"No way! This game is cheating! That was fine in the last episode!!" - Kyathil getting a happy surprise
Publisher: Raiser Games (devs Protocol Games)
Release date: 31st of October 2019
Genre: Third-person survival horror adventure
Price: 7.99€/episode (season pass 21.99€) Steam
Before I start with this review I want to add a few things to my previous review of episode 1, now that I've actually replayed it (for first episode and first thoughts you can read here Song of Horror Episode 1 ). I kinda grew used to the heart beat mechanic, plus I do think it was patched up, and don't find it that problematic anymore... You simply have to "follow the beat", which is not exactly simple... Depending on the character you choose to play as, interactions and comments in the game will be a bit different. Besides, the AI changes up the game quite a bit depending on how you play it! So every playthrough will not be the same and I LOVE it! Well done, developers!
On our protagonist's search for the missing author, we get to the antique shop which is owned by the man that sent the cursed music box... But, something doesn't seem quite right and the people are once again missing? It's up to us to figure out what has happened and find that music box! But, tread carefully, lest we might find ourselves caught by the Presence... And that is not a pleasant experience.
Before starting, we get to choose between 4 characters with their own unique stories and traits just like in the previous episode. This time we get to choose between 2 familiar faces, Sophie and Daniel, and two new ones, René and Erica. Many things are basically the same as in episode one, such as some of the different ways you can encounter the Presence and the heavy focus on solving puzzles, but there are also a couple of new things! There are new dangers and, as I got to experience myself, some things that worked in the first episode might not work in this one... Don't expect the same treatment as in the previous episode! The game tricked me, more than once (or I was naive haha)! Also, I definitely do think this episode was much harder versus the first one, and a lot scarier. The dangerous events seemed more frequent and more difficult, but this is just my own perception and cannot verify that it is actually the case. In fact, I got all of my characters killed... Twice. Yupp. There was some frustration going and perhaps the occasional Swedish curse word. The puzzles were quite varied, with some being easier to solve than others. Especially the last big puzzle was a bit confusing and took a couple of tries before I made it.
Considering how the frequency of the dangerous events seemingly increasing, it did increase the tension quite a notch versus before and there was a new danger added, The Silence. Since I do want to avoid spoilers as much as I can in these reviews, I'm not going to describe it too much. However, with this new danger there is a new mechanic and I still don't really know how it works. This was basically why most of my characters died, because I just didn't understand it. In the end I simply held RT during most of these events while gently tapping LT occasionally and it seemed to work. No clue if that is what you are supposed to do though and I do genuinely think it needs a better description in the tutorial! Apart from that I was not prepared for the final push of the episode, which caused the demise of my second round of characters. As previously mentioned, this episode was definitely scarier and more tense!
Yes, there were a few bugs for me. At one point a character died despite seemingly passing the dangerous event and a lot of my progress was suddenly gone when I was going back to the game after a couple of days. It was a bit annoying, since I had to redo a lot of the things. Apart from that I didn't experience anything, didn't get stuck anywhere or so!
Most of my experience with episode 2 was absolutely fantastic, in a pretty terrifying way! I do love the increased frequency of dangerous events, and the variations... BUT, due to the new mechanic being a bit unclear and the weird lost progress, I had to do a lot more replay than was necessary... And not by choice. I must admit that I lost some of the interest when my second round of characters died as well and had to start it all over again. Luckily, you can change the difficulty so things get easier and if you've killed off the characters like that you will know what to do next time and thus be able to get through the game much faster versus the first experience. I couldn't help but feel that I shouldn't have to replay it all if I reached the final push, but I do understand the idea with the perma death etc. It's not that I think it's bad, it just became frustrating combined with the other parts that I just mentioned.
The locations look great, music and sound effects are brilliant once again... The mix of familiar with new experiences lulled you into a false safety and thus made the entire thing even scarier! Loved that part, a lot! The puzzles were pretty clever, yet fun and I definitely noticed a few references to classic horror games. Despite the parts that were less enjoyable I do think Song of Horror is my horror GOTY, or maybe it has a split place with the RE2 remake. It truly brings something new and unique to the horror game table! Thank you for letting me play this episode!
For those of you interested, the next episode is released on Friday 13th... Can't wait to see what lurks in the new shadows! Yes, there is a high chance that I will do a live stream of it then!