Horror Review

Alone In The Dark (2024) – Review

Considered one of the original survival horror games, Alone in the Dark (1992) was the blueprint for the genre for many years. Sadly, later installments received progressively worse reviews until the series seemingly died out. Pieces Interactive aims to break that poor reputation with this reimagining of the original survival horror royalty in Alone in the Dark (2024).

Alone in the Dark 2024 - Tower in the Distance

A Disturbing Letter

Set in the 1920s, Private detective Edward Carnaby is employed by Emily Hartwood to accompany her to the Derceto Estate due to a disturbing letter sent to her from her uncle Jeremy.

Upon arriving at the estate, Edward and Emily are met by a curious cast of residents who mention that Jeremy is missing and had been acting strange before then. It isn’t long after the frosty reception that Edward and Emily realize there is a lot more going on at the estate than they first anticipated.

Alone in the Dark 2024 - Edward Climbing a Ladder

Reimagine And Revisit

As a “reimagining” of the 1992 original, Alone in the Dark (2024) takes aspects from that original game and builds on them. It goes into more detail on what brought Edward and Emily to the estate and the reasons behind the events of the game, with changes made where needed. The Derceto Estate for example is now a medical facility for the “mentally fatigued”, whereas before it was a mysterious mansion that belonged to Emily’s uncle. These touches add some welcome depth to the story of Edward and Emily. There is also now a cast of side characters throughout the story who aren’t quite what they seem, while the 1992 original was almost entirely focused on Edward and Emily, with other characters only mentioned in notes throughout.

Alone in the Dark (2024) expands further on the occult themes and eldritch horror which became more prevalent later on in the franchise. Not only does the game deal with mental illness, but it delves into pirate curses, voodoo, and even Egyptian dark magic. Despite how on the surface it sounds thrown together, it works well all tied together tightly and in a well-written way. It kept me well and truly invested in the tale from start to finish, and even had me doubting the sanity of Edward and Emily as well as what was real and what was not.

What I enjoyed so much about the story in this game was that I could never guess where exactly it was taking me. The story played with my expectations, particularly as someone coming in from the 1992 original. The newer content felt naturally inserted into the story of the 1992 game rather than feeling like forced extra content. It’s almost like a director’s cut or a fully realized version of that iconic title.

The diary entries, notes, and visual storytelling throughout were engaging. There are additional items to be found throughout the game that also give you further lore and promote multiple playthroughs as you can only collect them all through playing the game as both Emily and Edward.

My only gripe with the story is how it doesn’t drastically differ depending on which character you play. Alone in the Dark (2024) sees whichever character you choose to take the same route with only a few changes to cutscenes and how characters react to you, rather than seeing the other side of the story.

Alone in the Dark 2024 - Edward Finds a Withdrawn Man

Wandering The Grounds

Alone in the Dark (2024) is a third-person survival horror game, with a mixture of exploration, puzzle-solving, and combat. Each chapter locks off different areas of the manor and its grounds to help focus on exploring exactly where you need to be, rather than having the full grounds open for aimless wandering. Don’t worry, you’ll still find plenty of chances to get lost throughout!

As mentioned, the game has two playable characters, Edward Carnaby who those who played the other games in the series will be familiar with, and Emily Hartwood who fans haven’t seen since the 1992 original. There aren’t any real gameplay differences between the characters. Instead, the weapons are just visually different.

Options are always good to have and Alone in the Dark (2024) offers two sets of controls. There are modern controls for those who are familiar with modern third-person controls and more traditional “tank” controls for fans of the older style.

Alone in the Dark 2024 - Workshop

Combat Compliments

Combat has thankfully seen a massive improvement since the original release, and is frankly the best combat that has been seen throughout the whole franchise. That said, this isn’t much of a compliment. The franchise has been riddled with some god-awful combat throughout, but here the developers have taken what has worked in other games and crafted a well-working, albeit basic, combat system.

The shooting can be summed up as simple third-person shooting with over-the-shoulder aiming. It features a roster composed of a handgun, shotgun, and a tommy gun. All the weapons have great feedback and have that certain oomph a weapon in a horror game needs to have for impact.

