2022 has been a great year for horror games, with Bendy and the Dark Revival being the latest example.
The sequel to Bendy and the Ink Machine is now available, clocking in at approximately five or so hours of horror gaming goodness. But is it worth your time? Let’s dive in.
I’ll keep this review spoiler-free, but everyone who played the first game will notice familiar places inside Joey Drew’s Studios. Artist Alley, among other sites, makes an appearance with a new twist. While these map layouts may seem similar on the surface, they carry new puzzles and enemies to make your way through them. The environment has that classic yellow hue from the first game but also includes some sections with remarkable realistic graphics and colors. The art direction is well executed here.
The first thing I noticed this time was how similar it felt to BioShock. Now, this isn’t a bad thing; I loved all three BioShock games. Your first (and only, more on that later) weapon is a pipe similar to the wrench. The mission objective pop-ups look very similar. We have a man brought to god-like status in his own world (Andrew Ryan & Joey Drew). The ink puddles are everywhere, identical to the leaking water of Rapture.
Now I didn’t have a problem with this; in fact, I loved this style. Still, these are similarities that cannot be ignored, especially considering one of the biggest fumbles of the game.
Bendy and the Dark Revival’s Combat Can’t Keep Up With Its Art Direction
Combat is, unfortunately, a big miss for me. We’ve only got the classic Gent Pipe weapon from the first game this time. Guns, axe, and every other item has now been removed. My biggest complaint during my entire playthrough is how the pipe only has one attack. There are no block or dodge functions, which feels like a step backward from the previous game.
New weapons or a more in-depth combat system would’ve made this game more fun. Stealth is a bit different, allowing Audrey to stealth banish unalerted foes back to the ink they were born from. The last boss fight was a bit more fun this time than in the original Bendy. So points where it’s due that time around.
The easiest way to fix the dull combat is to add more weapons from the first game. There’s a fun Easter egg where you can see all the items from the original. I’m not going to lie; I spent a minute seeing if I could access these weapons and items for my playthrough. Sadly, that’s not the case.
You can upgrade your Gent pipe to add more damage to your attacks, but the game needs more variety. As it stands, I looked forward to getting past these sections rather than being excited about engaging enemies in combat.
What’s Old Is New Again
**Minor Spoilers for both games!**
The whole plot of the original Bendy was the never-ending cycle of Protagonist Henry stuck in a loop of going through his actions indefinitely. The cycle is also trying to continue here, with Audrey now going through the same cycle. My biggest issue is the repetition. Bendy and the Dark Revival repeats the same beats as its predecessor. While it makes total sense from a narrative perspective, boring to see the same things play out again in an entirely new campaign.
Bendy and the Dark Revival is only about five hours long, with the fifth chapter being the longest of the bunch by far. There are a few side quests that are optional and reward the player with collectibles in the form of memories. It will appeal to completionists and add more time to your gameplay, but this is still a relatively short game. The boss battles were enjoyable despite my concerns with the game’s combat. Mechanics required me to learn the fight in and out if I wanted to complete it without dying or respawning.
Speaking of dying, the Ink Demon is the quickest way to game over. If he can catch you because you cannot find a hiding spot in time, you are sent back to your closest autosave. The auto-save system isn’t perfect, so dying here is a great way to lose substantial progress. You should already perform frequent manual saves, but this reinforces the habit.
While some environments may be from the first game, it’s important to remember this is a brand new adventure. . Dark Revival does well to balance familiar locales with new ones. Better yet, there’s a good balance of progression and exploration. You can backtrack through each level to complete missing objectives, but the world is never too big or cumbersome to explore.
Bendy and the Dark Revival Tries To Pay Respect to the Original While Still Pushing Forward
There’s enough new content between the world and the story to warrant a full sequel. Having said that, there are issues with repetition. At times, I couldn’t help but shake a feeling of deja vu.
Hopefully, if we get a third Bendy game, the developers will move away from the never-ending cycle and branch out from the repeating themes.
With a litany of collectibles spanning memories, tapes, and documents, the full story can be uncovered for those with a careful eye to look out for them. Between collectible hunting, the game’s hard mode, and various steam achievements. This game is good for multiple playthroughs for those looking to achieve everything. It’s not perfect, but Bendy and the Dark Revival is still a good time despite its flaws.