Penumbra: Black Plague Image

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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 128 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: 38 out of 38
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 38
  3. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. 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
  2. AnonymousMC
    Apr 23, 2009
    No game I've ever played before scared and compelled me like Black Plague did. I had the opportunity of playing it with a Novint Falcon peripheral, where the realistic motions become physical movements. Black Plague is the best game in the Penumbra trilogy by far. The atmosphere is all-around creepy, and game ambiance will make you jump with every scrape or distant thud, and the integration of global lighting for shadows is superb. Hiding in a dark corner in an underground facility while an ominous grotesque figure down a hall walks toward you... terrifying. No way to fight, only to hide. Some moments near the end are truly unrivaled in suspense and terror. The graphics may be somewhat sub-par by today's standards, but any game developer that can inspire this kind of fear despite the graphics is a master of the art form. I really can't do it justice with words, so just play it. Any fan of horror games, or even someone looking for a scare will thoroughly enjoy this game. Just be ready for it. Expand
  3. Sep 2, 2012
    Three years after I buy this game and I still play it. Wouldn't mind seeing a Penumbra Episode 4 in the slightest. Fantastic game Frictional! Keep up the good work with Amnesia! Expand
  4. HenryJ.
    Feb 18, 2008
    Penumbra is dark, original and inspired. Gameplay has been thought way beyond the typical 'get new gun, shoot more enemies and win' formula. An original idea in gamin. It doesn't happen often and when it is this well executed you owe it to yourself to buy it. Expand
  5. 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
  6. Jul 21, 2012
    Fun - 9/10 Gameplay - 7/10 Controls - 10/10 Graphics Design - 9/10 Story - 10/10 All Time Graphics - 8/10 Sound - 7/10 Music - 10/10
    Replayability - 6/10
    Graphics for its time - 6/10
  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 38 User Reviews