Protocol Games’ Song of Horror Complete Edition bundles all five episodes into one convenient package. Well, kind of convenient. Make sure you’ve got the 1.01 update before playing, otherwise you’ll be experiencing another kind of horror.
If you, like me, enjoy a couple of gothic novels, then Song of Horror is something you should consider getting your hands on. With creative difficulty names like E.T.A Hoffman for easy and the controversial horror legend H.P Lovecraft for the nightmare mode, it isn’t like Protocol Games is hiding its inspiration for this gritty tale.
Release Date: May 27th, 2021 (PSN) July 16th (UK Retail)
Developer: Protocol Games
Publisher: Raiser Games
Availability: PSN, Retail – Buy on Amazon
Throughout the game’s five chapters, you’re given the chance to take control of over a dozen playable characters. Each unfortunate soul you get to control has their own skills as well as an item which will hopefully help you against the creepy monster called ‘The Presence’ whose only job is to get in your way. Charming.
This crafty AI was ready to make my life a living hell with its tedious mini-games and playing hide and seek behind every door so that when I opened a door, the monster would jump out and hug me back into the abyss.
I say tedious, as the first couple of times I enjoyed learning the new mini-games which were introduced with each episode. They added their fair share of tension, as well as making me press my ear against every door, cranking up the volume on my headset to make sure Mr Presence wasn’t waiting on the other side.
The mini-games got old fast, and after holding your breath or calming your heartbeat for the dozenth time, it just gets a bit annoying as it gets between you and progression.
You will be searching across the maps to solve many of the genius puzzles that Protocol Games has provided. Although the puzzles themselves were fun to solve (even if I got mad at many of them!) having to backtrack to find something you may have missed was the very opposite. I found that as the map got bigger each episode, this became a more frequent problem and with The Presence looking to make that ten times harder, frustration took over as I lost character after character on silly mistakes.
Losing characters will drive you mad depending on the difficulty you play on. Each episode provides you with a fresh set of faces to ruin as well as the main character of the game Daniel Noyer. I sort of felt bad for Daniel, he’s a failed businessman, an alcoholic, and his wife has left him and now he’s being cursed by some music box? Poor guy…
By using the other characters as cannon fodder, you can protect Daniel throughout Song of Horror as you won’t even need to use him. If Daniel dies then get ready to play the episode all over again, yes that means even if you were near the end of puzzle-solving you’ll be doing it all again.
Luckily, I never faced this problem as I managed to only kill off the minor characters, but even still, running back to where they had died to pick up your stuff is just another chance to die again.
Another chance at sabotage are the janky controls. They weren’t as bad as other games I’ve played but they were still a pain to get used to. This was all caused by the set third-person camera angles which may show off the incredibly detailed environments but they will also have you walking into every object in your way. Be prepared to wage wars on the stairs as the angle switches midway up and you start walking down them again.
Song of Horror has a total of five episodes but If you get the disc version of the game and have no means of updating then you’ll only be able to experience three of them if you happen across the game-breaking bug that delayed this review by almost a month. This is because, before the recent update, Episode 4 was essentially broken.
Every time I would walk through a door (and there are many doors) I would get an error screen saying the game struggled to save and then ten minutes later, my console would turn itself off. When I booted the game up again all of my save data was gone. This happened twice before I gave up and decided to leave it with the fear that my PS4 may explode.
Thankfully, this has been fixed but It’s a shame for anyone like myself who was intrigued by the story of Song of Horror up to this point, and if you can’t update past this game-breaking bug then you physically can’t view the ending of the game. I’ll say it again for those at the back – UPDATE TO VERSION 1.01!
Overall, I enjoyed my time playing Song of Horror. It has an amazing story that any horror fan will enjoy. The mini-games and puzzles, although repetitive, did add to the overall gameplay as well as the variety of spooks. Just make sure that if you wish to meet the end of these beautifully drawn cutscenes that you update your game to version 1.01 so that you can finally get past Episode 4.
Song of Horror Complete Edition PS5, PS4 Review
- Overall - Good - 6/106/10
Song of Horror has the potential to be a great game for fans of dark, gothic horrors. There’s a great story to be told and the ominous atmosphere, randomly generated scares, and some genius puzzles will keep you coming back time and again – providing you can overlook the janky controls, camera, and some technical issues.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS4. Reviewed using PS4 Slim.