GDC 2019 Hands-On IMPRESSIONS: Silver Chains

Friday, April 5th, 2019

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Silver Chains | Logo

Publisher(s): Head Up Games (ID@Xbox title)
Platform(s): Xbox, One, PlayStation 4, Switch, PC (Steam)
Release Date: Q3 2019
Website


Silver Chains is an ID@Xbox first-person horror game that has no combat in it. You play as Peter, who explores inside an abandoned mansion that dates back to the very early part of the 1900’s while looking for his family. As there is no fighting in Silver Chains, Peter has to solve puzzles and hide himself away from the supernatural beings that will try to kill him.

Silver Chains | Residence

The mansion Peter explores has been abandoned since the early 1900’s. (Image courtesy of Head Up Games).

The biggest thing that Silver Chains gets right is a super freaky atmosphere that the development team, Cracked Heads Games, really nailed. This is truly a dilapidated and run-down abandoned mansion and it feels like no one has lived here in over one-hundred years with the wallpaper and paint peeling, the rotted flooring and walls, and the dust particles that fly through the air as you explore the rooms. The gameplay’s focus in Silver Chains is exploration and puzzles. During my hands-on demo, I found a lot of notes scattered throughout the residence about, for instance, the supernatural ghosts affecting the residences of the house to cause all of the maids to quit. These literary touches really serve to frame the coming content of actually encountering the supernatural beings who will try to kill you and to help solve puzzles. Speaking of the puzzles, they themselves are not too difficult to solve if you’re not directionally challenged like I am. Among other puzzles, I had to figure out how to obtain a lantern to light up dark passages, find a key to unlock a chest, slide a chest along a wall to try to grab a key through a mini-game, and locate pieces of a picture in order to reassemble the image.

Silver Chains | Ghosts

There is no combat in Silver Chains, as the game instead focuses on exploration and puzzle-solving. (Images courtesy of Head Up Games).

Silver Chains | Ghosts

Finally, there is the supernatural to deal with in Silver Chains. To be quite blunt, there are ghosts present in this mansion who love both jump scares and to be as creepy as possible. Whether there is a small girl facing the corner of the kitchen talking to herself, a ghastly hand clutching your arm as you try to retrieve a paper boat from a blood-filled bathtub, or ‘Mother’ suddenly coming out a downstairs room to chase after you, there is plenty of supernatural elements to keep you on the edge of your chair as this story-driven game unwinds. The ghosts are well done, and they clearly figure into both Peter’s plot and into the messages from 1900 that he keeps finding throughout the residence. I was quite fascinated to see them interact on almost a personal level with Peter, and I cannot help but feel that they are tied to him somehow. All that said, I still thought it was mildly ridiculous that I could hide in a closet to get away from ‘Mother’ chasing me up the stairs in order to kill me.

Silver Chains | Closet

To hide from the supernatural in Silver Chains, Peter has to find places like this closet to hide in. (Image courtesy of Head Up Games).

By the time I finished the demo, I had forgotten that I was in a quite public place at a Microsoft event, as I was totally enraptured by the world of Silver Chains and I was quite freaked out by it. Silver Chains is a very scary game, and no one should go into it thinking otherwise. And if you’re into that type of game, then that is quite high praise indeed.



Are you a fan of horror-supernatural games like Silver Chains? Are you planning on picking it up when it comes out? 

Let us know in the comments below!

About Quentin H.

Likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. And video games. Cannot forget those video games. Anime too. Should not forget that either.