There’s No Light demo | Preview in 7 Screenshots

Look, I played fifteen demos for this thing (my own edification, entertainment, desperate need for engagement). They couldn’t have all been winners, right? Yep. Of them, There’s No Light was the biggest stinker.

There’s No Light is set in an extremely animu take on Metro. People live underground, the Central Station is the center of humanity… and then it goes straight into animated Japanese woodcarvings territory, as everyone fights with melee weapons, the central conflict involves The Church of Hand and Moon Order, and everything’s goofily grimdark. That dude up there is drinking from a puddle.
One thing I will give There’s No Light: the art is really good. There’s certainly love put into detailing the environments (the puddle drinker is animated), be it stations you visit or the corpse-strewn areas in-between. Too bad about the gameplay.
The combat in There’s No Light involves… well, hitting people until they stop moving. Enemies indicate whether their attack will be interruptible or not. It doesn’t always work – dogs always seem to be able to strike you before you interrupt – and it’s all boring even if you’re trying to fill the Rage meter (hitting inanimate objects in the environment is explicitly stated to help) to unleash a stronger boring attack. There’s also something about your weapons breaking, prompting mid-fight switching, but in all my flailing, I only managed to do it once.
Of course, your broken anime-titled weapons regenerate, otherwise this ability tree wouldn’t make much sense. This is also probably the ugliest damn screen in the game.
The skill screen – opened by stepping into some deathly jaws – is supposed to represent this guy. He’s your constant companion, like Morte, but insufferable. He’s introduced by berating you for every dialogue choice (which tie into the morality system) you made in the first station you visited. He has a very anime nihilist take on things, which has always been and will forever be mightily grating. It’s probably the single point that tanked my good will for the game the most.
I also experienced a steady drip of good will erosion by reading letters, which show (in the third-best writing ESL can muster) pointlessly grim dark vignettes of the world interspersed with one of my personal pet peeves: absolute lack of regard for military unit size designations. Solar Corps exists as an organization in the game, but in this letter, “corps” also used to denote what I presume to be a squad or platoon size formations. Terrible.
Death is not the end in There’s No Light, as you just respawn at the last jaws you entered… and you have to fight all the enemies past that point again. That sucks, and I can’t say that the rest of the game engages in anything but suction related activities either.
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