NEW YORK (CNS) — Trauma and grief are among the challenging topics tackled in “Draugen,” by Norwegian game developer and publisher Red Thread.
This first-person adventure is a stunning and thought-provoking experience that’s not quickly forgotten. Depictions of death and suspenseful themes, however, make it best for older gamers.
Set in 1923 Norway, “Draugen” adopts the perspective of Edward (voice of Nicholas Boulton), an American naturalist, as he travels to the picturesque and isolated island of Graavik with his ward and assistant, Alice (voice of Skye Deva Bennett).
Although they have come to the island looking for Edward’s younger sister, Betty (voice of Jane Perry), they are quickly pulled into a deeper mystery when they realize the isle’s fishing village has been entirely abandoned.
By exploring the town and studying letters left behind by various residents, Edward and Alice unravel what happened in Graavik — and what fate befell Betty.
The first noteworthy game element is the soundtrack, composed by Simon Poole. Ethereal music is accompanied at times by slow, sorrowful Norwegian songs as gamers survey the beautiful backdrop of Graavik. Together, these elements draw the player deeper into Edward’s mindset and the tragic environment in which he finds himself.
Rushing through “Draugen” will cause players to miss important clues, so they should take their time learning about Edward, Alice, Betty and Graavik itself in order to see the full picture.
Banter between the somber Edward and the playful Alice is an engaging and crucial element of “Draugen.” Their friendship highlights their differences, as they discuss weighty matters about which they disagree.
As a scientist, Edward has come to reject the existence of God and holds that darkness is all that follows death, whereas Alice is a believer. Edward’s affection and respect for Alice inspire him, at times, to question his own lack of belief.
Edward misguidedly sees faith as nothing more than irrational superstition. Yet, as St. John Paul II wrote in “Fides et Ratio,” his 1998 encyclical letter exploring the relationship between faith and reason, these two aspects of the human experience are not exclusive of each other but complementary, “like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.”
There is, the pope observed, “no reason for competition of any kind between reason and faith: each contains the other, and each has its own scope for action.”
The game’s most significant flaw is its ending, which feels almost hurried. But that might have been the intention. As Edward has earlier advised Alice, “This isn’t Agatha Christie. There won’t be a convenient set of clues leading to a tidy conclusion.”
Playable on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
The game contains mild violence with some blood and occasional crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Entertainment Software Rating Board rating is T — teens.
Smith reviews video games for Catholic News Service.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103