The Church in the Darkness
Developed By : Paranoid Productions
Published By : Fellow Traveller
Category : Action, Adventure, Strategy
Release Date : Aug 2, 2019
For as long as they’ve been around, video games have been used as a medium for telling a story. Sometimes that story is more serious toned, and other times it’s a little fantastical, ranging from plumbers saving princesses, to outcasts saving their family from dire situations. The Church in the Darkness on the Nintendo Switch opts for a more serious story, in a setting that has not often been explored.
Welcome to the Collective Justice Mission. The leaders, Rebecca and Isaac Walker have created a utopia for their idealistic society. Initially set up in the US, they were labeled as radicals and decide to uproot themselves out of reach from the United States Government to South America, where they have now built Freedom Town.
The only problem is, the relatives of the Collective member’s are concerned, and now have no clue what’s going on in South America. Including you, Vic. You’re an ex-cop, and have snuck your way into Freedom Town in search of your nephew Alex. You’re not sure where he is, or even if he’ll want to leave, but no matter what you need to find him, whether he wants to leave or not.
The Church in the Darkness plays as a roguelike game. The map of Freedom Town always looks the same, as well as the vast majority of the grounds spread across it. Instead, what’s randomly generated in this game are the experiences you’ll have encountering other members of the town.
As you bust inside the lines looking for Alex, you’ll need to gauge the tension of the camp, and most specifically the feelings of it’s leaders. Isaac and Rebecca can start the game off with different personalities that basically boil down to both being good, both being bad, or one of each. It’s a fun system, but it runs it’s course after a few playthroughs.
A run of this game can be completed from anywhere as short from fifteen minutes, or it can extend to well over an hour, but it all comes down to how you decide to play. Will you be stealthy, navigating the grounds to find members who will talk to you, possibly assisting you? Or will you come in guns blazing and eliminate everyone that stands between you and your nephew.
Each time you spawn into the camp, you are bound to have a ton of fun. I actually started off playing this game confused because my first few times spawning on the map were in the exact location, so I thought I had mistaken some of the randomness. Turned out I was just having some dumb luck pulling the same location at first.
As for the mood inside the compound, it was nice to have a little variety every time you sneak in. Initially, you’re given the objective to meet up with a specific person who might help you, but this isn’t the only friend you can have. One of the skills you have is the ability to see every person’s field-of-vision cone. These cones present in different colors including green, red, orange, and yellow. Green cones indicate a person who just might help you if you can get close enough to them to talk (and are willing to). Or if you are just blood thirsty, you can lay these guys to waste too. The other cone colors, the best that I could tell, were mostly people who would be hostile against you if they detected you, and it also appeared to allude to the strength of their weapon.
The Church in the Darkness was one of the few games I did something abnormal for myself : I kept an eye on it after I had heard it’s announcement. The idea of this game was exciting and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. Now that I have, it didn’t fully live up to what I had thought it would, but it was a ton of fun nonetheless. I think the biggest upset for me (and relatively it’s a small one), was the audio featured in the game.
The voice acting is great, but my problem lay with the propaganda and how repetitive it got. No matter what scenario I seemed to load into, these speakers spewed the same lines over and over. On some of the longer runs I had, it even started to loop itself before I reached the end.
While it didn’t turn out exactly as I had anticipated, this game was still truly unique and a lot of fun. I loved the subject matter, because it’s only been tackled a few times. The most recent one that comes to mind is Far Cry 5, so to see it tackled and handled in this way was really cool. I do wish that there were more parameters to Isaac and Rebecca, to offer a bunch of different flavors while you played, but the fact that the entire camp/town essentially resets itself with each game makes sure you’ll get to play differently every time. So make sure you sneak your way into the eShop and get your copy as soon as possible.