|Developer||Joey Drew Studios|
|Publisher||Joey Drew Studios|
|Platforms||Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC (reviewed)|
|Release Date||November 15, 2022|
Bendy and the Dark Revival is the sequel to Bendy and the Ink Machine. The Bendy games follow separate protagonists who are sucked into the cartoon world of the ink machine which is the domain of the evil entity known as the Ink Demon. The games have gained widespread success as quality survival horror games with a cartoonish, cell shaded aesthetic reminiscent of classics such as Steamboat Willie. Bendy and the Dark Revival was developed and published by Joey Drew Studios.
Spiritual Content: Bendy is a cartoon devil in the style of an iconic cartoon character like Mickey Mouse. His love interest, Alice Angel, is a cartoon angel semi-reminiscent of Betty Boop or Jessica Rabbit. The game does refer to the main villain as an Ink Demon however there is no mention of hell or traditional religious relations of demons. Additionally, there are pentagrams in the game but they do not resemble the real ones and are not accurate to what the real-life equivalents appear like. The ink demon could’ve been called the Ink Monster as there is no summoning of it or reference to it being one of Lucifer’s cohorts.
Language: The game contains instances of the d**n and h**l as an expletive.
Violence: The game does contain violence your primary weapon is a blunt object which can be used to kill ink monsters. The ink monsters look like the Heartless from Kingdom Hearts but more humanoid. There are also special enemies that are twisted versions of the villains from Bendy’s in-universe cartoon which tend to look like Frankenstein’s monster, but as mismatched cartoons. One instance of dismemberment and a scene with an enemy impaled by a pole and hanging from it can be seen in the game. All blood in the game is depicted as ink since the world is a cartoon.
Sexual Content: Alice Angel is a cartoon character with cocktail dress reminiscent of the 50s and 60s style. Her outfit is not as revealing that meets today’s standards of modesty.
Negative Content: The game is a horror game so it relies heavily on scary imagery which can be disturbing to those who are not ok with jump scares or a generally menacing atmosphere in a game.
Positive Content: Despite the darkness in the world the overall theme is overcoming one’s own demons or darkness and accepting who you are so you can become a better person. It also focuses on teaching the lesson that sometimes a person who seems bad can have extra layers to who they are. They have their own motivations and rationale behind their decisions even if they are flawed.
Bendy and The Dark Revival has an ESRB rating of T for Teens and a PEGI rating of 7.
Bendy established itself as a cult classic with a large fandom around the franchise. The games masterfully create an immersive experience that feels on par with Bethesda’s Fallout for a very grounded alternate-history atmosphere. The game even goes into the subtle nuances of the way a real-world animation studio would have looked in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
The gameplay of Bendy and the Dark Revival is similar to that of other first-person survival horror games with the most similar one being Resident Evil 7. During a playthrough, the player will often find themselves planning out how to deal with situations as combat often is not always the best option in many situations. In many instances, stealth and hiding are highly encouraged to players, especially at the start of the game. In addition to the traditional survival horror game mechanics, the player can obtain special abilities akin to the plasmids in the Bioshock series.
Visually Bendy and the Dark Revival is well-crafted and refined. The game’s visual direction follows an aesthetic mixture of the 1950s cartoons like the game Cuphead and the vintage architecture of Bioshock and Fallout. The lighting and vignettes are reminiscent of the yellow glow that Resident Evil 7 utilized. All of the characters were very detailed and every texture encountered was of high quality with few low poly textures which were only found in very out-of-the-way places such as in some crates. On the PC, there were some performance issues such as frame drops occasionally and some slow down in certain areas due to the game itself.
The audio design of the game was rather well done though sometimes, even when using surround sound for 7.1 headphones, the audio would come from the wrong place or sound flat. These instances were far and few between and didn’t detract from the overall experience but could ruin immersion for some players. The voice acting is high caliber and exceeds expectations for an indie game. The soundtrack is also of the same high quality as the voice acting, aiding in establishing an appropriate atmosphere.
The biggest issues and concerns with Bendy and Dark Revival were some bugs encountered. The first being during a boss fight, the boss was unable to be defeated however upon reloading the game, the issue resolved, but the error shouldn’t have occurred in the first place considering the importance of boss fights. Another glitch that would occur was full screen not scaling properly on PC as whenever the game was minimized it would have to adjust the pc screen and this also caused overlays such as Steam to be off-centered.
Bendy and the Dark Revival did everything a video game sequel could hope to accomplish: take an already beloved franchise and elevate it to new levels. The visual presentation was more refined and the gameplay itself was more responsive. The downfalls the game had were of little consequence besides the one major bug of having a boss fight glitch which is fixable on the player’s end. Overall, the experience was pleasant and while the reliance on jump scares at certain points could be irritating they ultimately didn’t feel overused like many other games in the horror genre and instead chose the more mature route of focusing on creating a haunting environment rather than cheap tricks.
The Bottom Line
Bendy and the Dark Revival is a great example of a sequel improving upon its predecessor in almost every way. For survival horror fans or fans of 50s cartoons, Bendy is a must-play.