I'm now 1h into the beta, and just paused after drinking my glass of milk
Here are a few comments that I wrote on the fly. I hope some of them can help polishing an already fascinating game :
1/ Animated sprites just flip when they change direction - there is no intermediate movement (e.g. seeing them front or back). It does not feel especially wrong on the main character nor the zombies; however it really feels artificial on the "Big baby" enemies.
To me, it feels like "Oh, wait, half a second later it was facing left, now he's facing right in a blink of an eye -- I remember now, it's just a sprite..." => breaks the spell a little, know what I mean ?
2/ Since the asylum stairwells are obviously made of metal, it surprised me that the character does not make more noise when he's using them.
3/ I remember a "big baby" chase sequence where the main character can escape the hallway (and thus the enemy) through a stairwell. Since stairwell openings do not have doors, there is no "door opening" animations when using them for escaping enemies. At this moment, the game feels as if the escape takes place instantly - the change of room magically nulling the threat. It almost felt like cheating to me.
I feel we can really surprise the player by keeping things as is, and by adding a little extra => after escaping "big baby" through a stairwell opening, if the player stays still in front of the doorstep for 2 seconds, big baby's arms appear and drag him back to his choking death !!!
4/ I remember another sequence in the manor where the player is advancing while lights turn off behind him, and darkness keeps growing as he walks the corridor. I first panicked a little when I tried to go left and got eaten by the darkness.
At my 2nd try, I quickly realized that darkness "waits" for the player to walk in order to progress. I don't know if it was intentional, but to me, this felt "scripted" and was a kind of a let down.
Why not letting it advance continuously, and let the player "run wisely" to escape it ?
5/ I think that the asylum level has much potential that has not been unleashed yet. My first reaction was "Oh God, here comes the mandatory hospital level that keeps coming back in all horror titles...". I'm not a big fan of these environments, and I walked much less cautiously than in the manor, just to get it over with. However...
However there were the doors. All these cell doors and what is (could be ?) (might have been ?) just behind them when I peeked inside. To be honest, I looked in the first 3 cells through their peepholes, and then a thought crossed my mind : what if the inhabitant of the next one was waiting for me to peek, just behind the door ? I then became irrationnaly terrified by these peepholes, and almost ceased to use them for the whole level in fear something was waiting just behind to get at my eyes while I looked.
In my opinion, you could use that to your advantage :
- By implementing a couple of random stuff that actually jump at the character from behind the door (heh, maybe you've already done that but I was way too much scared to check it out ^^)
- By making more weird stuff randomly come out of the doors to the hallways : clouds of flies, puddles of oil or blood, mutilated limbs....
- By forcing the player to peek inside
in order to unlock a part of the level (e.g. by letting him understand that the key of the exit room is inside one of the cells, or by letting him know of a hidden passage that can be unveiled by reading the blood messages left by the inmates).
=> IMHO, the asylum would become a true nightmare if the rooms were brought to their true potential