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Night at the Gates of Hell PS5 1

Night at the Gates of Hell Review – Another Lo-Fi Horror With Bite

Developed by Jordan King and Henry Hoare, Night at the Gates of Hell is the latest lo-fi horror game to hit console thanks to the help of Puppet Combo. Putting players in the middle of a zombie outbreak, it perfectly captures the essence of a cult b-movie, delivering some genuine scares, a considerable amount of humour, and lots of cheese.

The opening level of Night at the Gates of Hell sets up the tone for game quite nicely. You take control of a sleazy man who’s agreed to a hook up, though a graveyard wouldn’t have been his choice. It doesn’t take long for things to heat up, with his lady friend removing her clothes on a picnic blanket. The situation is cooled, however, when he has to back to his car to find a condom, and upon returning for some hanky-panky, it’s clear it’s no longer on the table. Not unless he wants to try and schmooze the undead.

For a lo-fi horror game, Night at the Gates of Hell is a bit more developed in the gameplay department than most. You have an inventory, and can make use of a range of weapons to defend yourself. You can’t interact with items with a weapon drawn, though, or move when you’re aiming down the sights. You’ll also collect knives, but they’re exclusively used for defence, with your character using one to dispatch a zombie automatically if grabbed. Avoiding enemies is an option, then, but as long as you aim for the head, you can take most down with your firearms if you wish.

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Later in the game, elements of stealth are added, too. Along with some hair-raising boss fights, it all makes for what is a surprisingly varied experience. In the five hours or so it takes to complete this title you’ll have visited a surprising number of locations, and encountered an impressive number of unique zombies. You’ll certainly never get bored of seeing the same scenery and enemies.

The action here is level based, with each new area tasking you with survival while completing numerous objectives. It means you have a decent amount of freedom within each area, but they don’t flow seamlessly between each other. Regardless, you’ll spend much of your time searching for the items necessary to progress. And along the way, zombies of various types will try to put an end to your exploits. Some are your typical slow and lumbering types, others move at you relatively fast. Sometimes you’ll even be pursued by a zombie that you just can’t seem to put down.

Related: The Best, and Scariest, Horror Games on PS5

As usual, to complement the lo-fi aesthetic, a variety of filters are available to give the impression of a PS1 game or VHS tape to name a couple. A CRT filter is available separate to these, too. Turning them on certainly makes things a bit more atmospheric. What’s really neat on PS5 is how the DualSense controller is used to further immerse yourself in the game’s world. The speaker is used extensively here, with grotesque noises and more to creep you out. There’s great use of haptic feedback, too.

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Unfortunately, there are some elements of Night at the Gates of Hell that might irritate. Doors can be a pain to open at times, for example. Sometimes they feel like they fight you, making it hard to get through them. Aiming down the sights can be a bit finicky as well, which is troublesome considering how fast some enemies close the distance on you. And further into the game, the odds can feel really stacked against you. Thankfully a lenient checkpoint system means that even if you do die, you’ll never have lost much progress.

If you grew up on a healthy diet of movies such as Zombie Flesh Eaters and The Evil Dead, like us, there’s a good chance you’ll appreciate the vibe that Night at the Gates of Hell is going for. This is yet another lo-fi horror that proves to be engaging and somewhat inventive, throwing caution to the wind in order to deliver an experience that’s unpredictable, sometimes horrifying, and often actually funny. Needless to say, horror fans should definitely consider checking it out.

Night at the Gates of Hell Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of Night at the Gates of Hell is based on the PS5 version, with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Switch and PC.

Editor’s note: A previous iteration of this article referenced censorship. While the game is indeed censored in Asian regions, that same censorship was erroneously pushed to the European version, too. The game has now been patched, and a censor toggle has been added to the options menu.

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