Clever and terrifying
The first in a somewhat turbulent series of survival horror games that aimed to pay tribute to Silent Hill and Resident Evil, but in first person perspective, Penumbra is pretty decent addition to the genre which is well worth a closer look. The other games, Black Plague and Requiem are also worth following too, as the story spreads across all three, and you'll want to know how it all ends. Players take the role of Phillip, a fairly ordinary man who learns of his long lost father following his mother's death. After receiving a letter from his father and charged with destroying some mysterious notes, Phillip embarks on an epic journey to Greenland which eventually finds him delving into a disturbing past in a shadowy complex brimming with secrets. What follows is a first person adventure, that focuses on survival horror but with a more puzzle oriented approach than usual and with less overt action. The puzzles here are generally clever and challenging, requiring thorough investigation of the environment in order to solve. Combat is generally best avoided but instead you are encouraged to set traps or to use stealth to survive and which makes the game even more interesting. Penumbra really is quite a decent entry into an overcrowded and difficult genre. There is a fantastic atmosphere on display here, with some genuinely creepy and unsettling environments which are almost guaranteed to disturb and thrill. The focus on puzzles is interesting too and largely successful, thanks to their inventive integration into the gameplay, so overall this is quite the little treat.