When you play games in the dark, you expect to be scared. Slender Man did it well with jumpscares, but in Apparition, it makes the scares slow burning until it suddenly strikes. It's a notable difference. A BIG notable difference.
You are a paranormal investigator. You're investigating the murders of 2000's-era killer “Plague”. You set off into the woods alone with a candle, because in this universe, apparently assistants and flashlights aren't a thing. And because you're hip, you rely on social media to find these instead of, say, police reports and the news. It's a familiar creeper/night game to anyone who has played Slender Man – you find monsters I the dark. Pretty forward, but hey, it works for what it is.
This being a preview instead of a straight up review because of the release date being on Halloween, I don't want to spoil it too much, but I'll say what I can: Gameplay is simple: Go out into the dark woods with cabins, find evidence, find monster, get some pictures, run back to the car before you die. You may have to find clues, hide from the monsters, consult a Ouija board and several other things I did in the Beta. And honestly, it works. I know it's every horror cliché in one, but with the lights out, and only hearing breathing from this monster as you stumble around – it works, even better than Slender Man in some ways. You're actually being hunted here, and you have to use wit and skill to get out of it often, not simply just running away.
Controls are very similar to games like Slender Man. It's 3rd person exploring in the dark, with only a bit more interaction with things. It works.
The graphics aren't bad. They aren't photo realistic, but they're often wavering between Portal 2 and GTA V levels of realism, which is nice – it helps that the darkness shrouds a lot of it. It's also pretty detailed – the the nicks and scratches on everything from tables to games makes it that much more authentic.
There's no real music to speak of, but there IS ambient sound. Like the tropes used in game, it's all standard horror stuff: Ground crunches, monster growls, sounds of footsteps behind you, thunderclaps, leaves rustling. The only thing out of that was the musical stings, which alerted you when something big happened – which is ALSO a horror trope. All together it was creepy and didn't really detract from the game.
Despite being a beta, I didn't really see any bugs in it, nor was there much lag. There's a pretty big area of woods and cabins, but in no part of that did it slow down at least once – even the candle effects seemed to happen naturally compared to a buggy version of flames suddenly appearing.
I can't give a score here since it's a preview, but I have to say that Apparition looks good. It has its problems, but overall it's a pretty scary game that's also fun. It can be repetitive, especially it terms of what you need to do to escape, but the overarching stories throw in enough change ups. From what I've seen so far, I'd say it's worth a shot.
The game software was provided by the game's publisher for the purpose of this preview.