Saturday, 8 December 2007

Silent Hill Origins to get PS2 port according to kotaku and kotakus not known for posting turkey rumours , so its much more likely to be the real deal.
Personally its a meh point since i got it on the PSP, hence the revew last month, i think this might jsut be an ecuse to sell it for 5 or 10 quid more at the ps2 price and try and shift a few more units, plus ports arent particulalry known for replicating the quality of the origional, given the problems in the origional version, the screen ratio, incredibly short length and basic story i really dont think this ports going to be a good move buisness wise as it will probably only be bought by the most hardcore fans, then be dissmissed as a poor imitator, so this probably wont be a good move for climax, but thats just my 5 cents on the deal.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

this months gameing

this month im playing through the horror games The Darkness and Bullet Witch ,both on the xbox 360, expect a review soon.
also if i can fit it into my schedule ill also be playing through and reviewing sahdows of memories as ive been meaning to review this for a while.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Silent Hill Origins: The Review

A mid western American town, just outside Brahms and south ashfeild, always shrouded in a veil of fog. we've all been there before, fought the horrors that lurk in that town. Silent hill. The "special place" for many horror gaming fans, myself included.
Its been 8 years since we first ventured into the forsaken town of silent hill as harry mason in the original game on the PlayStation one. yet all these years on some questions remained unanswered, most prominently, how did baby Cheryl get in the Field to be found by harry and his wife?. this is just one question that becomes answered when Travis Grady, a trucker driving though the area, almost runs over a girl in the road he enters the mythos of the town and a world of his worst nightmares.
I, like many hill fans was sceptical about this, as the same team which had been making the games for 8 years had not only turned over silent hill 5's development to a UK team, but origins was developed by the US team Climax , though also moved over to a UK team as its "original sin" format in early development was a resident evil 4 clone which wasn't in keeping with the experience we gamers had grown to love. Fortunately its turned out to be pretty faithful to the other games and almost feels like a team silent product.
The graphics are fantastic overall and for the PSP they are phenomenal, easily on par with silent hill 2, and it is done in a way that the screen and the fact it is handheld does not affect play in any way. only 2 out of in game engine cutscenes are used ,the opening and the beginning, all the others are done in game and look absolutely fantastic.
The enemies, well, unfortunately they start well but as you progress they suffer from final fantasy 12 syndrome, early bosses and enemies reoccur later, only in different sizes and with different textures on them rather than each area having unique character designs. Early creatures are quite tame, like a hairless sheep that's front half is dead and is being dragged by its back half, supposedly representing all the roadkill Travis feels guilty about from the past.Later ones are more interesting, ranging from two torsos intertwined in a copulating position, only one minus it's arms and legs to a screen filling juggernaut bent over backwards. these were pretty original and inventive and the recycled character models is only a minor gripe.
The bosses were the biggest let down of this game, there are 6 in total and to beat them all you just need to shoot, move, repeat till they die, even the ps one original had some that flew, others that burrowed and generally had variety, there is none of that here and it stands alone of this games crowning disappointment.
