[Review] Araya (2016)
Araya is a first-person horror game. Players will get a new thrilling experience inside a Thai hospital. The story will be told from the perspectives of 3 different characters. Players will explore different areas of the hospital in order to piece together the mysterious murder case of Araya.
Araya is a bipolar girl who claims she hates people and prefers staying home. However, when she befriends a girl named Marisa, she feels that she can be at ease around her. Once, she pushes Marisa down to the ground but claims that it wasn’t really her who pushed her down. Araya later is hit on by a boy named Sorn, but Marisa warns her to stay away from him, claiming that he’s a playboy. Araya agrees at first, but later she is in a relationship with Sorn and is too in love with him to break up.
Araya later becomes pregnant by Sorn, but the two argue over the baby. For an unknown reason, Sorn goes to the security guard of the Bangkok hospital for a sleeping pill to give to Araya. The pill ends up killing Araya and the baby inside her, and Sorn panics about what to do with her body, as he doesn’t want to be blamed for her death. Sorn takes Araya’s body to the hospital’s parking garage, where he hangs her by a noose. As he is putting her into the noose, he falls off the balcony that he is standing on to his death.
Araya is a horror game based on Indonesian legends and the horrible events that had taken place at a shut down a hospital. The game has a very creepy atmosphere, and the more you play, the more you will discover what happened inside this hospital, and also how the 3 playable characters relate to each other in the story. Also, once you get past the initial awkwardness of the door opening mechanics, you begin to realize just how scary this game is. In all honesty, about 15 minutes into the game you’ll notice that the game’s use of sound goes beyond merely scary or creepy, it’s downright fucking traumatizing. The atmosphere, overall, is quite, quite excellent.
That being said, Araya is rather easy compared to other Asian horror games out there, and I would highly recommend this one for people that are new to Asian horror games. The majority of the game is simply exploring, collecting items to unfold the story and the occasional chase scene all while maintaining an eerie atmosphere. There’s often a feeling that someone, or something, could be lurking just outside the peripherals of that persistent circular beam. And many is the time that I was afraid to turn around once I realized the door in front of me was locked. You never really know for sure what the game is going to throw at you next, or even when.
The game also has a few other cool things which a lot of other horror games don’t, and that’s the use of flashlights, and these are near perfect. They illuminate just enough, without illuminating too much, creating a kind of claustrophobic funnel that you view much of the game though anyway. The graphics are, unfortunately, not as good as I would have liked. Character models are a bit on the skimpy side when viewed up close.
So you want to know just how scary this game really is? Let’s put it this way… Araya made me extremely thankful that I do not own a VR headset yet. Seriously, the opening sequence was traumatizing enough without a headset, and there’s plenty of other noteworthy moments in the few hours which follow. Araya is not the greatest game out there by any stretch, but it definitely is a surprisingly good one which does what it primarily sets out to do, and that is to scare the hell out of you. Have fun!
About the product
- This game can be played with or without Virtual Reality headset
- This game supports the Oculus Rift headset with keyboard and mouse or XBOX controller
- This game supports the HTC VIVE headset with keyboard and mouse or XBOX controller
Genre: Survival Horror
Release Date: November 23, 2016
Developer: MAD Virtual Reality Studio
Game Engine: Unity
Platforms: MS Windows, Steam
Mode(s): Single Player
Reviewed by: Mad Hatter
Our Rating: 3.0 /5
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