The melee is a callback to the original games. While there are many different weapons you can have, such as an axe, candlestick, and shovel, there doesn’t seem to be much, if any, difference in damage output. You have two different strengths of swing and all weapons have durability, meaning you’ll be switching them often. It’s worth pointing out that there is also a dodge button, but I only felt the need to use it in a handful of encounters.

Topping off combat you’ve got items that can be found around the world that are throwables, or “opportunity’ items as the game dubs them. These range from bricks to molotov cocktails. Notable are bottles of alcohol which set alight if shot quickly afterward. Fire is incredibly useful in tougher combat scenarios and genuinely felt like a callback to one of my guiltiest pleasures, Alone in the Dark: Inferno (AKA 2008). Intentionally or not, it felt like a useful and impactful combat tool without going wildly out of control or being completely rubbish like in the aforementioned game.

You might ask why I feel the combat is so good in Alone in the Dark (2024). It’s that it fits. Combat is basic enough that it’s believable that a private detective or “normal” person could be in this situation and fight the way they do. It also isn’t constant, so it feels impactful when you do have to fight. Beyond that, it’s all functional and works well which hasn’t always been the case in this series.

The only drawback with the combat is the two boss fights. Both just feel phoned in and commit the usual sins of being spongy and requiring you to shoot obvious weak points. They’re not completely detrimental to the game, but it weakens the overall impact of the combat nuance.

While not combat itself, a feature that ties in is the option to stealth by monsters. It’s an incredibly simple system where you move slowly and crouch, stay out of sight, and use the throwables to distract enemies. This might sound good enough, but there are only a few times it’s actually viable, and even then it feels like an afterthought. It made me wonder if they’re just putting in a half-baked effort to try and appeal to the stealth-based horror fans that have developed since Amnesia took the world by storm many moons ago.

Alone in the Dark 2024 - A Cluttered Room

Why Do Mansions Always Have Puzzles?

As with practically every survival horror game, there are puzzles to solve. These either grant you access to new areas or unlock items to achieve your goal. There are more than enough head-scratchers here throughout the five chapters to go alongside navigating the estate and its death-soaked grounds.

Sadly, variety isn’t the spice of life in 1920’s New Orleans. The puzzles tend to be either sliding puzzles where you’ll be trying to line pictures up properly or number puzzles solved using a book you find quite early on. There are other types of puzzles sprinkled throughout here and there, but none more prevalent than those types.

What I appreciated with Alone in the Dark (2024) is how customizable the experience is. You can tweak features such as hints on your map, items glowing, and hints given to you. This lets you tailor how puzzling the game is to more of an old-school hardcore experience or a focused, streamlined, ‘modern’ affair. Couple this with the three difficulty options and the control options, and you have a fully customizable experience for newcomers, old-school gamers, and masochists alike.

The game clocked in at just over six hours for my first playthrough, which is about the sweet spot for a horror title. It didn’t feel like it was wearing out its welcome, but it was certainly cutting it close. Naturally, there is the second playthrough with the other character, mopping up the collectibles for extra lore and seeing the different cutscenes. The puzzles and areas remain the same though, so that drastically cuts down your repeat playthrough time.

Alone in the Dark 2024 - Emily Played by Jodie Comer

Needs Some Polish

I did come across a few technical and performance issues with the title. To be clear, I’m playing this in the review window before launch day so they may or may not be patched by release. While not completely damaging, some did affect my overall experience with the game.

I experienced the game crashing four times throughout my first playthrough, and around the same on my second. This mostly happened at the start of chapters, but fortunately just after a save. I didn’t lose too much progress aside from one late-game crash which put me back before one of the two boss fights.

Key items would randomly reappear within the world. This is not a major issue, but was a little immersion-breaking. I would stumble across these, try to collect them thinking they were needed again, and be met with an “X item is already full” message.