the combat situations are a little niggly for me, ranging from being backed into a corner by the creatures projectile attack and your half a second recoil animation means you can be repeatedly hammered by an enemy without being able to fight back, and then find that more have shambled up in the process. The weapons like in its predecessor, chronologically, not canonically, the room are destructible, whilst this adds realism, it just seems a bit futile since any enemy can just be pummeled by your fists and there own animation means you can return the favour and keep hammering at them without giving them chance to fight back.
The soundtrack is absolutely fantastic , but to long time fans its no surprise that akira yamoakas hit another home run with this. in fact the soundtrack may be better implemented in this one than others, in previous games you would need to enter an area or trigger a cutscene to change the music but in origins it can happen whenever, but its also the little things, ticking clocks, creaking open doors and splashing water all make for a much more in depth and believable experience than its predecessors in some respects. In fact the combination of graphics and sounds make this one of the more cinematicly vibed games in the series.
In size and scope however this game is slightly disappointing, you only explore a small portion of silent hill, of which some buildings are in different locations, a while the 7 year gap between then and the first game in the series may explain some of this, a large 4 story hospital is not likely to change its location easily, especially since it was still under construction and that's only if there is another normal world besides the foggy and dark otherworlds we encounter in the series. This was touched upon in the movies and it lends itself to that to add other aspects to the towns narrative.
Its a shame that with the small and simple game world, that takes you 4 hrs to complete, nothing more about the history of the cult or even the town is touched upon, only the main story of dahlia and her cult burning alessa, this i felt was sorely lacking. we find a series of deaths took place that seems to suggest a tie to an unseen, Walter Sullivan styled sub plot, possibly linking the PSP title to the up and coming silent hill 5. but other than that the whole game is the very definition of rinse and repeat. its just head to next circle on map, explore, backtrack for keys, solve a puzzle shoot a boss ,black out. repeat 4 times to finish game. and no variety from starting boss to finish, just shoot, move a little, then shoot again repeat till dead.
There are no difficulty levels to choose from and the one that is was painfully easy, and I'm a gamer that always plays on easy, but even so i NEVER died in this game, and only used 4 or 5 healing items during the course of the game. ammunition was generous and i only ever had to use it to finish the bosses, each of which using later weapons take less than one minute to complete. So needless to say this is not only a simpler silent hill, but also a much more friendly game for newcomers to the genre or even the series.
Whilst i personally can rant about this as a long time horror gamer. for people new to this its a gentle introduction that the most casual of gamer can appreciate, and isn't handheld gaming meant to be more casual? i think a little of the disappointment can be done away with when you take that into account. this was also the first silent hill game in the series, and whilst short i was never bored and found myself enjoying this more than the game it is preceding. so whilst i might wish for a longer ,slightly more difficult, game. i would gladly welcome another game in the series from climax as this game, especially for a handheld is engaging, with fantastic sound and visuals, and most of all. its great fun from start to finish.
ill recommend this for hill fans, though don't expect another silent hill 2, for PSP owners who like horror or are looking for something new. but if your a hill fan wondering if you should buy a PSP just for this installment in the series?...maybe not, like i said its great, but has some fairly predominant flaws to balance it out as slightly above average.
and as such I'm going to give it an average score of 7 and a half out of ten.

