White Night's main strength is its stylishness. It hits you in the face right away, during its slick Hitchcockian introduction, where a nameless, fedora-wearing man crashes his car on a dark, deserted road and seriously injures himself. He limps down the road and seeks help from the nearest refuge: a spooky Victorian house. This unique brand of noir cool holds firm until the credits roll, and the level of graphic sophistication creates the expectation of narrative and mechanical excellence; tension is heightened by the high-contrast graphics that not only unsettle you but clue you in to the story's moral ambiguity. Cleverly placed newspaper articles, photos, diaries, and letters reveal the narrative one piece at a time, all determined by each player's willingness to explore. All these things, and the occasional dream sequence, make for what should be a singular survival-horror experience.
"Should" is the operative word, since White Night's excellence is almost utterly torpedoed by clumsy controls and poor camera angles. You'll have to use the weak, flickering light of a single match to navigate the world, while also avoiding the clutches of murderous ghosts that reside in the darkness. Most of the time, it's possible to avoid them, but when the camera angles change suddenly, the directional keys can work differently, propelling you right into the ghastly hands of death. This is especially true in cluttered rooms where clean navigation is a necessity. It also suffers from occasionally awkward writing (“the grave looked as daunting as a forgotten tomb" -- well ... yeah) and poor English translation. At times too, the story becomes a bit muddled, and many gamers will spot the big plot twist from a mile away. All this keeps White Night from being an ideal survival-horror game.