The Final Say!
Reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: November 2004
Not Base on an Average
Distributed By: Ubi Soft
Survival Horror comes
to the XBox in force in the way of Obscure. The first impression
that players will get is inevitably the comparison to a certain
vampire slayer by the name of Buffy. Keep playing however as apart
from the general look of Buffy, this game holds it's own in spades
and then some.
Kids are disappearing
from the local high school and as is always the case, the
authorities and parents for some reason are not shown nor seem to
care. The only ones that do are a group of friends that are prepared
to go where no one else will, into a world where nightmares are real
and failure will result in death.
There are some really
neat ties to this story, one of which is the chance that players
have to go through this title cooperatively with a two player mode
or by taking along a team mate with you controlled by the computer
AI. There are a few teething problems initially as you get used to
the way that the AI operates and how to get out of it's way as when
using melee weapons you can get clonked on the head by an
enthusiastic partner with a baseball bat if you are not careful.
Once you've both got guns it's all good though.
Obscure combines light
puzzle work with combat and the monsters that you have to take on
are pretty nasty beasties that are surrounded by an inky black
cloud. Make sure you are carrying a torch or light source of some
kind as they can be defeated or weakened by illuminating the
creature which will get rid of this creepy defensive shield. A neat
move that I discovered earlier in the game is that if it is light
outside the room you are in, smash some windows to really take care
of the monsters.
Whilst this game isn't
terribly hard, it's going to provide everyone who plays it with a
challenge as there will be many times that you find yourself really
low on health and trying desperately to find energy drinks to boost
your health up. Health is scattered throughout the game as are CDs
that you use to save your progress. Don't go crazy saving your game
as once that CD is gone you have to find more to do it again. They
are certainly there to be found but you might find as I did that you
have to play for some time after a big battle to find another to
save that all important progress.
You can combine items
in this game as you can in other survival horror games so make sure
that you fasten your flashlight to your gun whenever you can. It
makes getting rid of the inky cloud surrounding the creatures so
much easier. You can "boost" the light from the torch by pressing
and holding your left shoulder trigger but be sure not to overheat
it as you can wreck your precious light source and be left in the
dark with the horrors that await. Something you really, really do
not want to do. Let me give you the hot tip!
Graphically this title
is very pleasing although I did wish that you had a little more
camera control, the game presents like others in the genre, with the
title firmly controlling what you see when you are moving about in
order to up the ante in frights and jump worthy moments, which you
are sure to.
Environments are a treat to make your way through with polygonal
areas to traverse as opposed to your prerendered backgrounds. Window
shutters open and slam shut, lockers can be banged into and cage doors
creak back and forth. Add to that an extremely ambient soundtrack and
you are in for a gaming treat.
Character development is done through the cutscenes where you'll learn
more about the five kids that you can play as, as well as learn about
their individual abilities. When playing single player you can control
the secondary character through the D Pad and they can assist you with a
single button press. Some of the characters know whether there is
anything of interest in a room, whereas others intuitively know whether
or not the room is worth visiting. It's a neat way of making sure that
you do pick up everything you are meant to, though I did find at times
I'd be using it more as a crutch during the game, just let the AI tell
you where the good stuff was and you'd be set.
In summary ObsCure is a good and entertaining game that will keep
you in front of the tele for quite a few hours. It's drawback is the
crutch it provides with the AI, the obvious allusions to a Buffy type
environment and simply the fact that it doesnt quite reach the horrific
factor that Silent Hill does.
That said, you will get many jumps out of the game as things rapidly
change and charge you with bursts of fright. I enjoyed the title and do
recommend it as one that you could really get stuck into. Give it a shot
and let me know what you thought.
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