my personal view?, whilst it was a short trip it was nice to get back to the town that started my love for horror games way back in '99 and its a welcome addition to my collection. as i said its fairly cinematic and meant to touch on the 2006 movie and overall the shortness may be a factor as it plays like an interactive movie, rather than just short for the sake of being easy to produce as its obvious a lot of time went into this game. the pros and cons are all based on climax's own take on the franchise which, whilst not the best, is also not the worst so i commend them for taking on the project and having such an enthralling end result.


Sunday, 25 November 2007

Bioshock: The review

Released: August 2007
Platforms: Xbox 360 ,PC
Developer: 2k
Genre: First Person Horror shooter, with rpg elements

I am Andrew Ryan and I am here to ask you a question:

Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his own brow?

No, says the man in Washington. It belongs to the poor.
No, says the man in the Vatican. It belongs to God.
No, says the man in Moscow. It belongs to everyone.

I rejected those answers. Instead, I chose somethingdifferent. I chose the impossible. I chose…


The year is 1960, and whilst flying over the atlantic ocean your plane crashes. Whilst normally this would mean you would be stranded the protagonist, jack, has had the good luck to crash within feet of a metopolis styled lighthouse rising out of the middle of the atlantic ocean. With nowere else to go you head inside, and the door slams shut after you.
The lighthouse appears to be a surface dock for a bathysphere submersible. with nowere else to go you enter it and are taken to the bottom of the sea. you are taken to rapture.
Created by Andrew Ryan for scientists, athletes and artists to escape the growing political and religous authority over there works. Ryan created rapture to be an "Eden", this all changed with the discovery of a sea slug.
This sea slug was discovered to produce stem cells known as "ADAM" which could be used to rewrite the human genetic code. anything ,from curing baldness to instilling ablities like pyrokenesis or teleportation, was possible thanks to ADAM.
For a time rapture remained the utopia Ryan envisioned. but over time an elite class formed cuasing social boundaries and deep rooted hatreds to be created. the very things ryan created rapture to escape. A former mobster, Frank Fontaine, used this as an opportunity to start a coup for power in rapture, using ADAM to mutate his recruits beyond all recognition into "splicers" .creatures no longer considered human, with warped features and even more warped minds. the splicers , by the time you arrive ,are all thats left of the once 7000 strong population fo rapture. all need ADAM to survive and your a perfectly easy target.
At least till you get some ADAM for yourself that is.
The spiritual sucessor to 2k's pervious fps meets horror rpg "system shock". Bioshock is, first and formost, a first person shooter. but one with heart, not mindless blasting. adding to this is roleplaying elements such as collecting money from fallen enemies to buy more genetic upgrades from the "gatherers garden" machines. This blends in a very nice way and isnt as intrusive to the plot as games like oblivion, were you could trundle into an area at a low level and be killed instantly by high level creatures. here the difficulty of enemies and there number teadily increases at a fair rate that ,while making the game progessivly challenging, does not make it impossible.I use oblivion as an example as the basic controls are much alike, the left trigger is magic, or in this case, plasmid abilities. The right is weapons. Overall the controls are simple and very easy to use and dont hinder the experience any, its a shame there not very origional so they aslo dont add ot the experience either.

The enemy a.i is where this game shines. For the first time in an fps..or any game i believe enemies can know you are there, even right in front of you, and CHOOSE not to attack you. a key example is the symbiotic relationship of the big daddy's and the little sisters.
Young girls were taken and implanted with the slugs and became little walking adam factorys. of course they were an easy target for splicers. this lead to the creation fo the big daddy's.
, Lumbering golem creations of frankenstein design in eeiry diving suits that follow the little sisters around as there protectors. If you dont attack the little sister however they will not attack you. if you get to close it will ,in a bizaarely touching way, run in front of her and shove you away raising its weapon at you till you back off. other than that it will simply follow the little sister as she looks for splicer corpses to harvest ADAM from. There relashionship is touching and creepy at the same time. for example the girls will say "look, found another angel mr bubbles" and the big daddy responds in its whale call like moan. Then after you kill the immensly tough big daddys to claim ADAM from the little sister (this is the only way to get more) the girl will drop to its side weeping and screaming for it to get up. you have to remember these were all people once, and it cant help but invoke emotion in the player, and i commend 2k for doing so.
Killing the big daddy's leads to one of the moral dilemas of the game. You can save the little sister, changing her back into a normal human child. and in doing so recieve 80 ADAM. or extract the slug inside her, killing her in the process, but gaining 160 ADAM. so you get more of a reward for killing the children, the choice is up to you (i personally saved them, what can i say, im a nice guy) this is one example of the moral dilemas that arise that affect your ending and the outcome of jacks visit to rapture.
graphics wise this game is incredibly impressive all the character animation is flaweless. not a glitch can be found and the retro futuristic setting right out of metroplosis is aweinspiring. wandering the bloodstained halls whilst light throws shadows of two enemies argueing in the next room whilst "somewere beyond the sea" plays on a steriogram is fantastic. looking outside to see the eeiry ,green glowing, subterranium metropolis ,still, with a whale sailing between skyscrapers makes you appreciate the sheer effort that whent into this game.
Sound wise its in the same vien as stubbs the zombie, period songs that ,in the context of the location, can take on a much creepier atmosphere and its a sheer delight to listen to, another game like silent hill that i would recommend the soundtrack to.
So am i giving this 10/10 like so many magazines have?, well, no actually, im not.
why?, dont get me wrong i prefer bioshock to halo 3, and it is a must own 360 game. but like prey or dead rising ,towards the end its almost a different game ,and it loses the initial wonder of it .and whilst still fantastic ,its not really going to be something you can play again and again. So it suffers in replayability. even all but 1 or 2 of the achievments can be, well, achieved in one play through. its a fantastic game that i can say any horror fan HAS to try once but will it keep you coming back like silent hill 2 or resident evil 4?, maye not.
So just for the lack of replayability im going to have to lower it to 9.5 out of 10. cracking game thats easily in my top ten of horror gaming and one you will think of more as a fond memory like a favourite movie or story than simply a run and gun first person shooter. at times scary, others emotionally invoking.


