SCP Containment Breach Review and Analysis
SCP Containment Breach is a pretty good horror game given that it is free, in beta and a community project. Some of the ideas behind it are very clever. However, there are also a few problems with it as a horror game that hold it back from being better. Herein, SCP Containment Breach will be reviewed and analyzed with the intent of explaining some of its flaws as well as discussing how it works as a horror game.
SCP Containment Breach Review
The game does have a kind of interesting atmosphere. It is let down a little by some design choices as well as rough textures and the like, but there is a kind of claustrophobic feel to the game that works fairly well. It also has a very similar feeling to Slender in that you are constantly being stalked, which adds a lot of tension. The overall experience is really helped along by the way in which the creatures give clues to their presence, but how those clues are to be interpreted is up to the player. A sound may just be a paranormal anomaly or it may be a creature that will instantly kill you. If noting else, the game does make you jump even if it uses cheap tricks to do it.
Creature design is a mixed bag. One of the main enemies is this weird looking, pale, bear-like entity that seemed more laughable than scary. In contrast, other creatures like the Old Man pictured above were legitimately scary as they scrolled out of the darkness with glowing eyes. It seemed that locking doors to keep them at bay did not function as they simply walked through them, which was very effective and intimidating.
Another thing the game has going for it is that maps are randomly generated. While randomly generated levels can be a major negative for many games, it is a particular boon for horror games as it means that what is coming is unexpected. At first I thought that there was only one monster in the game but then all of a sudden another monster that is said to be a monster from a different level just showed up. Interesting idea and always keeps the players guessing.
One of the major problems with the game is that it is very confusing at first. Just what you are meant to be doing and how you are meant to be doing it is difficult to discern. While this may add to the atmosphere it can be annoying when you get killed by the creature when you did not expect it at all. From what I can tell it seems to be related to line-of-sight in that if you break your view of the creature by turning around or blinking, it attacks. Its a clever idea, but the game certainly does not explain it very well. Perhaps the idea is that you discover it on your own, but once more there is a fine line between presenting a challenge and just not being user friendly. As a result expect to see the ‘You Died’ screen a lot.
The game does try to alleviate this problem by offering in game instructions, but if you are not the type of player that reads instruction manuals or the like you probably do not know how to open your inventory. A few on screen prompts simply telling the player what button to press and how the items such as documents function would really help the game.
The next problem with the game is that there are some pretty annoying graphical glitches. Take the above image as an example, in it the end of the hallway cannot be seen because of some lighting related glitch creating a fake ‘wall’. Interestingly, situations can emerge where the wall seems like a standard wall and actually covers up a door. This can lead to incredibly long searches for the place you missed as you do not realize the door was meant to be in plain view but was obstructed by the graphical glitch.
The last problem is that many of the areas feel somewhat same-y. This can add to the tension but the game is absolutely drenched in greys. Everything is grey, even the monsters seem to be various shades of grey.
SCP Containment Breach is a good free horror game and definitely worth giving a go. It can be a bit hit-or-miss and does not have the same level of polish that Slender has, but it is still quite good.