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Night Book – A Flickering Tale in the Shadows of FMV and COVID

Night Book Game Review

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Night Book : Front Picture
Night Book : Front Picture

Title: Night Book
Developer: Good Gate Media
Publisher: Wales Interactive
Released: July 27, 2021
Platforms Available: PlayStation 5 and 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC Game , iOS, Android
Platform Reviewed: PlayStation 5
Article Reading Time: 7 minutes

FMV’s Fringe Craft: Wales Interactive’s Cinematic Ventures

Wales Interactive has long specialized in producing FMV (full motion video) concepts, even though they have tried to break through with classic horror, mostly ending with average results. Their primary focus thus remains purely cinematic projects, where the player can intervene in the plot when the script offers the opportunity to do so, and replayability is directly proportional to the atmosphere of the first pass. That’s how it should ideally look if FMV’s work succeeds, which unfortunately isn’t exactly the case with a horror game called Night Book. Let’s elaborate more on that, though.

Night-Book-The-Night-Book-carries-an-ancient-curse
Night-Book : The Night Book carries an ancient curse

A Haunting Household: Unpacking Night Book’s Premise

The central character of this horror flick – Loralyn, who at the start of the game is preparing for a night shift as an online translator, lives with her rather distraught father in the next room of her house. From the beginning of the video, this gentleman appears to be a person full of mental problems. Even though the whole plot is not just based on him banging his head against the room wall, he becomes the central element of the entire plot. His pregnant daughter, Loralyn, whose husband works as a stockbroker on an island with a dark history, has no time to deal with the hints of a real threat from ancient civilizations. He only cares about a well-done job while translating his clients’ text. But what the devil, his two online calls on the evening in question set off a chain reaction of 22 possible endings. Whether you want to see them all or give up on the first pass, it’s up to you.

Night Book: Father has to stay locked - or-not..
Night Book: Father has to stay locked – or-not..

A Web of Choices: Exploring Branching Paths

The developers weren’t so much trying to bring some variety, as there’s woefully little of that subject interaction. Still, they were primarily concerned with evoking the creepy atmosphere associated with the imminent risk of an obsessive father and a closed environment. Unfortunately, they failed to achieve that effect, even with one of the endings above to this film strip. I don’t mean to cast aspersions on the primary performances here, some of which were above standard and good by the standards of the concept (The Complex wasn’t wrong in that regard either). First and foremost, we have an entirely predictable plot, and its denouement is directly related to several clichés that would shame a first-year film student. The fact that all the action takes place on the desktop of the central character’s laptop doesn’t help a bit, as the script vehemently tries to explain all the illogical ideas rather than covering them up with anything scary.

Eerie Ambience, Empty Echoes: The Struggle for Atmosphere

Once you’ve made it to the finale for the first time, and the statistics of endings discovered and sequences viewed flash on the screen, you’ll feel that you haven’t made it one-third of the way through the (un)game. Logically, you’ll then proceed to retry, using new choices and decisions to try and see more and unlock something new. However, this is where another big problem arises from my perspective: the interface’s inability to skip a previously viewed scene and the poorly designed splitting of the images themselves. Therefore, anyone who wants to fill the extras to the brim and absorb the entire hour of recorded material from the first second to the last will find it a pile of tedium and repetition. The worst thing about the whole thing is that even if you gradually work your way through all the plot endings, you’ll always keep the vapidity that the entire point of this FMV production possesses. The only thing you’ll get out of it in the end is the statistics and the feeling that you’ve at least used your wasted money for something. The whole thing is blatantly mediocre and mind-numbing the second you try to discover more and see something new.

Night Book: Father has to stay locked - or-not..
Night Book: Father has to stay locked – or-not..

Reflections in Isolation: Night Book During the COVID Era

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ‘Night Book’ development adapted to unprecedented circumstances, shaping a game that encapsulates the challenges of that period without meeting in person. The unique production constraints and social distancing measures led to an inventive setup where the entire cast seemed to perform 100% remotely, mirroring the global isolation. This isolation seeps into the game’s atmosphere, making the player’s experience strangely resonant with the lockdown experience. In the game, Loralyn works as an online translator from the confines of her home, dealing with supernatural threats through her laptop screen. This setting reflects the limited physical space many of us were confined to and the mental and emotional boundaries imposed by the pandemic. By leveraging remote production techniques, the developers crafted a game that directly responds to the world’s sudden shift to online interaction and remote living. It’s a poignant reminder of when our homes became the center of work and personal life, challenging the boundaries between the two. In ‘Night Book,’ this blending of home and external threats enhances the horror elements, as the safety of one’s home is breached, not just by the supernatural, but by the intrusion of work and the outside world into personal space.

A Dim Light in FMV

While “Night Book” may not stand within the FMV genre, its production under the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic sheds light on the dedication and adaptability of its creators. Despite global lockdowns and social distancing, the game’s development highlights an impressive effort to maintain creative output when traditional production methods were disrupted. This context brings a new appreciation for the game, not just as a piece of interactive entertainment but as a document of the times.

Night Book: Father possessed by an unknown curse
Night Book: Father possessed by an unknown curse

Loralyn’s interactions, confined within the digital screens of her laptop, resonate with our recent lived experiences, where much of life was compressed into virtual spaces. The game cleverly uses this setup to amplify its horror elements, utilizing the claustrophobia of our realities to enhance the terror within. Additionally, the actors deliver commendable performances, bringing depth and realism to their roles. These performances and effective jump-scare moments enrich the gameplay experience beyond its narrative limitations.

Despite its flaws and a certain predictability in the plot, “Night Book is worth playing for an hour or two. It reflects not only on the supernatural but also on the intrusive nature of our new, more digital lives, blurring the lines between work, home, and otherworldly realms. The game, therefore, serves as a reminder of the era it was born into, offering both a reflection and an escape from the isolated environments many of us found ourselves in.

In evaluating “Night Book,” it’s clear that while it may not have reached the heights of some of its FMV peers, it captures a moment in time with authenticity and a genuine sense of unease. For those willing to overlook its shortcomings to taste its atmospheric and thematic strengths, “Night Roof” provides.

Where to Buy Night Book

  1. Steam (PC, Mac): Available for $12.99. You can purchase the game directly from Steam
  2. GOG (PC, Mac): The game is priced at $12.99. Purchase it from GOG
  3. Epic Games Store (PC): Available for $12.99. You can buy it from the Epic Games Store
  4. PlayStation Store (PS4): The game is priced at $12.99. Check it out on the PlayStation Store
  5. Xbox Store (Xbox One): The game is available for $12.99. You can find it on the Xbox Store
  6. Nintendo eShop (Switch): Available for $12.99. Purchase it from the Nintendo eShop
  7. Apple App Store (iOS): Available for $6.99. Purchase it from the App Store
  8. Google Play Store ( Android): Get the Night Book on your Android device from the Google Play Store

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