Tubbypaws does "li'l hill"

Feast thine eyes on this piece of horror charm from the tubbypaws blogspot. Its a papercraft models you can print off, cut out adn with a bit of dexterous glueing youll have your own little silent hill diorama.
ive never been into this sort of thing, but im a big silent hill fan so as you can imagine this neat little finds made my day, the torch on the floor is such a good touch, they should use there talents to try a silent hill 4 one, probably one of the holes.
Still, its cute, charming and creepy at the same time, what a combo!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

November games reveiws coming up.

Th games i am currently playing through to review for this month are Bioshock on the xbox 360, Silent hill Origins on the PSP and Shadows of memorys on the PS2.

expect reviews in about 2 weeks.

"the true fan", what a load of garbage.

So horror is something of a gameing niche', that i get. i dont get why the horror community at large is full of people who would describe themselves as "true fans". I believe some examples are in order.
On the forums, a place well known across the net for its massive troll community, and the news of capcom no longer producing exclusives had just gone up. Needless to say the playstation 3 forums exploded with threads such as "capcom have turned traitor!!1!" and others just as moronic. In said threads it was all pretty much the same "how can they take resident evil from us, were the true fans, those boxboys wont apprecieate the games like us, ill never buy another capcom game again".
Being a man who loves a good troll war i trundled in with my piece, something along the lines of "but there jsut no longer exclusive to the playstation, the games are still going onto the playstation, jsut the 360 and the wii as well". Some whent "yeah i guess so, cant really complain", but not the true fans . No these guys had to explode on me claiming that i "obviously wasnt a true fan and didnt understand the games".
This topic is just one example but you get the idea, anyone who claims to be a "true fan" ,especially in the anonimity of the net, is just taking part in the age old "mines better than yours" argument. Theres no prize for a level of fandom or commitment, yet these sorts of people seem to feel there should be. that having a more in depth knowledge of a game makes them better than you.
Its utter garbage, there is no such thing as a "true fan" phrases like that adn "die hard fan" are meaningless, you can have someone whos such a fan they are devoted to the game but a "true fan"?. Sorry but theres no such thing, you either like somethign ro you dont, theres varying degrees of like or dislike between but thats the gist of it, theres allways people just as into a game, a book, a movie or a band as you, and allways some even more so. The phrase "true fan" seems to me to be some sort of self gratification for people who crave attention.
You never hear someone calling someone a true fan do you?, they are allways the ones exclaiming it themselves.
in fact the one place on the net ive yet to see this is the silent hill forum, you have people from all walks of life who visit the site just becuase they like the games, simple as that. theres no arguments about whos a bigger fan or a "true fan" and its nice to know some places can go on without this meaningless bragging.
Your either a fan or you aint, the closest thing in real lfie terms to the internet phrase "true fan" is "obssesive" or "stalker".

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Just a small article on my own criteria

So when it comes to horror games one of the sites i frequent most is Chris' survival horror quest , Which is stricly survival horror only and includes his reasoning for why, and what he concludes is a survival horror game, following certain criteria he has come up with. Being he is a games designer and i am a film maker our ideas of "the rules of horror" are obviously going to deviate at a certain point, so i thought i would use (steal) the idea to express why ill be choosing the games i choose for this site.
On his site Chris' has stated something along the lines of not wanting to do all "horror" games in his quest to play them all and as such focused purly on survival horror. Personally im not on a quest, nor am i in any hurry as my lack of recent posts will attest, to complete a list. This is just one gameing fanatics opinions on games in the horror genre and all its subgenres therein and i will review games and post articles at my own lesiure and i am, most importantly, not aiming to play every one ever so i will just review what i can when i get a hold of it.
As such i dont need to limit myself to one subgenre, of even just videogames, and can include any game i choose as a 'horror' game. Sohow do i go about it?

