Your Writer: Regulus
Top 3 Favorite Games: Destiny 2, Destiny 2, Destiny 2
Favorite Genre: MMOFPS
Recently Finished: Destiny 2, Dead by Daylight
Currently Playing: Destiny 2, Warframe
Bio: I love the intricate lore that comes out of video games and the complex worlds that are built around the narratives. That’s why I write these bite-sized summaries: so I can share with you the love I have for the worlds built by video games!
Imagine yourself in a seemingly normal funeral home, recently abandoned thanks to mysterious events. You are Linda, a girl determined to investigate why. You start out in a dark lobby with only a flashlight to see. Nothing else, not even a map to guide you. Despite rumors of disappearances, murders, and hauntings, you remain undeterred and begin your search for the truth. No noise around you except your footsteps. You turn a corner as your heartbeat spikes…and BAM! A ghost appears, and the frame cuts to black as you die from the encounter. This is Black Rose.
Black Rose is a first-person free-to-play horror game taking place in the haunted funeral home Linda is investigating. With a similar feel as Resident Evil and Dark Souls, you find items and clues like letters written by past workers that explain what happened while the home was still active. Objects that help you progress will also be hidden around, albeit rare to find. One of these items, given at the start, is the baby monitor, a device that sends messages during certain points of the game. Your objective is to explore the entire area to find out who or what is causing the hauntings.
The part of the game revolving around the police station has the strongest Resident Evil 2 connection. The funeral home area is large and has much to explore, with some sections locked until you find the right key or figure out how to break it down. There are two hauntings: Myrtle Vanworth and Sullivan James, who will both try to kill you. Myrtle kills you if she catches you or if you look directly at her for too long, while Sullivan chases you until you are caught, loses you, or magically vanishes. Both enemies are similar to Resident Evil’s Tyrant or Nemesis enemy that stalks and follows you to kill you. They wander around the funeral home searching for you, while you flee and pray.
As a horror game, Black Rose has two primary playstyles: Quickly completing the story, or taking risks to boost your score. While the first method is easily understandable, the second may need explanation. You earn points based on your proximity to enemies while playing. Mild brushes give points, but more points are awarded the closer you are. Being close enough to nearly die is dubbed a close call, which grants the most points. If you aren’t careful, however, you may find yourself waking up at an earlier checkpoint where your score resets to what it was at that particular moment.
Black Rose has two primary issues. One of them is graphics, which while not really affecting gameplay, does take away from the fright, especially compared to higher-budget games. For example, the image of Myrtle Vanworth does not live up to its potential. The jump scares from here are more terrifying than her actual face render. The second issue is the checkpoint system, specifically the distances between them. At some points, the dread some enemies caused was fueled more by the possibility of having to repeat a huge swath of the game rather than by the enemies themselves. Even when it’s not difficult to redo segments, it’s annoying and frustrating to find yourself in a critical situation right before the next checkpoint. More checkpoint areas would help avoid such tedious repetition. Basically, it’s easy to redo stuff, but it gets annoying when you’re so close to the next checkpoint. You could be so close to winning but the ghosts catch you or you get trapped.
Overall, the game has been fun and frightening. As a discovery and stealth game, it does a great job setting up perfect jump scares. The story itself presents an amazing yet simple narrative of love and loss. As a fan of Resident Evil, Black Rose does a great job of mimicking Resident Evil 2’s style in one of its most popular levels. Considering that it’s free to play, it punches well above its weight.