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August 24, 2016

Inside Full Review


Take a look inside Inside.

Release Date: June 2016

Developer/
Publisher: Playdead

Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 4

Genre: Adventure

Content Verdict: Caution Advised (C) for Strong Horror Elements and Gore.

Quality Verdict: Amazing (A) 



Intro:

Skip this if you're a regular reader...

KVR Gaming uses a clear, easy-to-understand format for content guides, so that the reader may take away information with accuracy. Nevertheless, for first time readers, it may take a while to understand the formula. So here's a quick explantion of our reviewing style:

The double hyphen (--) represents an individual piece of content or area of concern. These paragraphs are colour coded in order to represent the intensity of said content. 

At the end of each mentioned piece of content is a number (1-10) in parentheses. The number is a more precise way of gauging content, with 1 being the lowest level of intensity and 10 being the highest.

--Green represents a low level of intensity. (1-2)

--Blue represents a moderate level of intensity. (3-5)

--Orange represents a high level of intensity. (6-8)

--Red indicates that the content is rather graphic and may be upsetting for some. (9-10)

For any questions regarding content in a video game, feel free to leave a comment at the end of the appropriate review

Yours sincerely,

KVR

Content Guide:

Violence/Intense Content:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Intense Extreme

--(Spoilers) Players enter a testing area, filled with a fleshy blob, made up of skin, arms, heads, and legs. Players are absorbed into the blob and end up rampaging through the facility, scaring people as they scream and yell. The blob deforms and rolls as it moves through the level, with accompanying sound effects.

The blob pushes a man out a window and falls on him, crushing him. We see an explosion of blood, leaving a large pool of gore on the ground and soaking the blob in red. (8)

--We see several deformed characters, some of which are missing arms or legs. They act in a zombie-like fashion. Certain characters are unable to walk, instead flopping around. A few body parts also reanimate, attempting to move. (7)

-We see dissected bodies, arms and legs missing in certain environments. Deformed corpses are shown, albeit in a vague fashion. Dead pigs are shown early in the game.

--Inside has a very scary and intense atmosphere. Due to the ease of death, being chased by foes is terrifying. Players may feel constant unease throughout the game. (7)

-Players are terrified by an underwater humanoid, which chases the player at times. Its appearance is unpredictable and can be quite unsettling.

--Most of the violence happens to the player character, a young, prepubescent boy. The deaths are quite graphic and gory in nature. Here are a few examples: (7)

-A pulse is fired intermittently. If the character is caught in the full blast, it disintegrates the boy into pieces, blood and organs shown as he explodes.

-The player can be sliced into pieces if caught in the draft of a metal fan. Gore is shown, along with blood and organs. A couple of corpses are caught in the fans as well in this scene, with the same results. 

-Guard dogs are frequently let loose on the player's trail. When they catch the boy, they bite his neck and tear his throat out, with blood spraying, and bite at his torso, with more resulting blood.

-The boy is frequently shot at. When killed, blood splatters and sprays out, his body twitching with the impact. He falls over, dead.

-The boy can die from leaping off a considerable height; we hear a crack and his entire body goes limp.

--A crazed pig chases the boy. It crashes through a wall and into another, passing out. The boy spots a leech in its rectum, and pulls it out. The pig squeals as the leech is plucked out. (5)

Sex/Nudity:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Intense Extreme
  
--A few instances of nudity, but with no discernable detail: Players encounter a female humanoid creature and several other characters sans clothing. The character models do not depict any detail, so no real nudity is visible. (3)
Language: As there's an absence of dialogue, no cursing or strong language is encountered.

Spiritual Content: The only content which may be of concern is sci-fi elements featuring mind control, where humans are controlled by others in a zombie-like fashion. Otherwise, hardly any spiritual content of concern is featured.

Smoking: A cigarette butt is visible in an ashtray in the foreground of a scene late in the game.

Themes: Some strong nazi symbolism is evoked at times, especially in the "marching" scenes. Undercurrents of human experimentation and mind control through technology are strong featured.
Morality:

Abysmal Bad So-So Okay Good Very Good
Difficult to categorise. The player is a little boy trying to escape from evil characters, but kills a bunch of people in the process, most of which are unintentional. A rather grisly death occurs late in the game, but this doesn't seem to be done in an outright murder fashion.

The interpretation of the game's morality is left up to each individual player. However, as the truth often lies in between two extremes, we'll offer our best interpretation of the game's morality.