1:Whilst it goes without saying that the game must have horrific themes there is a degree of leneincy to games that arent scary but fit the theme, such as the gothic rpg koudelka.
2:There is such a thing as horror comedy (ala the evil dead) and i would list some games that arent exactly serious like zombies vs ambulance or the gregory horror show as such but others are comedic to the point of sheer absurdity and for my own personal tastes i wont focus on them.
3: ive got to own it, this may sound stupid but every game i review is in my possesion, this isnt a deal were i rent it specifically for this purpose, these are games hand picked from my own collection to be used as an article within this site, this means i will "go back to" any game and replay it for a fair and up to date review.
4: I dont limit to just a 3rd person shooter like resident evil or silent hill either, text adventures, point and click, fps and rpg are a few other genres which posses horror games hat fit my criteria.
5: it has to genuinley scare me, though not allways but this immediatly qualifys i as an entry.
6:Though not allways another genuine immediate reason is if the character dies, and i dont mean falls off screen or runs out of lives i mean actually only has a life and will die for good, usually on screen, they dont come back, hence the need for survival.
7: the artisit approach, again another giveaway but the locations, lighting ,sound ect all the "mise-en-scene" of a piece is crucial evidence if it is horror or not, this is more based on my studies of film than gameing but it still applies ,especially as the bridge between the two mediums draws constantly closer.

those are the 7 rules for now, though thats easily subject to change. I m fair in all my reviews and hope to, in a year or two have this place as a comprehensive site to find reviews and articles to honestly give well gauged representations of games in the horror genre.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Silent hill origins released in the UK this friday

Being a member of the pointscard club thingy-ma-bob at GAME i get sent a catalogue every christmas about "possible gift recommendations" (AKA - buys these ,we need your money).

anyway this week i get one stating silent hill origins is released on November the 9th ,friday, this friday in fact. So any silent hill fans get 30 quid ready and get down to GAME (or my preffered gamestation, its cool, game bought them out anyway) and grab yourself a copy.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Ghosthunter: The Review

Ghost Hunter
Released: December 5th 2003
Platforms: Playstation 2
Developer: SCEE
Genre: Survival Horror/ 3rd Person Shooter
Review: Almost as obscure as ….well, as obscure, Ghost hunter tells the tale of Lazarus Jones. An officer in the Detroit police department. He is sent on a routine callout with his partner to investigate a possible break-in at Montsaye High. The location of what became known as the “Detroit school murders”. A case in which ten students were all killed under mysterious circumstances ,with no marks on the bodies, the only clue to a murderer was the school science teacher, who vanished the same night and is the number one lad suspect for the murders. The school is currently under demolition and reconstruction ,however the construction workers have states they’ve been hearing bizarre noises coming from the school and this is were the police come in to it, believing the professor broke in and returned to the scene of the crime, Lazarus and his partner have been sent to investigate.
In the bowls of the school Lazarus discovers “the array” and unwittingly opens the device, releasing hundreds of violent and murderous ghosts, specters and revenants free to roam the earth once more. If this wasn’t bad enough Lazarus finds one ghost, a woman by the name of ’astral’ has fused her spirit with his own and now Lazarus can see ghosts. His partner is captured by the ghosts, the same ghosts who committed the Detroit school murders and were incarcerated by “the professor” self taught ghost hunter, and now the same mission falls to Lazarus. Recapture the ghosts he unwittingly set free, rescue his partner, and discover the truth behind the professors disappearance and what was the cause behind the murders in the first place.
Gamely wise this game is a 3rd person shooter were you capture ghosts using the capture grenade system, think ghost traps from Ghostbusters meets a Frisbee and you get the idea, throw the grenade into the ghost and a meter appears, you have to wear down its spiritual energy by shooting it, before the timer on the grenade runs out to capture it. Whilst this alone could get boring as its pretty easy as the corridors are all wide enough to get a good camera angle this is separated by intermittent puzzles which can only be solved by using astral and flying around the level as a ghost, utilizing the abilities of the ghosts you have captured to open doors Lazarus cant reach, or lure enemies away from a doorway or something like that. Both methods of control feel solid without any problems between the controller and actual onscreen movement, move the thumb stick a little and they move only a little, this is just one of the signs that this is move than another 3rd party title just made to sell a few hundred copies.
Music wise its very good, you might be walking through a library and hearing a ghostly voice saying “quiet ,please” to walking through a haunted Louisiana bayou to a banjo number being played to really set the scene, the compositions are all in keeping with the mood of the varied levels you visit and whilst not particularly memorable, it adds to the gaming experience as a whole.
The graphics, considering its 2003 are very good, whilst some areas do suffer from being poorly textured on the whole each level is varied and a character in its own right. Ranging from a ghostly WWII galleon or an abandoned prison island like alcatraz to a ghost town in a haunted bayou or a surreal mansion full of glass tanks full of decapitated baby figurines. It ranges from disturbingly realistic, to hauntingly surreal but it’s a memorable game from start to finish.
Whilst the lack of original plot, lock on feature or any replayability factors other than starting it all over again. ghost hunter is an acquired taste that, whilst not for everyone ,may be right up your alley, and to risk a copyright infringement suit against me : WHO YA GONNA CALL?


