Parents' Guide to

The Charnel House Trilogy

By Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

A disjointed, clunkily written, too-simple adventure.

Game Windows 2015
The Charnel House Trilogy Poster Image

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Playing The Charnel House Trilogy should be a terrifying experience. It's not, though, and the reasons are many, including clunky dialogue; contrived, boring design; and bad voice acting. Though it sometimes delivers some truly unsettling moments, there's just not enough meat on the bone because it lacks meaningful structure. The separate hero/heroine story lines have their own chapters, and though they eventually meet (which prompts you to believe this is significant), their stories never really coincide. This leads to a disjointed, poorly conceived narrative that never delivers, even with the attempted scares thrown in. Every so often, you see ever-changing perceptions and nightmarish images that the characters are subjected to; on occasion, it works, giving a creepy and unsettling feel to the confused, disconnected setting. Now, if this could only be translated into a good adventure game.

Players are subjected to limited exploration and uncomplicated puzzles, with the result being a 90-minute game completely lacking in challenge where you simply walk back and forth doing chores that require no thought whatsoever. Also, the dialogue is odd at best, bizarre at worst, and often pointlessly obscenity-ridden. Perhaps the writer thought Alex would sound more "adult" or more "real" if she said "f--k" every three words, but the effect is juvenile and embarrassing. The ironic thing about The Charnel House Trilogy is that it's designed for mature audiences, but it feels half-grown and underdeveloped. That's a shame, because its handful of good moments point to its potential for having been a truly scary, profound adventure. Though it starts with a good premise, contains nice graphics and music, and has one or two scary moments, it cries out for more depth and sophistication, better writing and acting, and a more complete, well-conceived ending.

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