Alone in the Dark: Illumination – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure, Action
Developer: Pure FPS
Publisher: Atari
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Alone in the Dark: Illumination – Review

Site Score
Good: Lighting effects, light gameplay mechanism, sound effects
Bad: Dull story, no narrator, game is rather buggy, no online servers, tedious fetching quests
User Score
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)

In the past, the Alone in the Dark games were one of the go to video games for die-hard horror fanatics. It’s been a while since we’ve last seen a decent game in the franchise so when Alone in the Dark: Illumination was released on the market, we’ve all been hoping for a decent horror game. Unfortunately, Illumination can’t be counted as a great addition in the genre. Although the game portrays itself as an action/horror hybrid, it doesn’t succeed in bringing a decent experience in either category.



Don’t count on a decent narrator in this game. The story is served to you through a simple information screen at the beginning of a level. Not only is this very tedious to read every time, it totally kills the immersion. Reading through some paragraphs surely hasn’t the same effect as being told the story by a mysterious voice or even through audiologs or something like that. Illumination takes place in the town of Lorwich. Once you arrive there, you’ll notice soon enough something is very wrong here. Cadavers are lying spread out in the area in all kinds of weird postures and soon enough, you find out a cult has been doing this. Other than the creatures you encounter, there doesn’t seem to be anybody around. What happend here and why? That’s the basic question which will keep you busy while going down deep in the mines to find some answers.

The background information you get on the four different characters is quite interesting to read. It makes you feel a bit more ‘connected’ to the character but fact remains that Illumination is not scoring a lot of points on the story part.

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We’ve played through the early build of this game some time ago and back then, the game didn’t impress too much on a graphical level. Well, this version isn’t that much better to be honest. The game is definitely not horrid to look upon but you won’t be impressed by the graphical style either. The environments often look bland and boring but it must be said, the effects look alright. Fire, electrical cables and things like that look genuinely good and that certainly helps to forgive the somewhat standard graphical design.

As light plays a major part in this title, it’s very important that the lighting effects are splendid as well. Well, while splendid is maybe a bit too strong of a word to use here, I can say that the lighting has been handled with some care so you won’t find a lot of unrealistic effects on that account.

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The sound effects in Illumination are pretty fine and try to give this game a more eerie feel. The rambling of fences and the sparkling of electricity helps to make the game a bit more exciting. You’ll often hear some screeches coming from the monsters as well. In the beginning, that might sound a bit scary, but after a while, you simply get used to it and then it’s quite obvious that the lurking monster sounds could’ve been fleshed out a bit more. Some more diversity on this department would’ve made Illumination a lot scarier. Now, it’s often hard to find a real horror experience.

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You can choose between four different classes to play the game with. The Hunter is pretty all-round and has a flamethrower at his disposal (which is incredibly useful when there’s no light source in the neighborhood). The Witch can cast some spells while the Priest can use some powerful abilities as well. Lastly, the Engineer uses mechanical gadgets to help her stay alive.

The quests in the game are kind of tedious as they are mostly in the fashion of: go get X amount of a certain object and bring it here while killing all monsters in your path. I’m sure I don’t need to tell fellow gamers how incredibly useless those kinds of missions feel. Almost every game has its fetching quests of course, but Illumination is really pushing it to be honest. Eventually, it feels like the creators wanted to give you ‘some’ explanation of what’s going on through the story screens I mentioned previously and then they just cluttered the game with meaningless quests. For the gamers of today, that just won’t cut it anymore.

As you may have read in our preview of this game, light plays a very important part. Monsters can only be shot down when you lure them into a light source but beware; creatures can also destroy light sources. Once they are glowing, you can shoot them down without much of a problem. If you can’t find any electronic lights, you can even start a little bonfire in a barrel and make use of that. The mechanic works quite well and will make you run from light source to light source as safety is a lot more certain there than in the complete darkness.

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While playing, I encountered some bugs like falling through the floor in the elevator or enemies seemingly teleporting from one place to another (and no this was not an ability of a kind). Although those bugs didn’t interfere with the gameplay on an extreme level, it was rather annoying to encounter them multiple times in a playthrough. The whole game just feels a bit on the unstable side technical wise but don’t get me wrong, Alone in the Dark: Illumination is certainly playable without major issues (apart from the sound disappearing completely one time).

Although I was very eager to try out the online multiplayer, there was no way to test it out. Servers are pretty much non-existent and as this game released some time ago, there’s not much hope for improvement on that front. The only way to play the coop is to get some buddies to buy the game too, but would you really want to do that?

Last thing that really needs to be said before ending this review is that Alone in the Dark: Illumination is not really a horror game. At least, it doesn’t feel like one as not once was I really scared (and trust me, I’m scared pretty fast when playing horror games). I can only imagine how veteran horror game players must feel when trying out this title. It’s more oriented on cooperative gameplay and having fun with some friends than really making you scared. That’s okay as it doesn’t have to be a pure breed horror game, but with the ‘Alone in the Dark’ reference in the title, it’s normal that there are some expectations.

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As a horror game, Illumination is a pretty weak title without any major aspects which will make you pee your pants. The game is just not scary enough to justify it in that certain genre. If you look at Illumination with the cooperative 3rd person shooter genre in mind, it’s a bit better, but not by a lot. The game fails to offer an interesting storyline while making sure you spend a lot of time going on fetching quests. Count hereby some regular bugs and the recipe for a mediocre game is ready.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Alone in the Dark: Illumination - Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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