Friday, 5 October 2007

new dementium trailer on gametrailers

Im of two minds.

On one hand it may be the most bitching horror fps ever especially on a handheld.
on the other it might be using live action footage in the ad to spice up and make what may be a mediocre shooter game appear more appealing to a post resi 4 action orientated audience.

Either way this month my game budget is this or silent hill origins, and sorry to renegade kid but im a 'hill fanboy so thats my new game for this month.

A discussion in horror theory In this thread on the horror gameing forum chris' survival horror quest. a user once again begs the question "should resident evil be considered striaght up survival horror>?". In my opinion its more sci-fi action orientated, but then the forums owner ,Chris, piped in and the topic lead to the possiblility of desensitization.
When weve been chased through racoon city by the nemesis, explored a haunted shinto mansion armed only with a camera and even venture into the depths of silent hill to confront peoples inner fears why should we be scared by anything nowadays anyway?
I brought forth the point that this could lead to manhunt style constant elavation of the shock factor to try and outdo previous horror games we are now desensitized to, in a way i might add i find particularly tasteless.
To which it was then pointed out not too many cuasual gamers play as much horror as i do, which is very true, but also there are so many games, like resi 4, cold fear or the suffering that you have no doubt in your mind that the protagonist will make it out of whatever hellish situation he or her is in with no trouble they cannot cope with. and i believe that is the sign of a horror game that is not accomplishing goal number one "initiating in the audience the idea that the character needs to "survive" not that they automatically will.
case in point obscure 2, these characters are just students, will very little chance of survival against the monsters overtaking the fallcreek campus, and in fact some of them do die through the course of the game, in cutscenes no less so they are meant to die with the narrative plot of the game which just makes you think "woah, if the jock (for exmaple) died, then hows the nerd going to make it through the same situation and live?. after all the greatest fear is death and fear of the unkown, so not knowing if your character will live is one sign of not a great but fantastic horror title, though of course the second factor is allways having a plot with enough intrigue and emotional development to allow you to atcually gain some sort of emotional attatchement to the characters you are playing as, there fore when they get closer to death, you heart beat starts to increase.
Though on that note i believe the third pillar that forms the foundation of a fantastic horror game is sound, or the absence thereof, no matter how realistic, or out of the date the graphics may be as long as the character devlopment is engrossing, the situation is horrifying and opens with many questions that will most likely not all be answered by the end and a memorable soundtrack then the game will scare and will be remembered as a great game.
Least thats the Danny Smith(aka: me) method of thinking on the subject.

Which is off topic by a mile, but does resi 4 count in the same genra niche as silent hill 2, resident evil 3 or obscure?, well i guess theres no diffinitive answer as everyone sees a game, as like a piece of cinema the different way so its never set in stone, which is why chris' list is constantly changing but oh well, if we didnt bitch about stuff like this thered be no reason for internet forums anymore.

and then were would we spend our time?, outside in the real world, no thanks, the real world blows.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Obscure 2: The Review

