Horror is, without a doubt, one of my favourite genres, especially when it comes to videogames. My first exposure to Silver Chains was with its reveal trailer, which immediately gave me Resident Evil 7 vibes, piquing my interest in the title.
Silver Chains opens with the player character (Peter), waking up in a seemingly abandoned Victorian-era, English-style manor, without any recollection of how he got there. Like any good exploratory horror game, the simple setup and reliance on the amnesic hero trope allow players to grasp the truth behind the strange manor gradually.
Speaking of Amnesic heroes, Silver Chains feels similar to games such as Amnesia: The Dark Descent, with an atmosphere more reminiscent of titles such as the aforementioned, Resident Evil 7. Outlast and Alien: Isolation also comes to mind, as Silver Chains feature several sequences in which the player must hide from otherworldly threats that loom about the old manor. Silver Chains forgoes traditional collectables in favour of a healthy dose of mementoes, such as diary entries and old photographs that flesh out the story and often, feature Peter’s own thoughts narrated to the player.
Early on, players will have their first encounter with Silver Chain’s most significant threat to the player, the ghastly and gaunt matriarchal resident of the household. Like some of the titles mentioned above, Silver Chains does not feature any combat. Instead, players will have to find places to hide or simply run away whenever they encounter any hostiles within the manor. Overall, the title does a good job in keeping up this cat and mouse dynamic as players progress through the mansion.
Silver Chains is a good looking game, everything from the old and chipped paint on the walls to the creepy and atmospheric sound effects lends in creating a believable, gothic setting. At the best of times, Silver Chains feels like reading a victorian-era novel, such as Dracula, particularly, in the sequences that have the player come across diary entries or snippets of written text.
Unfortunately, some of the delivery in the game can come off feeling half-hearted, or at the very least, uninspired, specifically, in reference to some of Peter’s lines in the game. Thankfully, Silver Chains is ultimately more about its atmosphere and its reliance on classic survival horror tropes, that make the game truly shine.
Silver Chains doesn’t do much in terms of new ideas or concepts; however, what it does, it does well. I enjoyed my time with Silver Chains, but during my playthrough, I couldn’t help but compare it with other titles within the same genre. What I mean by this, is that Silver Chains will likely only appeal to a niche audience, those who enjoy slower-paced romps, where often, seeing is more important than doing.
One of the most appealing aspects to me in videogames is the ability to explore and engage with stuff around the game world. Unfortunately, despite a strong and well-realized setting, Silver Chains lacks in the things-to-interact with department. In other words, the game seldom features branching paths or optional areas. In fact, most of the game world within Silver Chains is static, meaning players can only interact with specific objects, often those associated with progression.
Silver Chains is a game I recommend for those who like horror and exploration-driven games. The game is best played in short bursts, throughout a couple of nights with a good pair of headphones and perhaps, a nice cup of tea. Readers looking for a game that revolutionizes the horror genre or provides something new, maybe disappointed by how familiar Silver Chains sticks to already, well-established horror game tropes.