Story - Magic Hour
Layers of Fear 2 takes place aboard a British cruise liner carving its way across the Atlantic Ocean. It's the perfect place for a ghost story. Bloober transforms the liner into a haunted house fraught with danger and weirdness, but the developer's true skill lies in the execution of this transformation.
When you play this game you surrender yourself to it completely. You're led along like a rat in a maze. You have no choice but to trust Bloober Team as they guide you through their twisted tale of horror, woe, and redemption. This journey goes deep into a broken psyche of a mysterious actor trying to reveal who they actually are, delving deep into the very soul of their being.
Throughout the seemingly random weirdness, there's a beating heart that binds everything together. Masterfully-crafted symbolism winds its way through everything like an undercurrent flowing just below the surface, bringing strong meaning to everything you see, do, and uncover.
The story is actually tear-inducing and filled with real human drama that's exemplified and brought to life with such striking imagery that it pervades your heart and mind.
I found myself tearing up a few times because of how immersed I was in the experience. The game made me care about the character because I not only controlled them, but I also watched sequences that pulled me out of the captain's chair and set me firmly in the audience. You'll often find fragments laying around that piece together the story and pull at your heartstrings even more, and I found myself constantly searching for more tidbits just to give me more understanding.
It's how the story is told that gives it power and meaning, and Bloober Team uses everything from an always-shifting environment to flashback sequences, metaphors, and a rich flowing vein of symbolism to deliver a very potent and memorable experience.
The story arc is profound, unique, and haunting because it's a personal, human tale interspersed with a dark terror straight out of reality. In many ways, real life is scarier than fantasy, but in Layers of Fear 2, you don't always know what's real and what's a figment of your imagination.
That's half of the fun.