Greyhill Incident PS5 Review. Aliens have landed and you need to survive in small-town America. PlayStation Universe looks to the skies to see if Greyhill Incident has the fire to be a memorable alien abduction story.
Greyhill Incident Review (PS5) – Forget What You Saw Out There
The PlayStation store is absolutely rife with low-grade mush that cobbles together some approximation of a game from the 80s, usually adored with some Manga-style or scuzzy blood-splattered covered art to mask bare-arsed copies of Breakout or Tic Tac Toe. The one thing you can give them credit for is not generally trying to charge anyone foolish enough to buy them an extortionate amount.
Greyhill Incident does a better job of hiding that it is low-grade mush. It’s mush with a mustache and pearly teeth, but those soon fall to reveal one of the poorest games to receive a decent amount of attention this decade.
Greyhill Incident promises a survival horror experience with a difference. No zombies, bioweapons, or mad axemen here, just aliens. Plain old little gray men. I, like many others, found this an interesting hook, and I like nothing more than seeing smaller independent studios tackle something a bit fresher in horror gaming. I will caveat the rest of this review by saying I could see how Greyhill Incident’s status was impacted by becoming a viral hit based on selective clips and that put the developers at a level they just weren’t ready for. You are damned either way then because speaking out in truth of that would probably lose you potential sales. So why not make money while people are into the illusion of what your game is? On that, I can’t fault the hypothetical thinking at least because the virality of Greyhill incident was something out of its hands.
I Want to Believe
The small town of Greyhill is a sleepy one, but seems to have a history of alien abduction. There’s been signs of a return for a while now, and one night in 1992, protagonist Ryan Baker is caught in the middle of an invasion by little gray men. His objective is to travel around town and try to save the residents from abduction with a baseball bat and a few rounds in a revolver.
The game begins with a series of shots of Baker’s rural home as he and other locals chat on walkie-talkies about this and that. First impressions count for a lot and the dialogue and line delivery in this opening exchange is akin to a speaker walking into a packed conference, having his trousers fall down, and tripping head over heels into the front row. And in the front row is the President or something. Imagine sitting on the President’s lap with your trousers around your ankles. Actually, probably best you don’t.
The line reads are performed like members of the public were apprehended, shoved into a dark cupboard, and asked to read a messily handwritten script in poor light. I don’t mind some rickety amateur performances, they could feasibly enhance this particular experience if they had the right ‘bad’ quality about them. Instead, we just have a painful tennis match back and forth of dreary, stiff verbal volleys that only show it might have been better if spoken dialogue had been omitted altogether in favor of text. Though even the text is sloppily written and filled with errors (yeah, yeah, stones in glass houses and all that).
Two hours of listening to delivery that rarely matches the tone of the situation, and lip-synching that exists on a different dimensional plain to the words being spoken are one of the most draining aspects of this largely torturous experience. Amusing for a short while, but aggravatingly distracting after longer exposure.
Visually, Greyhill Incident makes a better first impression. Baker’s home looks decent enough and has some limited interactivity. I actually like the gloom outside the windows as it captures some proper atmosphere and mystery. The first few instances of alien activity also build some intrigue with steady pacing before a fully-fledged reveal. The problem is that the storytelling around these highlights throws a bucket of cold sick over them at every opportunity. Before long the shroud of any depth to the experience has fallen away to reveal Greyhill Incident for what it is; a set of premade assets and an idea not remotely brought to fruition.
I could sit and pick away at a buffet of issues both structurally and narratively, but it would just feel like I was kicking the game while it’s down. So I’ll just get through some of the more notable faltering. The chargeable torch is a good idea on paper, but it’s basically useless as a tool throughout the game. Whether you’re heading into a stealthy section where you avoid the alien threat or taking them on with a baseball bat in hand, the game is at best frustrating to play and at worst it’s downright unpleasant. A trudging, badly signposted structure means you are left with ambiguity that is not needed nor welcome in stealth and exploration. In combat, there’s simply no weight to it, and the Grays are so poorly animated in death that it takes any satisfaction out of crumpling them.
Technically, I’ve played plenty worse than Greyhill Incident, but I just can’t escape the feeling of how far below par this is. It’s a real Triple Bogey of a game. Again, expectations were placed upon it that the developers didn’t entirely advocate for so I keep that in mind. Still, Greyhill Incident is awful regardless of expectations. I’ve played countless smaller indie horror games in recent years that embarrass what is presented here. The only real solace to take here is that with time and understanding this development team can learn from its mistakes and come back with something more accomplished.
Greyhill Incident is now available for PS5, PS4, PC, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One.