Layers of Fear: Inheritance is an expansion of 2015's first-person psychological and psychedelic thriller/horror adventure game Layers of Fear. Both are developed by Bloober Team SA and offer much of the same gameplay mechanics with slightly different focuses (explained further below). The original story followed the complete mental collapse of a once popular painter, with a history of anger and verbally abusing his wife and child, as he attempts to finish one more piece in his 20th century Victorian-style home. Surrounded by world-renown inspired art pieces, and an unexplained dark force, you explore his mind and home in search for answers to the questions that haunt him. The game, like the expansion, shifts the environment around you as you further explore locations throughout the house, adding layers to the fear you experience. You can find our full review here.
Following the conclusion of the original story, the young daughter of the former protagonist returns to her father's home in hopes to find answers to her own questions about the things that happened to him before his death. The flashbacks that will occur allow for insight on past memories, progressing the understandings of the family, and the relationships within. Other than the questions that'll be answered regarding the narration holes of the base game, there is not much of a new story. The major storytelling opportunity occurs subtly throughout the game; the choices you make will lead up to 2 different potential endings, one happier in nature, and the other disastrous. Although the base game has 3 potential endings, none of which have any influence on the way the Inheritance DLC plays out, or even which of the 2 endings occur.
The DLC doesn't have a long intro. You listen to the daughter as she describes how it was for her to hear her dad screaming. How he would scream at her and her mother, scream at his failed paintings, and then scream into the darkness. After a minute or so of talking, you begin already inside the house. You have a flashlight and an open mind, curious to find out what lies further within.
As you explore, you'll find the infamous jump scares but quickly get the understanding that its main purpose is to tell a story, rather than put you through a haunted house. Of course, it still has the concept of ever-shifting hallways, paintings, rooms, and decoration. I found there to be a pretty big difference between the DLC and the base game regarding this. I feel the base game is truly a scary experience, whereas the DLC, still scary in its own way and moments, offers the answers I didn't know were so influential to my overall understanding of the original protagonist more so than a constant deep dread for the surroundings. Antagonists are more active in the way they interact with you. Being stalked by the "Big Bad Wolf" and the charred canine from one of the paintings to name some of the few.
When coming across an area that causes a flashback, the screen will wash out for a moment, and then you'll see the environment in a different appearance. You'll experience a memory play out, and most times it will be the dad screaming for one reason or another. The first flashback, for example, happens when you step inside a storage room under a set of stairs, where mouse traps are visibly scattered across the ground. The flash of light appears and the walls of the once normal shelves turn into grey and, almost horribly painted, messy walls. The father bangs on the door as he screams to what he believes are rats making noise from within. As you move around for a moment as a toddler, he kicks open the door and proceeds to scream at you to get out.
There are many times playing as the toddler version of the daughter extends to overall traversing of the environments. Often I felt as if I was playing Among The Sleep again, just with a slightly different narration. Pulling out shelves, climbing chairs, and walking across planks from one heightened piece of furniture or decor to another. It adds a dynamic form of gameplay, and one I felt was much appreciated. It brought about a sense of further dread and helplessness.
Both the base game and the DLC offer a compelling gameplay design, full of dark environments and great storytelling. You'll find a greater focus for the story in this expansion, rather than offer a new horrifying experience to players. That also doesn't mean the game is without its jump scares and scary moment, just that you won't find but a couple intense ones throughout the playthrough. It carries a slightly less dreadful feeling but sums up the base game's story extremely well. Its movements are still fluid and the graphics are just as realistic. It's not without its really minor technical issues or confusion for what you need to do at times, but nothing I felt broke the immersion of the atmosphere.
If you're interested in a horrifying experience similar to the base game, this may not deliver on exactly what you seek, especially as its playthrough is an estimated hour (my first one was about an hour and 20 minutes) depending on how thorough you are exploring. But if you enjoyed the narration and storytelling of the base game and want many answers to what led to the painter's mental collapse, this is exactly what you need in your life.
|+ Great storytelling and narration||– Not as much focus on scaring|
|+ Incredibly immersive||– Semi-short playthroughs|
|+ Answers questions from base game||– Unexplained gameplay puzzles|
|+ 2 different possible endings|