This is the first game to ever make me scream like a girl and cower in fear. The Brookhaven Experiment is the most terrifying game I’ve ever played. Not just on PSVR. Not just on PS4. But ever. Granted, I don’t play that many horror games generally, but they’re not exactly foreign to me so I’m familiar with the genre.
While other horror games have gotten quick jumps out of me, they’re only doing it on a 2D screen. The Brookhaven Experiment surrounded me in fear and put me right in the middle of a nightmare. Thankfully, to escape the nightmare I could just push the home button or whip the PSVR off my face and pretend I was just kidding to my onlooking other half. But damn it hit me. It hit me hard.
The Brookhaven Experiment is a first-person survival horror game that puts you in the middle of a… Bad situation. That’s putting it lightly. The game’s story goes that an event has taken place that has caused horrid creatures to roam the world. That’s the short of it and to be honest, it’s probably the weakest part of the game. The narrative isn’t especially memorable but the gameplay most definitely is. I won’t be forgetting the first time I screamed like a tiny child during the first wave on the first level.
The game is played with the PS Move wand controllers, so you’re going to need them charged and ready before you fight off the hordes. Pro tip: keep the bloody things charged! Your left hand holds your trusty knife and with a push of the move button you can swap it out for a your torch. Handy stuff. There’s also the circle button which lets you turn 180 degrees. This is particularly useful as the game won’t be able to register your PS Move wand movements if you turn around to kill the monsters lurking behind you. Your right hand is where all the action happens (oh er) as this is where you’ll hold your gun. Well, if you’re right-handed at least, though there are options for left-handed players too.
In addition to the gun, knife, and torch combo, there’s a selection of side-weapons that can be used in your pursuit for survival. There’s proximity mines that can be chucked out in the hope they’ll take a zombie thing down. Then there’s grenades for clusters of the horrible sods. My favourite alternate weapon by far has to be the flare gun. The flare gun is fired up into the air so that it basks the area in a lovely blue light. It means you won’t need to point your torch around so you’ll save valuable battery power; if your batteries run out then you’re buggered as far as sight goes and you’ll just have to rely on hearing the shuffling feet of monsters as they stagger towards you before they burst into a sprint. Now that’s terrifying.
As you can imagine, you use the PS Move wands to point your gun, torch, or whatever in the direct you so desire. Each level places you in the middle of a designated area that you must defend. Monsters can and will come from all directions, so you need to be keeping your eyes peeled lest one of the man-eaters sneaks up on you. It’s a fun game for the most part, but it’s equally terrifying. I consider myself to be something of a manly man, yet I was cowering in fear at the start of every wave and panting like a dog by the end. If it was a regular game being played on a regular TV, there’s no chance I’d fall for its tricks. Yet in the world of PSVR you’ve got no choice but to submit to the game.
At least you get to play with some cool guns though! Yay! There’s not a massive selection to choose from and they’re mostly pistols of varying power along with an UZI and a double barreled shotgun. It’s surprising how deep the game actually is in terms of progression. It’s essentially House of the Dead in VR, but instead of just shooting and then moving on to the next stage, you can unlock upgrades, special weapons, special ammo, more health, etc., etc.
Once you’ve braved the story mode you can get a bit more time out of The Brookhaven Experiment by either replaying the campaign in search of trophies, or you can take on the survival mode. Survival mode is exactly what it says on the tin: survive. Each wave starts with you picking your gear and then getting stuck into the action. You can choose from a number of locations from the story mode, so there’s a nice bit of variety there too. It’s here that I’ve spent most of my time with The Brookhaven Experiment as it’s not that scary, or at least not compared to the story. Earning coins and upgrading your arsenal is satisfying, though I tend to just stick with what I know and just keep on ploughing my money into ammo and health. That’s actually quite a wise bit of playing. I ran out of ammo one round and had to make do with swinging my pistol and torch at the horrible bastards trying to chew my face off. I yelled and died.
Perhaps the biggest missed opportunity with The Brookhaven Experiement is the lack of multiplayer. I can’t help but thing that this’d work really well by having two players fighting back-to-back against the monsters of the night. Maybe a future update could do it? Maybe not. It’s just my musings, but I’d love to see more added in the future.
There’s not really all that much to complain about in The Brookhaven Experiment: the gameplay is solid and it does what it sets out to do and the VR tracking works about as well as any other PSVR game that uses the PS Move wands in conjunction with the PSVR headset. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s certainly serviceable and does the job well enough. Just remember to press the circle button to turn around, lest you end up falling over like I did. I hurt my knee.
The Brookhaven Experiement PS4/PSVR Review
The story is quite meaty and definitely worth playing through more than once, even if it's just for the cheap thrills. It's a truly terrifying experience, and now after having been inside a horror game, I don't think I'm ever going to be wimpering at anything on a regular 2D screen. That's VR, baby.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game bought at the cost of the reviewer. This does not affect the content of the review or the final score awarded. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using a regular PS4, not a PS4 Pro.