Review – Perception
Perception puts gamers in the shoes of Cassie Thornton, exploring an abandoned estate to find the source of nightmares that have nearly driven her mad. It all sounds like standard stuff, until her being blind gets factored in…
Gamers use Cassie’s echolocation ability to find their way around, using reflected sound from the tapping of her cane or environmental noises to ‘see’ the environment in fleeting monochromatic glimpses. Important objects within the environment are highlighted using colour, a simple but effective technique to make them instantly recognizable.
Having to tap to see seems a bit forced at first, but then the game introduces the Presence – a malevolent force that hunts using Cassie’s echolocation to home in on her. The first time Cassie has to run from the Presence actually proved remarkably tense and after that point every tap was precious and used sparingly.
Fortunately, there are other means for Cassie to get information on her surroundings, including the ability to use a ‘sixth sense’ to see where she needs to go. It’s worth noting this will point to the place she needs to be, but not exactly to what she needs to do so it’s more of a hint than a cheat.
Perception covers four chapters, digging into the lives of past residents of the estate using recorded audio from tape decks and imprinted flashbacks on touchstones in the environment. Exploring the lives of the people who inhabited the house before gets Cassie closer to her goal of finding out what’s happening to her – a slightly more twisted route than I’d expected. It’s a bit on the short side, but it’s an interesting trip nonetheless.