Penumbra: Black Plague (2008)

Video Game  -  Horror  -  12 February 2008 (USA)
8.5
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On fleeing his cell, Philip's fate is once again set in motion. The facility he emerges into is a far cry from the barren mines that brought him here - a hi-tech research station almost ... See full summary »

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Title: Penumbra: Black Plague (Video Game 2008)

Penumbra: Black Plague (Video Game 2008) on IMDb 8.5/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
Bram Floria ...
Philip / Prisoner (voice)
Bob Barnes ...
Eloff Carpenter (voice)
Nancy C. Roberts ...
The Narrator (voice)
...
Clarence (voice)
Emma Adam ...
Amabel Swanson (voice)
Sam A. Mowry ...
Dr. Richard Eminiss (voice)
...
Hive Mind (voice)
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Storyline

On fleeing his cell, Philip's fate is once again set in motion. The facility he emerges into is a far cry from the barren mines that brought him here - a hi-tech research station almost devoid of human life. Philip continues on his quest to recover his father, the adventure he set out on in Penumbra: Overture, but as events unfold, he finds his ill-fated companion Red's warning ringing in his ears. This time, Philip will be accompanied by more than one voice calling from the darkness. This time, perhaps they can be trusted? Make the leap of faith. Discover the truth. Written by Anonymous

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penumbra | plague | See All (2) »

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Enter a world of madness

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Horror

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12 February 2008 (USA)  »

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Connections

Follows Penumbra: Overture - Episode One (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Closure
31 March 2011 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

This picks up right where the last one left off(I won't give it away... you get a brief summary of the events in that at the beginning of this, and you don't need to have played it to get into this, though I would suggest that you still do so... all three instalments were collected in a single reasonably priced package when I got them), with you, as Philip, again trapped underground(with new concerns), if the isolation is less of a focus in this. In place of that theme, this solidifies what was only hinted at before(you'll know why the narration is in past tense) and brings what could be a conclusion(and it's smart, if not all will like it... it's at this point that this emerges as a classic fantasy horror tale) to the story(I have to wonder how the expansion pack Requiem is going to continue it). For those who already know what Episode 1 was like, let's start with how this differs from it. You have no weapons in this. When there are enemies(who remain relatively simply designed and unvaried, if they can look unsettling; they can be irritating at times, if they are also very threatening, and the AI is pretty good) near(and they *will* go searching for you), you have to hide, flee, hurl something at them to temporarily slow them down(this should have been a considerably larger aspect) or block their path. Upon completion, you'll be given an overview of "how well you did", sort of(and yes, it's sadly still pretty short, it took about 4 hours of playing time for me). This does go for some Silent Hill-like grotesque stuff and alternate reality(and they stretch the graphics a little beyond their otherwise admirable abilities), and your mind will play tricks on you in this. Literally. No, I won't elaborate on that, but it is brilliant in both concept and execution. And you can now rotate objects, something that was desperately needed before, as well as move them closer or further away from you using the mouse wheel(when you've grabbed them). Yes, this thankfully maintains the realistic physics(if occasionally things don't have the weight they should, there's a little Half-Life going on in this in that regard), with heavy environment interaction. Gravity is well in effect(you can break things by throwing them, if they're light and frail), and it's immersive, you really feel like you're there. Hardly anything takes you out of it. You don't merely click something, you close your hand around it and, for example, pull out the drawer, lift the cardboard box, etc. This remains in the first person perspective throughout, including the cut-scenes. Atmosphere is built and maintained well, with a creepy sound-side and fantastic lighting. You have to illuminate your surroundings, using a flashlight(that you don't even start with this time! And it soaks up battery juice like you wouldn't believe, and you actually replace them this time, and you have to look around to find them), glowstick(that won't spread it far) and flares(finite in amount, and you have to locate extra ones), keeping in mind that this will get the attention of any foe who sees it. Crouching in shadow will get you a blue tint, emulating "feeling your way" so you won't be helpless in that situation. There are portions where you have to sneak. You don't get to carry around a map of the at times confusing hallways, and there are fewer of them posted... you have to memorize the most recent you've found and thus find your way to where you need to get to(and remember where things are). While this will log some goals and such, it is imperative that you keep a notepad beside you. There are a ton of puzzles, and they are again the focus. The interface is point-and-click-adventure, and the controls are swiftly learned, with an Assassin's Creed-style streamlined setup, where every key corresponds to one specific function or type thereof, and in general this is easy to get into. There's even a concise tutorial that teaches you everything you need to know that you can play at the very beginning, and go back to at any time(it seems). A nice addition is being able to place anything you can use in boxes in your inventory corresponding to the numbers. This has no HUD(it will let you know if you're getting hurt or dying... you have to keep your health high, if you will heal some automatically) and is minimalistic all the way. There is not a lot of replayability value, if there are three difficulties and a few on/off settings that can increase the challenge level. This is entirely linear, if it's frankly so gripping that you barely notice. There is more voice acting in this, and it is again of utterly excellent quality. The genre is survival horror, with a strong emphasis on the psychological aspect... if the approach is slightly altered, with less of it being in text, instead being spoken or being visual. Writing slightly ranges, with most of it being great. This plays less on primal fears(apart from claustrophobia, heights a few others, that are still present) and than its predecessor. Saving is done by checkpoint, and sometimes automatically, and it's so often that you seldom have to go through a lot when you meet your untimely demise(and it will happen, trust me), provided you make sure to make it a priority, yourself. There are unforgettable sections of this, if it it is overall a tad less intense, and the mood is not quite as impeccable, on account of it being direct, not hinting as much. Then again, some will prefer this to Overture, as it does answer your questions, it has an actual ending and it certainly screws with your mind, big time. There is a little brutal, bloody violence and gore, as well as swearing, in this. I recommend this to any fan of the the first part, and this kind of game. 8/10


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