The Town of Light

Year: 2016

Developer: LKA

Website: TheTownOfLight

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A game you cannot miss, an underrated hidden gem! Granted by VGArt! It was released in 2016, but i played it just one month ago, thanks to the summer sales on Steam. At first I was skeptical because of the low Metacritic rating. I was wrong, Metacritic is wrong! W-O-W! Revelation! One the most mature game ever! W-O-W!
I played it in two sessions of 2 and 3 hours. The first one was intense, but the second one was incredible! Oh boy! I have been literally kidnapped by the experience for three hours in the middle of the night! I was even not able to get off the screen for a minute! I lost an entire night of sleep thinking about what i had just seen!

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TTOL has been developed by a newcomer italian team named LKA and distribuited physically and digitally for all platforms by THQ Nordic and Wired Production.  It has been built with Unity 5 graphic engine as a first person view psychological thriller, where you are free to explore photorealistic 3D environments. It is strongly founded around an engaging and deep story, which i’m not going to talk about for avoiding spoilers.

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One of the best game of 2016 for sure! Deep and mature, an immersive descent into the abyss of madness through the disturbing corridors of an abandoned psychiatric asylum suspended between past and present! An intriguing story based on real historical facts about an old psychiatric asylum in Italy. You are engaged in a thrilling investigation for revealing the mistery about the past of a young female patient that suffered the horrors of the asylum.us

Not the usual fictional, superficial and simplicistic approach as other expressive media as cinema or comics, with sadistic doctors and cruel nurses torturing defenseless patients, but a more complex analisys of an uncomfortable and ambiguous reality, where the borders between reality and imagination, rationality and madness, innocence and guilt are undefined; no one is totally wrong or right, the whole hypocritical society is responsible and guilty.

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Developers have been really courageous to create such a game; someone suspected of speculation over such sensible themes, but i don’t think so, LKA team approached it in the best way possible. It goes deeper than many famous films about the same subject, e.g. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) or Changeling (2008), able to catch the complexity of reality with no easy interpretations; and you are inside, yes, completely immersed in the experience, discovering step by step an unsetting and surprising truth!

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I loved the deep atmosphere in the digitally rebuilt old abandoned asylum, very thrilling and realistic. You have to solve the mistery through exploration, visionary and immersive flashbacks, collection of clues (documents, medical records, diary pages, etc.), in order to reconstruct past memories and a not pleasant truth.  I also loved how the past facts and memories came out from investigation! It was very emotional! It makes use of a creative crossover of different expressive media: illustrations, animations, gameplay, texts, acting voices dialogues, lights, sounds, musics, etc. Dialogues? Yes, great performance… your avatar hides secrets…

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It’s not the usual game based exclusively upon challenges, it’s a modern and powerful virtual interactive experience for a mature audience. It’s not properly horror, but it’s able to engulf you in a terrific and dense atmosphere stimulating your deepest fears with no need of trivial jump scares. Story is beautyfully written and narrated, you are going to easily not  forget it for a long time and to play it a second time to relive the same emotions. It’s plenty of mature contents, not only about madness and psychiatric asylums, but also about mother-daughter relationship, abuse of minors, sexuality, social criticism,  etc.

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If you liked mature games as Firewatch, What Remains of Edith Finch, The Walking Dead, Layers of Fear, Life Is Strange, The Wolf Among Us, The Cat Lady, Dear Esther, Gone Home, etc. you cannot miss THE TOWN OF LIGHT.

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Here the beautiful OST.

Rating: 95/100

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