Imaginative Spooks: DXC2: Charlotte’s Exile
The things we do for love eh? Be it the emotional support needed through their darkest moments, helping them become the best versions of themselves or saving them from the clutches of Lovecraftian horrors. I know, I had to do one of these things very recently and trust me. I have never been the same since! At long last media has been able to depict what I had to go, and it’s bloody terrifying.
Bring her back to life before she comes undone:
Charlotte has vanished, kidnapped by some outer god. Charlotte’s husband’s only clue to bring her is a scrap of paper. Supposedly detailing the means of saving someone from an elder god. One late night, occupied only by the ticking of the clock, the husband tries to rescue his wife. But he is not alone. The husband’s voice actor is not good, he sounds just a little too jolly for the situation at hand. He seems to take his wife’s kidnapping and ramblings of elder gods like it's some cute joke. Fortunately voice acting is minimal and the game doesn't suffer from it.
Charlotte’s Exile is pretty f**king brilliant. The sound design is perfect, the ticking of the clock creates an atmosphere of whale blubber. Each tick is an intrusion on your mind, something that invades your personal space and reminds that time is of the essence. The box opens with a penetrating bang; the monster's screech hurts the ears and sends shivers down the spine. The sound design does everything in power to unsettle the player, to keep them on edge, to stress them out. The game is quite scary as a result.
The gameplay is pretty simple; you have to translate the language by connecting the letter to the word. All you need is reading skills and deductive reasoning. There is a monster in the library. It moves close to you every time you look away (which has to be done to complete the game). If the monster gets too close then the player is railroaded into a bad ending. The monster hacks into that strange but never the less powerful source of horror: what can kill only moves when we are not looking.
Charlotte’s Exile is extremely successful at making the player feel helpless; you cannot prevent the monster from reaching you, only delay it. Sooner or later that monster is going to reach you and if you don’t pay attention then you will fail. The constant threat posed by the monster is powerful. The basic (but effective) gameplay loop adds so much tension to the game.
Charlotte’s excellent sound design and simple (but effective) mechanics makes this entry in the Dread X Collection 2 one of the best!
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