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 Obscure: The Aftermath

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PostSubject: Obscure: The Aftermath   Wed May 21, 2008 5:46 am

Metachronos overall score = 5.0 / 10

Positive
- Great puzzles
- Soundtrack is good, if not unremarkable

Negative
- The grating cast of characters is voiced by a similarly grating troupe of actors
- Not a single chill or scare to be found
- Awful camera and targeting scheme can lead to plenty of unavoidable deaths

It's easy to assume that developer Hydravision was trying to deliver a Scream-like parody of teen slasher films. Perhaps that's so, but the tongue-in-cheek irony necessary for such an endeavor is missing, instead replaced with bad sexual innuendo and humorless one-liners. From bad dialogue ("I've seen all of Corey's x-rays; I know him inside out") to third-rate voice acting, every character is stripped down to a cliche. At least the characters provide something tangible to grasp because the plot is paper thin, though it does offer some veiled commentary on the perils of drugs and sexual debauchery. What the plot lacks are the most important elements of a good survival horror game: scares and suspense. If the main characters can't bother to feel the occasional chill, there's no reason why we should ever get goose bumps of our own.



Nevertheless, there are some atmospheric touches, though many of them are undermined by the general lack of tension. Some scenes are viewed through a grainy black and white filter, an effect that has been used in games countless times but is still utilized with some success in Aftermath. The darkest environments, such as a murky forest, are the most fitting partially because they offer much-needed atmosphere and partially because clearer lighting reveals that Aftermath does not live up to the visual standards of its platform. Character models are stiff and lifeless, textures are rendered in low resolution, and cutscenes are pixelated (though some of them reveal some nice cinematic flourishes). Some areas look properly dingy and degraded, but the game doesn't have a cohesive artistic vision, so elements like these feel practically accidental. The main saving grace is Olivier Deriviere's moody soundtrack, which features some nice string tracks and interesting vocal stylizations.



With a gun in your hands, you'll still need to press Z to prepare for combat. This time, you'll hold A to target your enemy and pull the B button to fire. It's a bit muddled, but it's an understandably deliberate element that is consistent with the genre. However, the implementation is all but broken. If an enemy isn't onscreen, you can't target it, and it's very common for the monster to appear between the player view and the onscreen character. The creature can attack, but you can't fire back because you can't move the camera to a workable position. Additionally, entering combat stance may force the character to point his or her weapon away from the camera--which, in this case, is away from the enemy. The targeting is also close to broken. Pressing A may or may not lock on to an enemy, and once you are locked on, the camera may go into convulsions, making it difficult to tell what's going on. Again, this is an unforgiveable gaffe in a challenging game that requires you to be frugal with ammunition and health packs. If you liked the first game in the series, you'll find plenty of crossover elements, but then again, if you played the original Obscure, you already have an idea of what to expect. There's nothing wrong with exploiting a proven formula, assuming it's done well. Unfortunately, In Obscure: The Aftermath, nothing is done very well.




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Most of my reviews are taken from www.gamespot.com I shorten them and find the most important parts as their reviews are over 3 pages long which can be a burden to read and the screenshots are taken from the internet Wink
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