REVIEW: White Day: A Labyrinth Named School

REVIEW: White Day: A Labyrinth Named School

Starting a new school is never easy, especially when it’s one plagued by rumours of violent murders and vengeful spirits. Unfortunately for Hee-Min Lee, it takes less than two days before Yeondu High School’s newest student finds himself trapped inside the building overnight – and thrown face-to-face with the malevolent spirits roaming the corridors.
It started off innocently enough: Hee-Min had intended to quickly sneak in and out to hide some candies in the locker of a classmate. But as soon as he stepped foot inside the shutters slammed closed for the night, locking him inside with possessed janitors hellbent on killing intruders, and vengeful ghosts eager to sap his lifeforce away.
Can Hee-Min sneak though the school and discover a way out? Or is he fated to become yet another ghost haunting the classrooms of Yeondu High School?

Firstly, White Day is not a new game. Well, it is in as far as it has just been released on Steam and PlayStation 4. It was originally released in Korea in 2001 by the Korean game development studio, Sonnori. 
In 2015 it was remade by ROI Games and both directed and produced by the former CEO of Sonnori Lee Won-Sool. Taking the original game, ROI have completely redesigned it from top-to-bottom. They have brought some major story upgrades and mechanical overhauls making it one of the scariest and influential titles ever made. Well, that’s what they claim, but are they right?
Well, pretty much!
This is one of those games that takes me back to the days of Silent Hill 2, Haunting Ground and Siren. It was born in Korea, and for some reason the Asian countries have a fantastic track record when it comes to survival horror compared to any other set of countries.
The game-play takes ideas from the original Resident Evil games where you have to gather tools and equipment from within the environment to aid you as you progress through the story. Then it also leaves you with an absence of any fighting mechanics like Outlast did, having to find hiding places or running away. It is survival horror, not finding yourself trapped and being able to merely fight your way out of it.
To progress through the school you must find magical seals in order to open locked doors, which all sounds relatively easy. It isn’t.
White Day is different to most games of this type that you have played before however..
There is no point in looking for a walkthrough or guide for this game if you get stuck. Yes, there will be some out there, but this game changes every time you play and the keypad and lock codes change, so you cant cheat your way through. There are also various puzzles and riddles along the way which unlock ghost stories and collectables.

Our main character is Hee-Min Lee, a brand new transfer student to Yeondu High School. He tries to sneak back into the school on the eve of White Day to hide some candies in the homeroom of the girl of his dreams – and is immediately drawn into a nightmare game or life and death.
You start the game trapped in the entrance hallway of the school and are left to it. There is no training given for the game, you have to work it all out for yourself; and I love that! I wandered around not knowing what I was doing for a good half an hour. Bumping in to certain things caused some hint menu’s to pop up, but nothing that said ‘Go here’ or ‘Do that’.
You will meet other students within the halls, and the game has implemented a branching story. There are different reply options within your encounters that shape your relationships with others. Most of the options have subtle differences with your answers rather than mirror opposites, which does make you think about your answers.
The further you progress into the story of the game, the more you need to start focusing on stealth. There is a janitor patrolling the corridors, but you learn from a very early point in the game that he is trouble and you need to avoid him at all costs.

Now don’t get me wrong, this game isn’t perfect. There was a few little issues that really annoyed me, but were easily fixable. For instance, the sound levels were annoyingly loud. Yes, I hear you all screaming at me to just turn my telly down, but what I mean is this.. I like the background noises to be nice and loud to help me feel fully immersed within the game, but every time you get a new hint pop up, the noise it makes gives you a jump scare on its own. Its way too loud at 100%, but it can be turned down in the settings menu, but I feel its a programming error somewhere in the code.
The control mechanics don’t feel natural and take a lot of getting used. You push your right joystick to look around, and even the slightest of movements moves it way too far when you need a small change. I haven’t looked into the menu for this to see if it is fixable, but there will be a lot of people who get annoyed with it.

In conclusion I’m not sure this will go down in history as one of the classic survival horror games like Silent Hill did, but it is certainly worth playing for any fans out there. The PlayStation 4 version is fully Trophy supported with a Platinum and it will attract a following, but will never receive a cult classic status.
If you want to go and try the game, do. It wont be for everyone, but I certainly liked what I saw and will be playing it a lot more to find the 9 different story endings as well as trying to solve all the mysteries.
7/10 is easily achieved here, I really would love to give it more, but more work needed doing with the graphics and the AI for me to do that, not to mention those annoying points I mentioned earlier.

Gamer since the age of 2 when I was introduced to the Dragon 64. Age is just a number, in my head I will be forever young

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