Message and Moral Code: Human beings are expendable creatures, and death befalls all of them at the most random of times. If pain or death is not intentionally caused, it is not regarded as morally consequential. Revenge is just and accepted, so long as it doesn't violate the previous statement Intentionally enslaving and harming others is wrong and will be punished - brutally.

Lastly, sometimes those who harm aren't doing so intentionally. Some of them really have good intentions, they just end up getting them jumbled up in the process. 

Conclusion:




Inside is a mature game, and not just in one sense. It's dark thematics are not for the faint of heart. A vivid sense of unease pervades the entirety of it's (rather short but intense) runtime, leaving the player challenged and most likely disturbed once the curtains fall.

Violence wise, nothing should be new for those who played Playdead's Limbo. The fact that the player character is a little boy doesn't matter; he is eviscerated, gored, destroyed, crushed, broken, battered and slain in a nonchalant way. This might already turn off some, but the fact that the player (Spoilers) ends up being absorbed into a blob of flesh late in the game might be a major gross out for those who push further. And then you play as the blob...to make things just a *tad* bit worse.

But for those who are strong enough to carry its gore, Inside is still a fascinating experience nonetheless. In spite of its graphic content, Inside doesn't dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. Even the gross out featured in the last act is treated in a casual fashion.

Based on the fact that Inside doesn't sensationalise its violence too much, we have no qualms only giving it a Caution Advised. Do take note, that this is not suitable for young gamers and shouldn't be taken as a kid's game due to the protagonist being a little boy.   

Verdict: 16+
For Strong Horror Elements and Gore


Review of Game:


Following 2011's smash-hit silhouette simulator Limbo, Playdead played dead (hurr) for five years and procured an even stranger title than the last: Inside.

One would like to wonder what kind of thoughts were INSIDE Playdead's developers' heads when they made this, eyyyyyy?


...let's just get to the review:

Gameplay: Taking the simplistic puzzle platformer gameplay of Limbo and cranking the notch up all the way past eleven and back again, Inside shows that even the most basic of games can offer the deepest of interactive experiences.

Players run, jump and guide as they traverse the twisted world of Inside. Puzzles feature often, offering a challenge, but not in an overwhelming way.

The game adheres to the "one-hit death" of olde, with players relying on their wits to evade enemies as opposed to combat skills.

Playdead also has a wide variety of environments in store for the player, from jungle environments, to cold laboratories, to deep oceans rivaling the Mariana Trench, once one area threatens to become stale, another is introduced.

Inside handles amazingly well. It has a simplistic style, without any inventory, weapons, or other gamey elements. Yet that doesn't take away from the fact that it's seriously immersive, and you won't be able to put it down until the credits roll.  

Story:

Ambiguous.

Twisting.


Highly unpredictable.

Incredibly unnerving.

Spontaneous. 

Those are the words I can use to best describe the narrative of Inside.

I won't go into any further detail, as to not spoil the story. But let's just say, you won't come out of it without a considerably confused expression on your face. Which is also the problem, as an ambiguous ending is to be expected from this genre, so one might go into the game not wanting much in the way of a satisfying resolution and not being too surprised when it ends the way it does. 

Audiovisual:

Simplicity is best when it comes to design (most of the time), and Inside proves it fully. While the environments are complex, they are straightforward and easily navigated.

The atmosphere is stark, surreal, and breathtaking. Inside is unpredictable in many ways, and as players traverse its levels, you'll find yourself being awestruck more and more as the game progresses.

All of this is highlighted by excellent sound design. No dialogue is used in the game, not even as a monologue to introduce us to the world or to cap off the ending. And it works perfectly.

Quality Verdict: Amazing (A)

Inside is an interesting journey. It packs a huge punch in its short length. It leaves you breathless. It never lets up. While its ending leaves you a bit wanting (and its not entirely Playdead's fault, as the experience is so amazing you'd never want it to end either way), it doesn't hinder the experience from being any less worthwhile.

Get the game. Have your mind blown. You won't regret it. 
Outro:

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this review. It's my first proper review in quite some time, and it feels good to be back in the swing of things.

Look for a new review sometime next week if all goes well. Things are still crazy outside of the blog, so I might not be able to make it for the next Wednesday. However, don't be afraid to tune in come Monday for an update on the state of things.

This is KVR signing out, wishing you a good week ahead, a wonderful weekend, and safe travels.

Stay safe, and happy gaming.

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