Welcome to Amaluuk research station, we hope your stay is a productive and pleasant one.
I played through this mod in co-op mode with my friend, even though it was co-op we nearly shat our pants a few times and were almost always afraid of everything, very well done. I think the mod was very thought through and not just something made over the night.
I had tons of fun with it and am looking forward to a sequel/something more!
Black Snow was recommended by Markiplier, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I'm glad I did.
The environments are DARK. I've heard a lot of people complain about the lack of flashlight, but I found that one of the most terrifying aspects. Travelling into the darkness without a light source beyond some flares is tense and nerve-wracking.
Trust me when I say that it looks, and sounds, like you're trapped in the middle of the night in a frozen wasteland. The entire station feels empty... except when it doesn't. Those are some of the most terrifying moments, when you realize that aside from the black fungus chasing you in the dark, SOMETHING else is there with you.
All the while you're hoping, praying, and begging that the light is strong enough to stop the fungus from reaching you, because it HURTS when it hits you. I refer to pucker factor a lot when I play scary games; this mod has one heck of a pucker factor.
Now that I'm done gushing, why only 7/10 do I hear you cry?
Black Snow borrows very heavily from Penumbra, which is totally okay, because it works. However, there's another story entirely in the background, involving a field of sunflowers, and a black silhouette on the horizon. It screams and rages at the chance to be told.
This is then shattered by a completely purportless and abrupt ending.
That could work. It DID, with Bioshock 2. The story had reached a proper ending point in that game, and then caused one heck of a sucker-punch to the player. This time around though, the story goes largely untold. I think Black Snow was meant to be longer. Or there was a sequel in planning that never happened.
If their next project is the full Black Snow (as the post on the main page suggests), I'd buy it. I'd buy it, if nothing else to see how it was meant to end, because DAMN, this was shaping up to be just plain CHILLING.
The ending and short length, coupled with the lack of replay value and a couple glitches are what takes away a perfect score.
Play it anyway.
This mod took me a while to finish, mostly because I quit a few times due to lag and crashes on the huge maps. My PC doesn't like maps that big even though they are becoming more common in recent mods. Also, I was a little frustrated at first by the lack of direction (even though I sucked it up and did it anyway). Once I figured out its gameplay style it went easier.
This mod is classic. I loved the detail put into this complete conversion, the sound effects, the models, the textures, etc. Yes, some of it reminds me of Penumbra but that's not a bad thing at all. Also I liked how it was creepy, but not at all in a makes-you-jump way, but like a slow build up of strange events as the player learns the story. In the end I was confused and amazed. That's how I feel at the end of a lot of horror games/mods which is good.
And to think that this was mostly done by a single person... wow!
The atmosphere is superb. The arctic research station is devoid of any companions yet quickly you realize that you are not alone. The question is who or what is there with you? An interesting game mechanic is that of the fear of the unknown via darkness and the safety of knowledge via illumination. Often the darkness is where death resides and will result in a quick death for the player. It makes the tension powerful and there are moments when the lights flicker that you fear for life itself. This is the sign of a high quality horror/survival gaming experience and there are several within the Black Snow mod.
There are some rough edges to be found. Some items are of questionable value and importance, but I believe their inclusion to be for background story development and ambiance. The locked computers are a strong example of this. Why have these locked systems be usable items without any purpose being served when other computer stations are not usable? Also, the computer user interfaces and the x-ray display are not the easiest to use. For the computer systems it was not too bad but manipulating the x-rays is a pain that I still haven't mastered yet. While this may sound like problems abound, they do not. I'm just explaining a couple of rough points that could use some refinement in an otherwise worthwhile experience.
Give Black Snow a go. I probably spent about three hours on it due to trial-and-error and backtracking primarily. I'm sure it can be completed in an hour with a bit of luck.
I originally planned to give this an 8/10. I actually quite liked the implementation.
And then I had a creeping feeling that made me think, "It's as if I've seen this stuff before."
Surprise, surprise: I had. In the Penumbra series.
Everything from the setting (Greenland), to the snowy exterior, to the dead dogs in the kennels, and yes, even to the cheap, gimmicky sequence where you have to stay under a timed light that just happens to move down one at a time.
So I'm rating this a 6/10, because while they coded it decently, they stole a big chunk of things from Penumbra. Shame on you.
Update: Rated 1 since they decided to delete my comment they didn't like.