The One We Found is a first-person survival horror game developed and published by Loveridge Design, an independent developer releasing their debut title. It tells the story of James Ledgewick, a psychotherapist at the Whisperwood Mental Institution. After an unexplored cave network was discovered beneath the facility, things started to become…different. An overpowering evil has taken refuge inside the mental institution as darkness engulfs around you. You must find the courage to explore every nook and cranny to discover what is happening here. You are the only hope and this devastating force must be stopped at all costs. Can you embody James and make him the savior, or will you be consumed by your fears? Think quick or you may never be heard from again!
The gameplay mechanics presented in this title are very similar to the Slenderman series. It follows James searching around the institution as he solves puzzles and deals with foul monstrosities in his pursuit of uncovering the ultimate evil that lays within these aging walls. Puzzle-solving and exploration are the names of the game with slight combat sprinkled in between. One moment you are searching from room to room for the keypad combination and the next you will find yourself shooting undead monsters. The puzzles are not very difficult but searching your way through the environment can be quite confusing. For example, the task could be to open a door, sounds simple enough, right? However, the game gives you no direction, so the door could be connected to keypad right next to it. Or you may need to do eight more steps just to get the numbers you need to open this one room. This was the best part of the entire experience. Having riddles on the easier side but ones that required you to actually look around displays a way to challenge the players without making some ridiculous one-off task. These events also help unravel the story and made it feel like I was working towards a goal, whether it be exploring more of the estate or arming James with the tools he needs to survive. It is a dangerous world within these walls, and it is definitely going to take both brains and brawn if you want to escape this hellhole.
In addition to the main campaign, The One We Found has a survival mode for players to enjoy, well, maybe take that with a grain of salt. This mode drops the player in a dark and desolate space with hordes of what I assume are zombies trying to take your life. It is very similar to the Zombies mode in the Call of Duty series, but with an immense downgrade. The concept was interesting, and I believe if it would have been done better, it could have added a lot to this title. However, nothing played out the way one would hope. The combat is very, and I mean very, clunky. This goes for both modes. The best part comes in the variety of weapons in your arsenal but the list of bad components just keeps piling up. The overall shooting doesn’t feel responsive, the aiming seems more of a nuisance than it should be, the reloading seems long-winded, and it is sometimes difficult to see if you are running low on ammunition. Pair this with the overly complicated inventory system that plagues the game and I find it very difficult to find something enjoyable about the survival section.
Now, the visuals and sounds are the crux of this game and what ultimately brought this game down to its lowest point. The first issues come from how dark this game is and unfortunately, I am talking about the poor lighting. You are probably thinking, “well, it is a horror game, of course, it is going to be dark” and I wish that the level would work to provide that spooky atmosphere we all wanted. However, this game is ridiculously dark, to the level where is it almost impossible to see anything in the game. I envision looking into a vast pit of nothingness, but in reality, I am just trying to see the end of the hallway I am standing in. They do provide a flashlight and tons of batteries that help a bit during the main campaign, but I could not find one in the survival mode. It is practically unplayable at moments as it leaves you blindly walking down some corridor that who knows what is inhabiting. The only plausible reason I could think of for why the lighting is so dark would be that the graphics are not to the level that would be desired by audiences today. The game looks average at best and reminds me of a game from the early 2000s, not something that got released in 2018. The atmosphere is quite eerie with some of the aesthetics they decided to include. Hell, I really enjoyed the fear that was brought upon by the wailing ghost women that would stalk you from one level to the next. It actually provided a sense of horror that nothing else in this game could do. Nonetheless, none of these things made up for the subpar graphics.
The sounds didn’t do much to add to the game either. I noticed very limited sound bites throughout my playthrough, coming in the form of grunts and screams. The screams, oh my, the screams were such an annoyance. Each time, you start the game, you are met with a blood-curdling scream that pierces the ear. I could not stand this, and I do not know who would find this enjoyable, it was not atmospheric, it didn’t ensure fear in my eyes, it did none of these. It was just a sound that tried to get more mileage than anyone would ever expect.
In the end, The One We Found may have been better left hidden. It definitely still needed a lot of polish before the game was shipped. I feel that the game did have a lot of potential and I was looking forward to it, but it was definitely released unfinished. Being priced at $20 USD is a little high in my opinion and I would suggest waiting for this game, either for a sale or a couple of updates. Survival horror is a genre that is hit or misses and while it is filled with hits, this one, unfortunately, did not hit any good notes. This was not the worst game I have ever played, but it needs a few major improvements before I can recommend this game to anyone.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 4/10
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