Penumbra: Black Plague Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 138 Ratings

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  • Summary: Penumbra: Black Plague is a creepy and dark psychological horror experience featuring the adventures of Philip as he sets of in search of his dead father. Trapped in a shadowy, underground complex, intrepid explorer Philip is determined to discover the truth behind his father's disappearance. Surrounded by enemies and assaulted by terror from all sides, Philip must collect clues and solve vexing puzzles while combating the gnawing psychological terrors that assail his mind and threaten to strip him of his sanity. Can Philip master his fear and finally uncover the truth behind a mystery that has haunted him for a lifetime? Only you can decide. [Paradox Interactive] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. This is an incredible game. It's got fun, innovative gameplay, great writing, entertaining VO, a frightening atmosphere, and even manages to provoke deep thought. P:BP is a perfect example of exactly why I play videogames.
  2. Black Plague's success is the result of its individual components. It's a good game that is unique, refreshing, and fun to play. As far as the adventure game genre goes, it's definitely in a class by itself.
  3. Black Plague actually made me scream aloud in fright at one point. Even horror movies don't have that effect on my anymore. [July 2008, p.68]
  4. Still, Penumbra: Black Plague stands out as one of the better adventure games to be released in quite some time.
  5. It alternately shocks and entertains without resorting to the boring, repetitive combat we usually associate with survival horror. Black Plague is nowhere near perfect, but it still deserves to be played.
  6. Whilst the integration of the physics system within the environment in Penumbra is certainly more deeply-ingrained, the puzzles themselves never quite reach the same level of ingenuity as the classic Valve title.
  7. There are definitely some truly scary moments in Penumbra: Black Plague, and the story is good enough to make you want to find out how everything all turns out at the end. Don't clear your calendar to play it, but if your gaming slate is clear, and you're in the mood for a bit of horror, consider giving it a try.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 40
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 40
  3. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. RW
    Feb 7, 2009
    I can't see how this game got a reasonably low rating of 78. In my eyes it is one of the most entertaining games I have played in a while. Considering it was near enough a 2 man team.

    Whilst playing it the game always kept me on edge, especially with the eary music to add to it.

    Only £17 on steam, definatly worth a purchase.
  2. Jun 22, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Penumbra Overture was a flawed masterpiece which demonstrated Frictional's knack at creating an unsettling atmosphere and well-done pacing. In Black Plague, Frictional immediately shows signs of learning from Overture: the combat has been fixed i.e. removed; the writing and storytelling are both well-executed and heighten the sense of solitude and terror. The game starts off a bit rough, but once it gets going, Black Plague has a very effective atmosphere which is helped, not hindered, by the story elements. Long written notes have been removed and replaced with environmental storytelling, ensuring the game maintains a more effective flow than Overture. The story has also been improved, with a particular sequence near the end which proved to be one of the most effective twists I've seen in a game. Overall, despite losing some of its predecessor's subtleties and a rocky opening, Black Plague is a vast improvement for the Penumbra series and will keep you engaged right until its concluding moments. Expand
  3. Aug 27, 2010
    Nothing is as exciting as looking forward playing through a horror game on a rainy night with a buddy. That's what i did, someday i will replay them alone but playing it with company is a great way since you can figure out puzzles twice as fast. With the same game atmosphere as Overture, Black Plague goes even scarier and a bigger experience. Totally worth playing. The atmosphere will get sort of ruined in the end of the game, more than that i cant say. Expand
  4. CarlV
    Sep 7, 2009
    I had already said great things about the first game, Penumbra Overture. So the second blew me away. Black Plague did everything Overture had accomplished and made it better, tweaking all the flaws from the first like the incredibly awkward combat. It also more then triples the scare factor of the game, replacing simple animals that were already dreadful with a horrifying new breed of danger. The game's story isn't going to win it an award by itself, and some people complain about the ending. I on the other hand, perhaps being a bit more flexible with plot, found the story memorable and thought provoking. Coupled with an atmosphere that is so dark, chilling and gripping that the game demands to be played fully emersed; at night, lights off. The graphics aren't amazing, but as the name of the series hints *Penumbra: The small area of light surrounded by darkness* , this is not so much about graphics as the lighting. The shadows easily hide the sins of the outdated graphics and while the lighting is amazing, it is rarely reassuring in the gritty, claustrophobic environment that is "The Shelter". Coupled with some underrated script and voice acting, not to mention immersive sound that leaves you jumping at every little noise that goes "bump", the game becomes a very frightening world for your character to explore, run and hide in. I bought this game for 5 dollars when it was on sale. Best 5 dollars ever spent. If you're a fan of horror, do not miss this game. The only reason I gave it a 9 out of 10 instead of a full out 10 is because the game isn't for everyone and it didn't smash down the definitions of adventure/puzzle games and set them anew. But it excels at what it sets out to do and creates not so much a game as more an experience, if not an utterly terrifying one. It's simply an amazing hidden gem in a sea of games. Not everyone will find it or even appreciate it, but that makes it all the more savoring for people like me who have discovered it. Expand
  5. Dec 2, 2012
    And the series just keeps moving upward. Overture is a very good game, but Black Plague is a few steps up. The clever writing, characters, scares and atmosphere is still there. The puzzles are still well done. Anyone who enjoyed Overture has no reason to not enjoy this one. Expand
  6. Jun 13, 2012
    This, as a sequel, did an amazing job to improve on the down sides of the previous game and brilliantly follow the story on! I definitely recommend this game to anyone wanting a dark, atmospheric game to pay that isn't typical like Doom 3 or Dead Space is! An only major downside is that puzzles can be extremely difficult to complete and there are a lot of them but otherwise, a great game! What makes it better is the DLC it comes with, Penumbra: Requiem which I have barely started and hope to enjoy as much as the full game counterpart. Expand
  7. Apr 17, 2013
    Overall a really good experience I'd play this over a bland, brown triple A FPS any day. The puzzles were clever and tricky, but not so illogical that I had to spend my whole time reading a walkthrough. There were also a lot of things fixed from the first game, but also a bunch of new issues. Not sure if it was my linux copy, or the game itself, but there were more than one graphical bug, such as missing textures etc.

    But my major complaint is the voice of Clarence. In fact I'm surprised it's not mentioned more often. Typically voice acting is something I would leave as a "splitting hairs" complaint, but the voice of this very fundamental character is so utterly wrong it almost ruined the experience for me. He sounds more like a character from a Warner Brothers cartoon from the 1950s than what his character is really supposed to be. Any time I began to really feel immersed in the otherwise intoxicating atmosphere, his voice would chime in, sounding like an anthropomorphic dog with a cigar hanging out of his mouth, and the entire illusion would be shattered.

    Additionally I would like to add that that the AI could have been better. Now, I don't deliberately go into a horror game looking for all the strings and ruining the illusion, but when I'm supposed to be terrified of a monster that's supposedly looking for me but is instead stood stationary in a corner pointing it's flashlight at the wall, the fear very quickly subsides.

    Even so, there were enough genuinely terrifying moments, and sumpteous creepy atmosphere to make up for this.

See all 40 User Reviews