Finally, be it budget constraints or polish left until the last minute, the last hour of the game felt like it was falling to pieces. Frame rates would dive, graphics would be glitchy, and movement would get sluggish as I would clip onto bits of the scenery. Some set pieces also wouldn’t work as intended on occasion, but they would then work if I died or reset that section. It gave the last section of the game a rushed feel to it and, as a result, sullied my feelings towards a game that up to that point I couldn’t lavish enough praise on. While I imagine most of this is patchable, I do feel there is quite a shift in pacing in that final run that feels at odds with the finely crafted experience up until that point.

Alone in the Dark - Overgrowth in the Manor

Atmospheric And Haunting

In the audiovisual department, Alone in the Dark (2024) is an incredibly mixed bag. I wouldn’t say it looks like a strong current-generation title, but it isn’t exactly a slouch either. First, I’ll discuss what I feel was the weakest aspect of the presentation and that’s the character models.

THQ Nordic and Pieces Interactive had the budget to hire celebrities to lend both their appearance and vocal talents to the two main characters. David Harbour of Stranger Things and Black Widow fame plays Edward Carnaby, and Jodie Comer of Killing Eve and Free Guy plays Emily Hartwood. The other members of the cast are all original characters and you can tell, they all have distinctly downgraded facial expressions and look almost like they were ported over from another game in comparison to the main stars of the show.

Monster variety is slightly lacking. While there is a huge improvement on the 1992 original that gave us the infamous “Zombie Chicken”, it feels like there are only a few enemy types. Of the two “boss” monsters, one feels haunting while the other just feels like more standard fare. Considering how much this game leans into voodoo and eldritch horror, it could have had a few more beasties to help your descent into madness.

Talking about the descent into madness, Alone in the Dark (2024) oozes atmosphere in an amazing way. One technique it uses for this is to have the world warp as you explore it. You can walk through a room only for it to transform into a pit from hell or the middle of a storm.

Alone in the Dark 2024 - Edward And Emily Speaking

An uneasy feeling is built as the manor is falling into disrepair and supernatural events are hitting you thick and fast, while seemingly having zero effect on the world around you. It’s almost like it’s exclusively happening to you. Dust-caked halls are littered with bizarre artwork, and the layout of the manor and its ground do give off the feeling this could be a real location. This only furthers the horror when things start to go wrong. It left me feeling as if lost out at sea, longing for the halls that I had just recently wandered trying to solve a puzzle.

The ambient music is engrossing and helps to further the uneasy feeling that clings throughout. Just the slow, haunting music as you walk around, hearing taps leak and floorboards creak, it draws you into the world in such a masterful way. This is occasionally broken by the combat music that harms the tension by tipping you off that combat will soon ensue.

I wasn’t in love with the voice acting. I am aware that the main characters are played by professional and very successful actors, but they just didn’t come across like they were ever phased by anything that happened in the game. Their acting felt flat and forced. Other characters leaned more into the campy horror archetypes and put on a great performance.

Alone in the Dark 2024 - Clown Ornament


While not a complete triumph, falling down in the same places as many other survival horror titles, and a rather iffy last act to boot, there is still so much to fall in love with in Alone in the Dark (2024). It is a must-play for horror fans and would also make an excellent pool to dip your toe into if you’re new to the genre, with the fantastic options on offer to make the game as accessible or as masochistic as you need it to be.

Alone in the Dark (2024) is exactly what this dormant series needed after the deathblow that was Alone in the Dark: Illumination. It sticks to what made the series famous with classic horror clichés, hammy acting, a great atmosphere, and an engrossing mystery. It’s not only a fantastic stand-alone title, but is in the upper echelons of reimaginings, leaning on the original title where it counts, but not enough to make it a crutch. It adds its unique ideas to further the experience and gives gamers a true dark-fantasy horror that would please any avid fans of Lovecraft. In the end, when it comes to horror it’s all about drawing you into the atmosphere and despite its issues Alone in the Dark (2024) has perfected that element.


Platforms: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S

If you are looking for another horror title, you might enjoy our reviews of Nie No Hakoniwa or Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle.

Thank you to THQ Nordic for providing a PlayStation 5 review code for Alone in the Dark (2024).

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