You wake up on a shore. You know nothing. Nothing is explained. You start to trot around. Break some boxes. Find a path and move yonder.
At some point an arrow strikes the wood near you. It is a note that tells you to get out.
You wander around the island. Meet friendly inhabitants. Die from them. Kill them. Find clues about the past of the island.
You're still rather unsure about your objective. You find some piles of dirt that you can not dig. Rather demon~ish looking soldiers are all over the place and are trying to kill you. Some strange merchant leaves his wares with notes for you to purchase, which is strange. All his wares are here - lying in the chest. No one guards them. And yet our protagonist can't take them for free, looks like his conscience would kill him in his sleep if he takes anything without leaving a payment. So we always pay. And merchant leaves new wares and more notes about how grateful he is that we actually pay.
Until you come across the first Fort and ring a bell - it's all hard to understand. It's even more confusing afterwards, but not for long.
You come to the Fort. Find and ear, eye, tongue, bell. Why would you take those things? Why not?! Free stuff! Anyway. You hang the bell on it's place. Ring it and... kaboom. Deafening noise surrounds you. All light fades and it is not a day anymore. It's all creepy and unsettling.
After wandering for a bit - you see ghosts. You start talking with them and trying to help them to remember what they forgot. At this point in the game - you're almost done, but you don't know it yet. All what's left is mechanical work. To cleanse some corruption and proceed forward / kill stuff on your way (not necessary) and get to the last location. 70% of the game is entirely optional. Except for the curiosity (I find those little stories and connections to the whole picture rather enjoyable) - there's only one reason to help the ghosts the fight at the end of the game becomes easier, but it doesn't really matter, because you can handle it either way
And another spoiler about the ghosts - the thing here is - the stories are good. I liked each one of them. But there's a certain pattern - everyone is a bad person. You can start talking with a dead soldier and he would say how he misses his friend playing on a flute. You wander around. Find his friend and turns out that the first soldier killed his friend because he discovered that the soldier was a traitor. And the thought when the soldier killed his friend was about how he's going to miss his playing. Here. And same thing with every story. There's no good characters.
Where am I going - in the end we have to do a great backtracking and to visit every ghost we've freed (or are yet to free). But it's not troublesome. Because now wee need them to go and we have an option with each of them - comfort or crush. We can say "It's all right. No need to wish for different outcome. Be free" or we can say "You're a sick monster who tied your wife to the tree and let wolves eat her alive. You cut throat of your daughter because she was pregnant with a child of savage and sent your men to kill another one, for she discovered what you've done. You shall forever burn in hell." and it was great.
Now your objective is clear. Here's a ghost. Ghost doesn't remember ♥♥♥♥. You ask the last he remembers. He tells us some clue / location / deed / name. We proceed from that, most likely meet some foes on the way, and uncover his past. He remembers what he forgot - we're done. Like a detective. There're several ghosts around the island and all of them are optional. - That's 90% of the game. Sad, but true. After a certain point you start to understand it and the game feels repetitive. The only thing that drives you on are the stories of the ghosts and finale.
When you're not being detective (or rather in between of it) - you kill stuff. Kinds of different stuff.
The combat system in this game is enjoyable. You have a long bow, short bow, crossbow, pistol and musket. You plunder weapons of different quality from defeated foes or you can buy them from the store.
There is a stealth system. The enemies have the same sight distance as you do. So it's not wise to simply run around - leads to a higher chance of being spotted from afar. You can mask your movements with bushes and grass and move while the wind roars to hide your sounds.
You can enhance your abilities by finding / buying charms. They increase your movement speed, reload, hp, your melee speed and attack, reduce the chance of being spotted - that kind of stuff. You can have equipped only three at a time and trough the game you will change your setup of charms more than once or twice.
In the end all this gives us a very enjoyable stealth-shooter, where you're not limited to either and can play as you wish. I liked it a lot. The encounters are memorable and breathtaking.
Killing aside - atmosphere. Rather strong part of the game. It leaves you horrified and in anxiety. "Horror" might fit it, but it's more of a thriller. The b/w is incredible for atmosphere, it sets the right mood for the game and themes the game touches, for the plot itself. I never played this game with color (I know they added an option), but still - I do not recommend you to play with one. Part of the incredible atmosphere would be lost.
Sound. The sounds of environment, enemies - there's not a lot of them, but they're all in the right places and sound RIGHT. They create atmosphere. You can even navigate by sound. There's a "listen" ability (not your ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ with seeing enemies through the walls like in Last of Us or smth) - you press a button and protagonist starts to listen. And by hearing and moving your mouse you can pinpoint the location of where a place of interest might be.
The only thing that I don't like - is that how quiet muskets and pistols are. Like come on! They should sound like thunder. I own a charleville myself and that thing can set off alarms of the whole neighborhood when fired! And maybe the sound of arrows strucking the armor is a little silly. Sounds a little comical. But still. The sound is incredible.
The ending left me horrified and with a lot of questions without answers. Is it good or bad thing - I don't know. But I hope for sequel. I enjoyed the game a lot.