Draugen

Another quick one, today about a game I played some time ago. All up it lasted about 2-3 hours, and they were hours that I found more enjoyable than a most of the countless-hours-sunk-into-them multiplayer games that I usually frequent. The most surprising thing is that it was almost entirely linear, there was no major choices apart from what to look at and in what order to investigate said things to look at. No, it was tight and linear and narrowly focused on telling a story, a story I will do my best not to spoil.

Draugen is touted as a ‘first-person psychological horror’ according to the games’ fandom wiki page. You spend you time in a remote and deserted village in Norway in the 1920’s searching for a relative and slowly uncovering what has happened and why the townspeople are mysteriously absent. You’re accompanied by a young woman named Lissie who is your (the player character) ward, she’s sarcastic, energetic and optimistic, a foil to the main character’s melancholic, stilted and exhausted-seeming persona. You spend the game searching the town for clues as to the whereabouts of the main character’s sister and slowly piecing together what happened in the town before you arrived, all whilst being chastised by Lissie for the obsessive search for the sister (and your plodding nature, often from some ridiculous positions as Lissie galivants about).

The story is centred around the psychological impacts of trauma and the coping mechanisms that spawn as a result of that trauma. Not being a psychologist myself (and also not wanting to spoil so I won’t talk about them here), I can’t vouch for the accuracy or realism of the representations of manifestations as a result of trauma (though I imagine there’s a lot of artistic licene being taken regardless, it is after-all a video game) but, I can say I enjoyed the game and will happily be looking into Red Thread Games’ game releases in future (especially as it was hinted that the characters from Draugen will be returning at some point).

—Mechaquill