While traversing the Commonwealth Wastelands, the Sole Survivor’s Pip-boy picks up an incoming encrypted message. Once it is decrypted, the message reads:
“Hey, got another one for you. I’ve detected a strange energy disturbance just North-East of Parson’s Creamery. I’d go there myself to handle it but I’m caught up at the moment. Check it out for me.
– Carter Mason
Upon receiving the radio transmission, you are given a new quest and quest marker to investigate strange phenomenon near Parson’s Creamery. At first, nothing seems to be amiss in the area. All you see are some Mirelurks hanging around. Those pesky Mirelurks. Until you notice something out of place…
In the Kelly Manor Horror quest, there are minimal quest objectives and quest markers to guide you. For the majority of the quest, you will have to determine what is the logical course of action as you explore the manor and pay attention to your surroundings.
The story is primarily told using notes, holotapes, cutscenes and later dialogue. All which hint something sinister (yet tragic?) was happening in the manor with a hint of supernatural. All of which helped to amplify the sense of unease I was already feeling throughout.
The lack of music throughout the ‘adventure’ was the chief cause of me feeling on edge throughout. Having eerie silence broken at random intervals by sounds such as giggling, a woman’s panicked begging to not open the door for example. Hearing Madison throughout in the manor had me about ready to just “nope-ing” the whole thing together. I have seen enough horror movies and shows (usually against my will) to get a fair idea how bad things can/will turn out.
No thanks! I’m out of here!
There were moments that could classify as ‘jump-scares’ in the mod. Neeher used them effectively without overusing them. Something I really appreciated for a few reasons:
- I think it is a cheap way to get a scare out of a person
- People tend to fall into the trap of overusing it, leading to back to my first point
- It can negatively impact the experience you are trying to create (e.g. ruining a player’s immersion for example). If you overuse it, then you could actually frustrate the player
My final reason would be that for me, personally, I do not like jumpscares in general because I hate being startled which leads to having my immersion and experience ruined (then I get mad for being startled). Not to mention, the fight-flight instinct kicks in and I accidentally injure myself with a knee-jerk reaction :p Mainly due to the fact, I do not handle being surprised too well. However, if someone can use them effectively? You have a mechanic that can scare the player when it catches them off guard, and add to the experience you are trying to create.
Kelly Manor had an excellent buildup in the beginning, but I felt it fizzled out towards the end. I was disappointed with the end as it felt anti-climatic and too easy. This applies the speech check route you can take to resolve the quest. I did replay this and opted to skip the speech checks and needless to say, things went from 0 to 100 quickly.
The Kelly Manor Horror does not require any DLCs, which makes it a nice standalone mod since everyone is able to play it. I recall the frustration I had felt, as several of the mods I had wanted to try out, settlement blueprints, in particular, required either several other mods to be downloaded in order to work or one if not all the DLCs. In the end, I ended up buying the DLCs during the Steam Winter sale so I could have freedom in which mods I could download.
Time-wise, it is relatively short as Neeher said in the mod description. I would estimate this horror-quest mod would take people between 30 minutes to an hour. My friend and I played it together, using Discord to communicate and since we are not the most observant of people the best of times, we took a little longer than an hour simply cause we forgot to inspect some certain machinery a little closer (I blame the late hour we were playing at the time).
There is a minimum focus on combat which is saved for the final area, leading up to the final confrontation. The focus is on exploring the area and puzzling out what you need to do to progress further. Although depending on your dialogue choices, you could have an epic ‘boss’ fight which I have been told by my friend, can be a little challenging.
I still do not know whether I would label this as horror as it feels more like a thriller to me. Other than that, Kelly Manor was an enjoyable short little horror/thriller quest mod. It had a good narrative even if uses the typical trope of a creepy little girl and the inclusion of supernatural powers. The lack of music just amplified the unease and making the ambient sounds you can hear become the main focus. If there was music involved, then neither my friend or I ever heard it during our playthrough(s).
It was a nice attention to detail of how Neeher kept the color scheme consistent throughout the mod, to keep the idea that the Sole Survivor travelled into another dimension/realm. Using water as a portal door was clever, I liked that a lot. I actually had no idea it was water till I approached it. Although I am still curious why we were allowed in, in the first place. Was it boredom? Subconscious plea for help? Sinister reasons? Or just none at all?
Also one more thing…why a tricycle??