Obscure 2
Released: September 2007
Platforms: ps2, pc and Wii
Developer: Hydravision
Genre: Survival Horror
Review: The sequel to the hard to find cult classic obscure/mortifilia. The sequel , which will be released next year in the states as Obscure 2: The aftermath, Continues the nightmarish story of the students who escaped leaf Moore high.Unfortunately for them the horrors they thought they left behind 2 years ago are back with a vengeance. The sequel takes some of the past characters and a good deal of new ones in a similar situation at Fallcreek University.
It starts simply enough, the frat boys of delta theta gamma are throwing a kegger and the protagonists decide to go and indulge in some binge drinking and teenage hijinks. Yet the crowd on campus has been experimenting with mysterious black flowers that induce hallucenagenic effects which have been growing on the grounds and as the party gets in to full swing all hell breaks loose.
To begin this review I must point out that this game was quite lucky to make it onto the shelves at all. Including theme’s on STD’s, unprotected sex, drug use and the usual gore and violence. Obscure 2 also includes the play stations first teen suicide and as such has been taken off GAME’s shelves altogether so unless you can find a game station, forbidden planet or mom ‘n pop style game store id say your luck is out on this one.
Now onto the game play. Right off the bat the creatures are no longer photosensitive. So any attacks based on light are largely useless, whilst light grenades and torches do still hurt them, this does not make your projectile weapons do any more damage. As well as changing how they attack without a cover of darkness the developers have also vastly expanded the creature repertoire for the sequel. One of the biggest disappointments of the fist obscure was the lackluster 5 enemy types, this has been remedied in the sequel and there are now 10 different types, ranging from hulking ,tumorous blobs to flying banshees or even scuttler spawning “womb” monsters that all have different attack methods and ,as such, different tactics to dispatch them. whereas the original was just a shoot till they drop afair. You can now utilize tazers to stun the enemy and let the other player, computer controlled or a friend, move in to finish them off.
The characters have lost there “press square” abilities in exchange for new forms of character traits. Gamer Mei can hack into security systems to open doors, and Amy’s no ‘dumb blonde’, as her puzzle decrypting skills will attest These range from lock picking to feats of strength or acrobatics. All must be used to fully complete the game and are so well balanced it never feels like a gimmick and allows for move variety than the resident evil gameplay style of “walk and shoot your way from point a to the end” which is a breath of fresh air into what has become something of a stale sub genre. The camera, when walking or aiming is controllable by the right thumb stick, though can be left to drift on its on if you so wish, and when aiming with the gun it goes into a 3rd person mode a lot like ghost hunter or silent hill 4 which is another improvement over the poor, and at times confusing camera angles of its predecessor.
Plot wise this is something unique. Its predictable, yet at the same time its done in such a way that it doesn’t make you roll your eyes, but rather pulls you in to the story more and I commend the writers for taking a chance and doing so. The characters personalities are slightly bland, but all well balanced and genuinely seem like kids stuck in a horrifying situation than the likes of Leon in resident evil 4, a hardened government agent who reamins capable in any situation. With this believability comes a greater amount of emotional attachment to the characters and a higher scare factor as the characters genuinely seem less likely to survive, even though the protagonists now number 8 instead of 5. Though larger. this group is never all concentrated at one location, in fact one major feature of obscure 2 that gives it a greater feeling of the teen slasher movies it is homaging is that characters can become isolated and different events take place at different locations at the same time. As the original was slightly odd with 3 characters staying put at the meeting point rather than helping there friends find a way out. In fact you could complete obscure using only 2 characters, yet in the sequel you must and in fact do use all 8 in equal measure to complete the game. This gives the game a much more fluid and complex atmosphere and adds more variety to the games events, yet another improvement over the original.
The graphics are, to say the least, very impressive, they push the ps2 to its limits, rivaling games like indigo prophecy/ Fahrenheit or Tony hawks American wasteland with ease. The characters are far more detailed and the locations are incredibly varied, ranging from a bloody frat house massacre or an abandoned university complex to crossing highways and fog laden woodland and exploring abandoned tunnels and even heading back to leafMoore high itself, The locations are varied and all have a character and charm that seems genuinely like the set of a Hollywood horror film.
The sound, like the original, is again a joy from start to finish and the artist has even been good enough to allow you to download it for free from his site ranging from soft rock guitars to a haunting French choir backed by violins and cellos to orchestral music this game has it all and whilst maybe not on par with the fantastic work of akira yamoaka for the silent hill series, it easily out does the bland and uninteresting music of resident evil. It helps set the scene allowing for the perfect mise-en-scene in a cutscene or particular location and it just wouldn’t be the same game without the soundtrack.
The game does suffer from a few faults however. The are no extras to speak of, nor is there a choice of difficulty, though there was always enough ammunition and health packs to make it through. I did have to reset the console about 4 or 5 times through the game from dying, though this means its just a fair challenge.
My biggest fault was the fact that save points could only be used once and were at some points 30 mins between each other which meant replaying a section a few times if you kept dying, this could have been remedied, however aside form that I can find no other major fault with this game.
Obscure 2 is much lengthier than its predecessor and should clock in the best gamer at around 7 hours, compared to the 3 and half for the original obscure this means essentially more bang for your buck, with more locations and horrific situations to survive in.
To surmise Obscure 2 is a fantastic horror game that I hope will not live up to its name like the original did, the story is intriguing, if a little cliché’. The game play, graphics and sound are all superb, the characters are average enough Joe’s to be more memorable than a hardened action hero and the co-operative multiplayer game play mode allows for more replay value than if you played it alone and it was simply a joy from start to finish that I can give a hearty recommendation to any gamer for.
If you like movies like the faculty or scream, and like games like silent hill or the suffering Obscure 2 and its predecessor might be the games for you.

