Song of Horror
Song of Horror is a survival horror game created by the Spanish studio Protocol games. The game initially released in 5 installments, with the first episode in 2019 and the last in 2020. At the end of the same year the studio published the entire collection for PS4 and Xbox. I played the game on PS5, thinking that enough time was dedicated to flesh out all the early bugs players were experiencing, and for the most part my gameplay was smooth except for one terrible bug in Episode 4 that left me frustrated, especially when I was at the very end of that segment. I had no choice but to repeat the entire episode again using a different character and somehow that worked. On the up side, the studio is still trying to patch some of these bugs, but since some of them are happening randomly, it seems to be difficult to completely remove them. So in case you’re interested in playing this game, just be forewarned that there are some bugs to encounter, and it might help to look up their locations.
Now on with my review. The story begins with Daniel Noyer, a man who works in a publishing company. One day, Daniel gets a call from his supervisor informing him that they’re somewhat in a pickle due to the disappearance of Sebastian P. Husher—an author that they’re dealing with. The manuscript scheduled to be published the following week has not been delivered yet and so Daniel is asked to visit Husher’s house to see what’s going on.
Upon arriving at the Husher’s manor, Daniel encounters some unusual paranormal activities, which later he finds out, are connected to a music box that Husher was in possession of. This music box was an antique piece given to Husher by his friend Farbar. Both men were vastly interested in the mystery behind this music box and the curse, which seems to be driving its listeners insane.
Needless to say, Daniel embarks on a long journey to find out exactly what has happened to both men and what is causing all of these weird activities.
During Noyer’s adventure, you—the player—gets to control many different characters, some of whom are related to the story in some way or another. The game’s biggest caveat is its permadeath feature. Once a character dies, it’s gone forever. If, and when, that happens you get to control one of the other two characters you are at liberty to choose within that segment, and continue from that point onward. If you lose all three characters within an episode then you must repeat that episode from the beginning.
I, personally, am not a huge fan of permadeath. For me the biggest reward in playing survival games is the exploration factor and obviously the story. Often what kills your character is opening the wrong door or picking the wrong item, and to me that’s not only added stress but limiting my gameplay and exploration.
As a result, I chose to play it without the permadeath feature [insert-BOO-noise here]. I’m not sorry that I did. though. The game still offered a challenge through various puzzles and mini-games.
Unlike other games such as Until Dawn or Man of Medan, Song of Horror isn’t really a walking simulation. In fact, you don’t get the option to choose conversational outcomes to determine the game path. Instead, the playability is focused on collecting and exploiting items, solving puzzles, and QTEs, which is probably why I enjoyed this game and played it through till the end. Not a huge fan of pure walking simulations.
The puzzles were a bit complicated and not always in a good way. I got the impression that they weren’t designed to be user-friendly. Often times the solution is almost too particular and random for any person to figure out. For that, I shamefully played the game with a walkthrough in some segments.
The world design for me is by far the most beautiful aspect of this game. I absolutely loved the publishing/historical themes and getting the opportunity to explore archives, libraries, university offices, antiquarian shops, historical abbeys, manors, WWI hospitals, and so on. I can’t think of any other game that collectively had, at least to me, that many interesting locales in one single game.
Is it a perfect game though? Far from it. Although the story unfolds well in the beginning, it drags on in the final episodes, and in some parts does not make sense. I also did not enjoy some of the eerily disturbing content, which I thought was borderline sickening. Overall, I still think it’s a fantastic horror game to play.
My final score is 4/5 ★★★
- 3/5 for gameplay
- 5/5 for design
- 3/5 for Puzzles
- 4/5 for plot
- Game Platform (played on): PS5
- Game Link | Click Here