In January, one of the free games available on PS4 through the PS+ program was Uncanny Valley. Now, normally I don’t bother with the weird little indie games that they put up there, but Uncanny Valley is a horror adventure game. And when you’re me, “horror” and “free” are the magic words. One or the other will pique my attention, but both will guarantee a download.
The game begins in a nightmare scenario, wherein your guy wakes up in an alley and is subsequently mauled by shadow monsters. Then he wakes up in his home but the shadow monsters sack the place and maul him again. Then the game proper begins and you’re on the subway to a new job. You’ve been hired on as a night security guard at an abandoned office building. You get the tour and instructions from the morbidly obese day shift guard, Buck, and then you’re off to the races.
Now, Uncanny Valley is the type of game where your actions affect how the story plays out. I apparently did quite poorly, as I got a pretty awful ending. But that’s putting the horse in front of the cart. Gameplay consists of wandering throughout the office building for seven in-game hours each night. Then you can either retire to your bedroom to sleep, or continue wandering until you pass out. It seems like every time you fall asleep, you’re taken to a new dream sequence where you end up getting mauled by the shadows again. I don’t know if the mauling is inevitable or something I was screwing up, but I’m not sure I’ll ever find out the truth.
The first couple nights weren’t very exciting. I met the woman who is in charge up facility upkeep, Eve, and found a number of cassette tapes lying about. There was a safe in the 4th floor office that I had no key to, and I was able to turn on a number of computers to read through staff emails. Other than that, nothing happened. I guess I also learned that if you hold the right analog stick, it shows you how much time is left in your shift.
On night three, I found a tape deck and started listening to the cassettes that I’d collected, but then the power went off, and Buck told me that I’d have to go out to the generator to reset it. There was a puzzle on the generator that I was unable to solve, so when my guy passed out, I was put in control of Buck, who then had to go out to fix it himself. This is when the first spooky thing happened, and the screen faded to black as a scream rang out, following by a number of gory sounds.
When I woke up, there was an odd red light shining into my washroom, apparently coming in from the next room. But I couldn’t get into any of the other rooms, so that was a dead end. I opted not to go over to the generator room, just to see what would happen if I ignored it. Turns out, nothing at all. I listened to the rest of the cassettes, which had recording of a man speaking to an AI of some sort, and said AI apparently hurt a man whom she was getting to know fairly well. Seems like maybe that was what happened.
After listening to all the tapes, I hit my timer to see that my shift was over. My guy passed out though, and the next day when I checked my timer, the shift was already over again. Bluh? I spent the day exploring the few rooms I hadn’t been to yet, and the day after that, the timer still said my shift was over from the moment I woke up. So something had gone horribly wrong. Whether it was a bug or intentional, I do not know.
I walked down to the generator room to find Buck’s mangled corpse, but my guy did not react to it in the slightest. Weird. I felt the urge to end this madness as quickly as possible, so I went up to Buck’s room, stole his car keys, and attempted to take off his his car. But I was greeted by some hoodlums who I’d apparently wronged somehow, and they knocked me out and took me into the office. I woke up in some sort of production facility, and complied when they said not to move a muscle. Then the lights went out and there were screams and more gory noises. When the lights came back on, I wandered to the back of the room passing by the mutilated corpses of the hoodlums, and found Eve. Then she knocked me out.
I woke up in an idyllic-looking house, along with Eve. She said she loved me and we’d be happy together forever. Ruh-roh. I wandered over to the bathroom, where my guy was like “I bet I could break this mirror” so I did that and got a shard of glass. Then I went to the storage room and found a grate. Being an adventure game, I attempted to use the shard of glass to pry to grate open and escape, but my guy was standing too close and interpreted my action as wanting to use the glass on himself. And that’s how I ended up slicing my guy’s gut open.
When he woke up again, Eve had bandaged him up, and when I tried to walk away, my guy decided to try to sock her in the face. At which point she knocked him out. Again. Finally, he woke up strapped to the wall, with Eve explaining somberly how she had to make sure that he couldn’t hurt himself any more. So she hacked his limbs off one by one and cauterized the stumps with a blowtorch. Then she cuddled up to his mangled torso and said “I love you.”
I don’t know if I’ll play this game again to try to earn a
better different ending, but man, that went places. And here I was, playing just to try to do a good job at being the night guard.