Layers of Fear 2023 Another layer review

Layers of Fear (2023) – Another layer. review

Played on PC

Screenshots for technical reasons come from Steam and from a selection of the developers

Bloober Team has come a long way from a little-known studio to the developers of a remake of the cult classic Silent Hill 2. Layers of Fear has definitely become a turning point on this thorny path. The game contained almost no gameplay and offered an intriguing story that could unfold from different sides depending on the implied choice. And, of course, the atmosphere of plunging into madness was remembered. The authors have kept all this in the updated version and even added new game mechanics.

Damn old house!

While Layers of Fear faithfully reproduces the duology for the most part, the remake starts out very differently. In the role of the writer, we arrive at a lonely lighthouse towering over the stormy waves. Several notes left indicate that the heroine won a certain competition, where the main prize is to write a book alone at the lighthouse and sign a contract with a publisher. The place isn’t the cosiest, but we’re here to create a masterpiece. And now the fingers ran over the keys of the typewriter …

    Silhouettes will follow you everywhere

Silhouettes will follow you everywhere

We’re in the old house. The artist wanders through familiar spaces amidst desolation and desolation. The layout is exactly the same as the original game, but the environment is now rich in detail – you literally feel the tragedy absorbed by those walls of cracked paint and torn wallpaper. As if in contrast to the horrid mess, soft moonlight streams through the windows – it makes you want to swim in it. The Bloober team shows what Unreal Engine 5 can do when creating a detailed interior.

In the artist’s workshop, a lonely, empty canvas awaits the final masterpiece. Structurally, Layers of Fear has not changed in any way. Six chapters – six ingredients for a great picture. Six parts of family life that come together in a sad canvas. Each memory appears as a tangle of nightmares within the tangled walls of the house.

The story hasn’t changed dramatically. Layers of Fear still largely pokes fun at the sense of direction in space. We walked into the room, looked around – and there was a solid wall instead of a door. We looked back and walked down the corridor – and it wasn’t at all the environment you just walked through. They turned around again – and suddenly came to a dead end. And these are even the most banal examples.

    This house is more complicated than it looks

This house is more complicated than it looks

Some scenes have undergone selective changes, sometimes more, sometimes less. We put more emphasis on episodes where the player has to choose the path they want to continue on – this affects the interpretation of the events that the game shows. In such scenes, the sign of Libra is often intertwined with the setting, and the writers have left more clues for making an informed decision.

The only significant innovation in gameplay is the lamp. Due to the new lighting technology, some rooms have become really dark, so that a light source is simply indispensable. Most importantly, the focused beam allows you to banish the ghost that sometimes haunts the artist. A seemingly mundane mechanic completely removes the hassle of toothless hide-and-seek from the original without sacrificing any of the excitement.

In the dark corridors there is no sight and you only hear the monster approaching. You have to constantly look around and disperse the darkness with a saving light that slowly discharges the lamp. Focusing the beam completely burns the resource in a matter of seconds, but they are enough to drive away the evil spirit for a while. The charge will be restored automatically – we were not burdened with searching for fuel. And in true Alan Wake style, sometimes only the light reveals the true appearance of the surroundings.

    The demon smolders and bursts beautifully in the light of the lamp

The demon smolders and bursts beautifully in the light of the lamp

The “Legacy” supplement was transferred to the new engine practically without any changes. The flashlight was originally located here and is only used for its intended purpose. The add-on itself is modest in scope, with a number of atmospheric scenes and well worth a look for completeness. But much more interesting is The Last Note – a new chapter that offers a look at a well-known family tragedy from the perspective of a woman who has endured terrible trauma.

Although the add-on uses the same well-known house, it shows a completely different side in the eyes of a woman. This is a real chain prison that envelops both the body and the spirit of the heroine. In this picture, the hints of some kind of gloomy version of Silent Hill are particularly strong, as if the Bloober team arranged a small rehearsal for Silent Hill 2. Almost every scene has its own artistic appeal and a personal story adds important accents to the overall picture of family happiness and sadness.

The Last Note pulls the original Layers of Fear together into a solid trilogy. The authors skillfully balance between surreal madness and an all-round understandable story. A tragedy changes a person forever—both the bereaved and their loved ones. Everyone saw the house through the prism of their trauma: an all-consuming obsession, a difficult childhood, grief over an irretrievably lost part of themselves…

    At the other end of the corridor only the pyramid head is missing.

At the other end of the corridor only the pyramid head is missing.


In the remake, the artist’s story is written by the author. We will return to their makeshift shelter at the lighthouse more than once. At first glance, this storyline seems quite ordinary, but after only a few episodes it becomes clear that even nightmares have not avoided it. Either they intrude into reality from the written pages, or the work reflects only a gradual plunge into madness.

Additions about the Creator’s daughter and wife do not need to be gone through to find a new level in this story. But you must return to Layers of Fear 2 because it is the author who ties the fates of the artist and the actor together. In order to get to the bottom of the secret of the lighthouse, we make another film trip and find out how difficult it is to slip into someone else’s position. And in contrast to the original, all the weaknesses of the sequel are particularly evident.

First, the sequel failed to strike a balance between otherworldly horror and everyday drama. Layers of Fear 2 is a pretty darn nice kaleidoscope of loosely connected scenes. The few puzzles that diluted the first part disappeared completely in the second. If a player has to make a choice, they will be informed directly. And only the wild imagination of the artists allows this horror show to last until the end.

    The cinematic scene deserves a place among the most aesthetically pleasing scenes in games

The cinematic scene deserves a place among the most aesthetically pleasing scenes in games

Some scenes have been edited slightly, but overall there are fewer changes than in the first part. The introduction at the beginning of each chapter is now spoken by the author herself and not by an unnamed speaker. The actor also gets his own flashlight, adding at least some interactivity to this walk through the virtual exhibit. Light here can temporarily immobilize the faceless monster chasing the protagonist and set frozen mannequins in motion blocking the path. On top of that, their animations mimic old movie films with a floating frames per second which looks damn stylish. Otherwise we still have the same Layers of Fear 2. Which is more bad than good.

* * *

The 2023 model’s Layers of Fear still makes more sense than it seemed when it was announced. The first part has been visually changed and received a portion of high-quality additional content, creating an unforgettable and sad story about broken geniuses. The new mechanics with a flashlight turned out to be very practical and brought some dynamism to the process. And only the initially weak sequel, despite the beguiling beauty of individual episodes, seems faded against the background of its predecessor.


  • great look with great lighting;
  • a flashlight makes encounters with ghosts much more pleasant;
  • The Last Note puts some much-needed finishing touches on the storyline of the first game.


  • Against the background of the first part, the sequel seems particularly weak.




Skillful sound design amplifies the unsettling atmosphere.

single player game

Layers of Fear is still a purely contemplative experience that requires immersion and soaking up the atmosphere.

Estimated travel time

Twelve hours to know the entire story of the artist, actor and writer.

collective game

Not provided.

general impression

The best opportunity to get to know the series for beginners. Yes, and reliving the story of the broken creators is also worth reliving – the authors have prepared a number of surprises for veterans.

Degree: 8.0/10

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About the author

Alan Foster

Alan Foster covers computers and games and all the news in the gaming industry.

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