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15 Nov 2022

REVIEW: Dead Man´s Diary on PC (Steam)

Review by Jon Donnis
Dead Man´s Diary is a simple survival game,

You find yourself in a post apocalyptic world, a crazy man built some nukes, and when his life ended he designed a chain reaction that would cause the worlds Nukes to go off as well.

Some humans were put in bunkers to survive, but with resources running out, you are chosen to leave the bunker to find new resources. You are blindfolded and flown to an unknown location, no way to find your way back to the bunker, you are on your own, with only what you find to help you survive.

Ignoring the glaring holes in the ridiculous storyline, you start the game in the middle of a forest, at night. With just a crappy torch to light the way. With just the voice in your head, and the bare basics, you gotta figure the rest out on your own.

Look how lovely this looks! I never got this far.

As you start walking the game gives you little help, but does give you objectives, and help guide you in what you need and where to go etc.

Follow arrows conveniently painted in the area, and make your way to an industrial site, from there gather tools, screwdriver, lockpick, as well as food items and so on, oh and not forgetting the geiger counter, well this is a post-apocalyptic world, so you need a way to find out if the food or drink you are about to consume is radioactive.

All the while your metrics are going down, so you need to find water to drink, food to eat, iodine tablets to stave off radiation sickness and so on.

Underground car park I guess. No idea as I never got that far.

The first real task you will need to do to progress further into the game and into Day 2, is to build a fire and a campsite. And this is where the game screws up.

You see the problem here is that I could not find enough materials to complete the campsite, so although I had built a fire, I found myself 2 hours into the game and stuck. We are talking 2 hours of searching every corner, or every alley way, every bin, under vehicles. You name it I looked, but I just couldn't find everything I needed. Throw in the fact that the battery on your torch soon runs out, I am now in the dark, so can barely see. Funnily enough you get some light from your geiger counter, so I ended up using that as a very weak torch of sorts. Regardless, the game at this point is a chore.

So, at this point, with major motion sickness hitting me in real life, from going round in circles, and straining to see what was going on, on the screen, I gave up.

The next day I had a revelation. Clearly, I had gotten to the Industrial site way too quick, and I should have searched the forest first, despite the game not telling me to do that in any way, I thought I would try, so I started a brand-new game, and I did just that.

Now, considering that there are a few jump scares in the game, by this point I knew that other than the character thinking he heard a noise in the distance, or a metal pipe rolling, there is not actually anything that will kill me outside of my own health running too low.

So, for an hour I searched every inch of the forest, and yes, I found items I needed, I found batteries for my torch, I found paper, fabric, metal rods and so on.

By the time I reached the industrial site, I suddenly felt extra prepared and ahead of the game. And then I spent another hour, built my fire, searched all the places I had previously, but with a familiarity that helped.

And I cant, find enough items to build the camp site. Yep, I had wasted another 2 hours for nothing.

I turned the game off in disgust and that is the last I will ever play it.

I will not look for any of the walkthroughs which I am sure will appear soon, I am not going to contact the developers. I give up.

I gave this game my time, and a lot of time at that, and it let me down. It also made me feel quite sick. Like being sat in the back of a car when you are a kid, and you end up having to vomit at the side of the road. The motion sickness this game creates is terrible.

The controls are tough to get used to, for some reason you have to tap A on a controller twice to jump. Not once, but Twice. The menu system is overly complicated, and you have to disable the torch every time you want to use the geiger counter, which you need to use if you want to pick up canned food or water. Beyond frustrating that apparently your character can't use two hands at once.

The Good
The game on a visual aspect, from what you can see on Day One, looks great, the sound effects are decent, and the first time you play, it does a good job building up tension.

The Bad
Terrible design, terrible level layout, literally made me ill playing the game.

I am angry with myself for giving this game so much of my time, because I was so desperate to just get to Day Two and see the game in the light.

And if the only way for me to proceed is to watch someone else play, and then copy their movements, then what is the point.

Perhaps the most frustrating game I have ever played in my life. What an utter waste of my time and effort.

I score Dead Man´s Diary a 0/10.

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