Maid of Sker is a first-person horror game developed and published by Wales Interactive in 2020. Since its launch, the title has garnered a good number of sales and over time has spread to various platforms. Now Maid of Sker also arrived on the new next-gen consoles and I am going to tell you honestly what I think about it. Here is my Maid of Sker review on PlayStation 5. Are you playing on PS4? Make sure you read Chris Anderson’s Maid of Sker review!
ALONE AND UNARMED
First, I want to start my review by introducing you to the plot of Maid of Sker. The protagonist of the game is Thomas Evans. He is a young composer who travels to the Isle of Sker after receiving a strange letter from his beloved Elisabeth Williams. Apparently the girl’s father wants to force her to sing a mysterious song. This song has occult powers and her father has locked her up inside the Sker Hotel to prevent her from escaping.
Thomas will run to save his beloved without delay but once he arrives at the Williams family hotel, he will face a terrifying scenario. In fact, the entire building will be in a sorry state and “The Quiet Ones” will surround its corridors. These are disturbing hooded individuals ready to attack anyone who makes the slightest noise. Alone and unarmed, Thomas must survive the insane hotel dwellers while looking for a way to fix things and save Elisabeth.
The story of Wales Interactive’s title is really very interesting. Although it continues fairly linearly, delving into the mysterious past of the Williams family during the adventure will be extremely satisfying. Furthermore, the title has a very original fusion of Welsh folklore and Lovecraftian myths. Lately in video games, developers tend to draw almost always from the usual mythologies and for this reason I was very pleased to see something different!
LACK OF INTERACTIONS
Take note that Wales Interactive set all of Maid of Sker in the bleak Sker Hotel. However, despite that, it will put you in front of a good number of different settings. In fact, during the game you can explore areas such as caves, cemeteries, woods, and more. They also filled all areas with many details that will help increase your sense of immersion.
Unfortunately, even with a pleasant setting, Maid of Sker suffers a lot from the exploration point of view. You can only interact with the obvious objects that you will need to continue. Moreover, it will often be extremely easy to get hold of a map of an area which, besides allowing you to find your way around easily, will immediately show you the points of interest in your vicinity.
This lack of interactions makes exploration very boring as you will never need to search for objects or secrets. In fact, even the collectibles will be extremely easy to find, since they emit music that is easily audible even from a distance. The game also sins regarding puzzles. Puzzles are among the most important elements of any self-respecting horror and unfortunately those of Maid of Sker turn out to be all too simple and trivial.
HOLD YOUR BREATH
Now it’s finally time to talk about monsters, which is also a very important element of any horror game. As I mentioned before, the enemies of Maid of Sker are “The Quiet Ones”. They are crazy and aggressive human beings who have lost their sight in favor of hearing. These creatures are very dangerous, and since William has no weapons to defend himself with, you can’t help but try to avoid them.
The monsters have extraordinary hearing and when you come face to face with one of them, you will have to hold your breath so as not to emit the slightest noise. The idea of extremely sound-sensitive enemies that you must avoid by holding your breath is very interesting. However, the realization is not the best. If you tackle the game without running, you will practically never risk being discovered.
Even if you find yourself with an enemy a few centimeters away, you just need to quickly hold your breath to overcome it without problems. Also, even if you run into some of the many traps designed to generate loud noises, the creatures won’t hear you unless they’re really very close. As if that were not enough, at a certain point in the game you will also come into possession of a device capable of stunning the enemies.
This makes the danger in Wales Interactive’s title almost nil. The strange deafness of the enemies represents a very serious problem that ends up undermining the entire game experience. In fact, once you discover the enormous weakness of these creatures, all anxiety and terror will vanish in an instant. A real shame considering the great atmosphere that the game could create in the first hours of play.
Like most PlayStation 5 games, Maid of Sker also offers players the choice of two modes: graphics and performance. The first will allow you to enjoy the game in 4K at 30 FPS. The second will bring the frame rate to 60 FPS, however, reducing the resolution to 1440p. In both modes the performance will remain fairly stable, but unfortunately the graphics rendering will not improve much.
The graphics mode will only increase the resolution and will not improve the textures and effects present in the game. Wales Interactive’s title also takes advantage of many of the new features offered by the PlayStation 5. For example, thanks to the console’s SSD, the loading times between one area and another will become very quick. The feature exploited best, however, is certainly the 3D audio. The sound design of the game is really great and thanks to the power of the console the results improve even further.
Unfortunately, however, the developers could not use the DualSense features correctly. Yes, there is good use of haptic feedback to make players perceive the protagonist’s steps. However, on the other hand, we have serious problems related to adaptive triggers. In fact, pressing R2 to use the stun device will cause the input to arrive before you have actually overcome the resistance of the trigger, thus making the function useless and annoying.
Do you want to try Wales Interactive’s Maid of Sker? What do you think of my Maid of Sker review on PlayStation 5? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. Are you interested in more games? Check out our reviews for Returnal, Oddworld: Soulstorm, Lost Words: Beyond the Page, Two Point Hospital: Jumbo Edition, and Harvest Moon One World.
Maid of Sker
Maid of Sker is a title full of problems. It never conveys anxiety and terror. However, this does not mean that the title is completely to be thrown away. The story of Maid of Sker is indeed very beautiful and original, and for sure curiosity will push you to get to the end. If you love horror, you will enjoy the game anyway.
- Beautiful and original story
- Varied and well-kept areas
- Great sound design
- Enemies too passive
- Careless exploration
- DualSense features poorly implemented