacked in her home but managed to escape, as revealed in 'Escape'. CR arranges for himself and her to be burned to death in order to stop the 'curse' of the Slenderman spreading but Kate runs away and is implied to then be driven to the point of violent madness, later attacking Lauren in the mines and the Matheson house at the end. It's unknown where she got the hood and mask that she wore when she was turned into a proxy.
- Carl Ross "CR" – A friend of Kate, with whom he shared her visions of the Slender Man. He and Kate would play in the woods together as children, but when Kate's mom found out he stopped visiting. Despite asking Kate to keep his existence a secret from Lauren, he advised Kate to call her when her mom died. He is playable in 'Homestead' in which he investigates a farmland property owned by the Mathesons and finds clues suggesting that Slender Man had stalked them for generations. CR is found at the end of the game, his charred corpse next to a camcorder. A scrapbook item located next to Kate's wastebin implies that his real name is Carl Ross and that he may have (unreciprocated) romantic feelings towards Kate.
- Slender Man – The faceless main antagonist of the game who can only be seen through video cameras. Facing him causes the camera to glitch and distort, intensifying as the player gets closer. Coming too close will result in the player's death. In the game, it is also shown that his influence can eventually drive his victims so far into insanity that they become a monstrous, violent shadow of their former selves (called "Proxies"), as with Kate and Charlie.
- Charlie Matheson Jr. – The missing child. Missing posters can be found right outside Kate's house on a tree and outside the entrance of the Koleman Mine. Version 1.5 of the game has Charlie appear in the prologue, 'Homestead' and epilogue as a decaying zombie-like corpse that chases Lauren, and it is implied that he was heavily affected by Slender Man's influence but is now helping Lauren to investigate him. In 'Memories' it was shown how he was lured into the woods by Slender Man before being captured. In 'Homestead', it's shown that the farmland property Charlie and his family would often visit shows signs of the Slender Man haunting the Mathesons for generations. CR theorises that Charlie inadvertently stumbled upon evidence of this, which may have prompted the Slender Man to come after him in particular.
Slender: The Arrival was developed by Blue Isle Studios and Parsec Productions for Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac. The developers were considering a release for the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3, and Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360. Blue Isle Studios worked with indie game publisher Midnight City to help develop the game for other platforms.
On December 1, 2012, Blue Isle Studios announced its partnership with the Marble Hornets team, a YouTube channel known for its horror videos which heavily featured Slender Man, and helped to shape the modern version of the Slender Man. Joseph DeLage, Tim Sutton and Troy Wagner helped write the script for the initial release of the game.
On February 9, 2013, Slender: The Arrival was opened to the public for beta testing. If one pre-ordered the game, they were entitled to a free demo of the game. Pre-orders were $5 each, but once the game was released, it would be $10.
Slender: The Arrival received mixed to positive reviews, with critics praising its soundtrack, tense atmosphere and scares, but also criticizing its shorter than expected campaign length and repetitive gameplay. Aggregating review website Metacritic gave the Xbox 360 version 61/100 based on 5 reviews, the Microsoft Windows version 65/100 based on 30 reviews, the PlayStation 4 version 60/100 based on 8 reviews, the Xbox One version 59/100 based on 6 reviews, and the PlayStation 3 version 48/100 based on 4 reviews.
In a positive review, The Escapist said "you may have mixed feelings about its brevity and the repetitive mechanics, but it's certainly a well-built game that, above all, is scary to play" and gave the game a score of 4.5 stars out of 5. VVGtv gave the game a score of 8.8/10, praising the game's graphics, sound, gameplay (with the exception of a few elements) and mystery element, while criticising the short story, adding that "if you played The Eight Pages and are looking for the next scare to really get your adrenaline pumping and to get you to yell like you did when you first saw Slenderman right behind you, this game will not disappoint". GameSpot gave the game a score of 8.5/10, calling it "one of the most terrifying games in recent memory".
In a negative review, VideoGamer said The Arrival is a "frustrating game, not just because it can be occasionally unfair but because these guys clearly have no idea how to promote fear. Running around playing kiss chase with a trans-dimensional being doesn't really cut it." and gave it a score of 4/10. The Metro also criticized the lack of varied gameplay, stating, "the first game had little real gameplay and this sequel does nothing to expand things, just repeat the experience often enough to rob it of its power." and gave it a score of 6/10.
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