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Alone in the Dark

And now for an all-new episode of Alone in the Dark...

Before? We were impressed. Mad chair-waving antics, ingenious flasher-mac stockpiled with blood and explosives, fire hotter than the real deal - we liked it all. Now we've seen it all come together? We are impressed.

Twenties investigator finds himself in 2008 New York. It's a bonkers set-up you could hang a TV series on, so hang one they have. Split into episodes, each has the rhythm of a televised instalment with all the peaks and lulls that keep us hooked. And if an episode ever bores or irritates? Just skip it, DVD style. A very daring move by Eden, but perfectly tuned to the Sky Plus generation. If you want to waste your money - skip to the end.

Zoom

Having 'seen' the pilot episode, however, we know you won't be skipping. Awaking confused and captured, Carnby watches his captors mauled by a force that tears through reality like Rob through a protein bar wrapper. Good news for Carnby... except that he's next on the menu.

Carnby Sandwich
Escaping by car (echoing Eden's earlier Test Drive Unlimited in both the window-winding car minutiae and utterly gorgeous looks), the set-piece is of unreal quality. Skyscrapers topple, tarmac rips and newly formed canyons are jumped as New York falls to the ground.

What an opener. A later episode sees you downed in a helicopter, crawling up cables as flaming debris tumbles and the helicopter anchoring Carnby's rope edges ever closer to crushing the chrono-confused detective.

Hand-holding through mind-freaking set-pieces is one thing; Eden's use of real world logic to jazz up quieter moments equally impresses. Cars become battering rams or, with enough fuel, impromptu bombs - and who needs door codes when a UV lamp will happily betray recently fingered buttons?

All that's missing is a truly scary AI, but it's coming. Monsters currently use kill/don't kill logic gates that betray a gameworld ten times smarter. Between now and May we're promised a new breed of hunter AI, drawn to sound and following your scent should you risk the park on foot. We can't wait to tune in. n Matthew Castle

Great to see that the whole episode idea isn't just some flouncy way of saying 'level' - the pacing of each instalment is doing a fine job. We're a tad concerned about the lack of scares this late on, but killer monster AI should easily fix this.

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