Gray Dawn: Review
The protagonist of Gray Dawn is Father Abraham. Shortly before the events of the game, he conducted a ritual to expel some trait from the body of a small boy, but the ceremony failed, and the child hurled himself out of the window and died. Now the priest is tormented by guilt, plus everything he sees, and sometimes a devilish voice sounds in his head that calls to spit on God and glorify Satan.
By itself, such a tie explains little, and the demo – and this is its main problem – is even more confusing. I went through it twice, but I could not understand what the creators wanted to tell me about religion. If you ever wanted. Here are just a few moments, let’s talk about each.
Firstly, Gray Dawn is an eerie religious mishmash. The studio responsible for the development is in Romania, the religious society of which is more than 85% Orthodox. The game’s events in part also seem to occur on the territory of this country, hence the corresponding symbolism – icons that can be seen, for example, in Russian churches, clothes with Slavic motifs, domes of churches, after all. At the same time, Father Abraham is Catholic, and he performs the exorcism in the game Catholic, using holy water and the book Rituale Romanum. True, five minutes before the ritual, he finds prospiration – liturgical liturgical bread, used in Orthodoxy. And then he watches his house fill with toads – an obvious hint at the second Egyptian execution.
So what about the story, then?
Generally, creating a game about Christianity in general is a normal idea, but the demo of Gray Dawn does not make it clear that the developers are pursuing this very goal. The protagonist of half an hour just fumbles around the three locations, looks at everything and does not even ask questions when the toad statue asks him for “the flesh and blood of Christ.”
This, by the way, is the second point – the authors of Gray Dawn, if they try to play with metaphors, do it in a very strange way. What should I say to the scene in which the holy father fulfills the request of the statue and brings her wine and sacred bread?
In another episode, the hero sees already a statue of Christ without a head – because someone has broken off this head, put it on the sofa next to it, and now it bleeds. The head can be taken and fastened back, then the dishes will stop flying over the dinner table. Is this also a metaphor or just another attempt to put the horror?
Scare from Gray Dawn still does not come out – this is the third point. Well, that is, look – that’s the bronze toad, which demands the blood and flesh of Christ in a devilish voice. And this bloody wedding dress, and when the hero comes to him, the screen pours blood, and Satan pushes a speech about vices. Here is the ghost of the boy, and in the house of Abraham on the first floor is a coffin. In the demo version, all this symbolism does not matter, because the plot is not explained in any way – that’s why it does not frighten. Maybe in the full version he will find an explanation.
Although it looks like Gray Dawn is very cool and … okay, bravely. This is a pretty beautiful game, the creators of which, apparently, are not afraid to offend someone’s feelings. Therefore, they write bloody letters on a pig statue that “God is dead.” If they themselves know and understand what this means, and after explaining it to us, it is possible that in Gray Dawn the play will be really creepy. In addition, I am afraid at the subconscious level of everything that is connected with the funeral traditions of Orthodoxy – and their game, apparently, is full. If the authors also press this topic, then in general.
However, Gray Dawn can remain a collection of mutually unrelated symbols of Christianity, and it will be sad – because to play for the sake of gameplay does not make sense. In this regard, the Romanians play in memory Amnesia: The Dark Descent, that is, the main character wanders back and forth in the locations, moves from place to place objects and does nothing more. It’s boring.
Gray Dawn will be released on June 7th. Then it will be possible to make a final opinion about it.