For many the haunted house could have been the backbone of many fears. For others, those same buildings could have easily delivered kicks and entertainment. Whichever camp you fall into, it could be argued that Alone in the Dark was the first great haunted house game, one that has been followed by a thousand copycats. Silver Chains is the next on that list; a game that is set in a huge old house surrounded by ghosts, demons, and strange going-ons. Are you ready to discover what is behind the front door?
Silver Chains starts in great horror film fashion with a car driving along on a wet windy night. It is you behind the wheel, yet all of a sudden you crash and find yourself alone in the night. You see a large house in the English countryside and head towards it before blacking out. You wake up in a room of the house, left to try to find your way out. Soon though you realise you are not alone in this big mansion. Someone, or something, is stalking you and you need to work out how to stop it…
The story and narrative are told through some great cutscenes, via documents left around the house, and as you take in the exploration of the house. It’s a very good ghostly tale, one that covers a good story, giving you chills at certain points and making you jump when you least expect it. In fact, in terms of narrative, there’s little more that you could ask for. It doesn’t break any boundaries and isn’t truly original but it certainly does a great job.
The gameplay is all taken in via the first person – pretty much as every good horror game should be in my humble opinion. You can walk, run, crouch, and hide, but there isn’t any combat to be had. In fact, the only thing you are armed with is a torch and a monocle. Your danger comes in the form of a terrifying, almost giant-like, figure called “mother” who stalks the hallways of the house; the only way to escape is to hide in a closet until she goes by. The monocle itself is used to see items or clues in a different perspective, bathing things in an almost UV light effect. Here you see glowing the item you need to get, or the pathway direction you need to travel down to unlock secret entrances. It’s a nice addition to the game and is able to give the mechanics an extra dynamic.
Silver Chains does however play out with a mix of exploration mechanics and puzzle-solving ideas. In the beginning the pathways you wander through are quite linear, delivering a feel that you are funnelled through the house, with exits and pathways blocked. There are constant clues on what to do next and the spooky entities you meet along the way act as guides. Exploring the house is fun and it’s fairly enjoyable to pick up objects, diaries, and clues while just soaking in the atmosphere.
The puzzles are engaging but never that tricky to solve. I won’t go into detail as that could ruin things, but in one room you have to find pieces of a photograph, with these dotted around. In another, you need to hunt down bits of a doll’s body, utilising the monocle to locate secret entrances. There has not been anything in Silver Chains that has stumped me, and it’s fairly simple to breeze through the game in around 3 to 4 hours if you take your time. The controls work well too, and the UI is finely presented with easy access to clues and journal entries. Obviously, hiding from the monster can be tricky, if only as you need to rely on getting your timings right, but it’s never anything to be worried about.
The game is a good-looking one with some lovely lighting effects and great environmental design. Crisp and effective in their creepiness, the visuals do exactly what you want from a horror game. Some of the cutscenes don’t live up to the quality of the rest of Silver Chains though, but on the whole the visuals work throughout. Sound-wise it does a great job of making you feel tense in the right moments, jumping at others. It’s complemented by the score and voice-work as well, hitting some real highs at certain points.
There are moments of Silver Chains which hit all the right buttons. There’s some good storytelling, a nice bit of terror, and some tense horror, all accompanied by the need to explore pretty environments, take in some light puzzling, and never have to worry about combat. The story doesn’t conclude as well as it should, and the hiding from creatures can occasionally be a bit shonky, but if you’re after something to chill the cockles and make you look under the bed at night, then Silver Chains might just be the game for you.
Silver Chains is playable on Xbox Series X|S. Hit up the Xbox Store for the scares