inside review xbox one
Inside: Review (Xbox One)
Okay, hands up: who here liked the original Limbo by Playdead? Show of hands? Yes, most everyone loved Limbo from 2010.
But here we are in 2016, and Playdead’s most recent showing, Inside, has just released on Xbox One and soon PC. The internet has been on fire, tearing its collective hair out, talking about Inside being an early game of the year contender.
Let’s everyone calm down.
Inside almost starts off identical to Limbo: you’re dropped into a dark forest and are running from left to right. It’s so similar, I immediately started running to the left to see if you could or I would get an achievement for doing so like you did in the original Limbo (how did I remember that?). You are, yet again, a small boy. However, this time around, as opposed to the glowy-eyed boy from Limbo, you’re a small boy wearing a red shirt in Inside. See? WAY different.
As you start your run through the dark and spooky grayscale forest, running from left to right just like in Limbo, this time in Inside, it appears you’re on the run. You’re dodging patrolling guards and running from dogs being sicked on you. Just like in Limbo, Inside enjoys brutally murdering their children protagonists, so expect to have your child hero shot, stabbed, choked, ripped to pieces, blown apart in rather disturbing ways. Not sure what’s going on over at Playdead, but they sure love exacting death on kids over there!
No one says a word in Inside apart from the child hero’s random grunts of exertion from pulling levers, pushing blocks and interacting with the environment to continue your quest of running from left to right. What is so special over there on the right? Who can say? The “story” unfolds around you as a child running from forest, through a bizarre research facility and then out the other side. Why is this happening? Who is the child? Who are these random bad people in masks conducting these weird mind-control experiments on truckloads of docile people? Sorry, no backstory there, you’re going to have to piece that together yourself. If anything I took away from all of this is that Inside has to have something to do with the story of Limbo, because the mysterious “worms that burrow into a person’s head to allow mind control” make a quick return in Inside.
So without spoiling anything, you spend four hours, running from left to right, solving puzzles, taking in the bizarre environments around you, attempting to”¦escape? The environments are very well done, and the Playdead team has done an amazing job creating a head-scratching series of environments and puzzles inside the research facility for you to conquer.
The thing that people are going to be talking about is the final half hour of the game; it really pays off the rest of the game with a surprise twist, but the ending seems like fall flat. I have no attachment to this child at all at the end or whatever his plight might have been, because it’s never really explained. I’m sure some doctoral student is busy writing his dissertation on the genius that is Inside and all the subtle clues I missed in the environment that would explicitly tell me what the hell is going on. When I looked up the ending of Limbo after I was done, I was blown away at the implications. Here, I’m not sure we’re going to see something similar. Or, I could be wrong.
Inside is Limbo 2, plain and simple. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Inside being Limbo 2; there’s a definite feeling of their having taken a lot of the lessons learned from Limbo and applying their six years of development time into Inside. However, you would think with six years, they might have added a smidge more. It is an extremely short experience for $20, and no, I’m not doing the “if I’m spending X dollars, I expect Y number of hours” nonsense. Just know what you’re getting into when you’re going into Inside: it’s not a revolutionary experience, it’s just more of the same.