a little tidbit possibly confirming obscure 3

When wiki'ing obscure 2 for cast info for my review (see my next post for that one folks) i clicked on a link which lead to the site for voice actor joshua swanson: which under the list of his "gig's" includes his voice work as kenny adn stan in obscure to including the phrase "i live on in obscure 3", whilst this may be on one hand just a comment on stan surviving at the end of the game. but on the other it might just be a little bit of news about obscure 3.
The 2nd ends slightly openly and could certainly be worked into a new outbreak for a 3rd game.

i for one hope it does.

Monday, 1 October 2007

games im playing this month, my take on obscure so far.

So i decided to sit down and have a good long stint in Obscure 2 im now at the dam doing the turbine room bit..and failing. im waiting to finish it to think it over but its pretty well outdone its predesecor by miles, the graphics are spectacular for the [;aystation 2, outdoing tony hawks american wasteland on the xbox 360 by a long way , the soundtrack is superb adn the mise-en-scene of the locations just cannot be beat. The only thing that bugs me is you go through areas at no time at all, even though theres lots to do in each, though i guess thats meant to go with the fast paced teen slasher style. it just means you dont really get to appreiciate the areas as much, though they easily make up for this by being far more vibrant and busy looking than the leafmoore high of the origional, which whilst cool suffered from the origional resi mansions blandness, it looked okay but you never really stopped to appreciate how cool it was.

oh and so far the twins and kenny?, didnt see that coming.

-.....if you aint played up to the dam you could read something totally different into that,lol.

Dementium: The ward

two link ot put forward on this ,they being and .

News on this ahs been pretty quite, a few screenshots on kotaku but thats about it, and i think thats basically because noone was actually looking, a quick google search comes up with these two sites by the developers ,renegade kid, and i must say what ive seen is actually impressive.
Hotel dusk showed us how the ds could quite capably utilize a smooth flowing fps 3d enviroment and given by the way the creautres move fluidly, albiet there models are blocky, This is looking to be ,if nto the next silent hill series, then surely the next suffering, though it is highly reminicent of the cancelled gamecube horror title "the ward" which was pretty much the same scenario only the protagonist whent in there to take part in a game show, possibly the games developers are connected but right now thats unkown though the similaritiys are striking.
But right now all i can say is im pleasantly surprised at how this is turning out and it looks liek good fun.

...unfortunatly its being launched the same week, in the uk, as silent hill origins for the sony PSP, adn im afriad that, ebing only able to afford one by moneys going on the series i know and have grown to really enjoy, and i doubt im the only one with this frame of thinking, which is a shame as its not a good sign for what looks liek a fantastic handheld horror title that may fall without a trace.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Obscure 2 being released stateside

First becuase of poor sales of the origional, which has since become something of a cult classic for its teen slasher movie style. Obscure 2 was not being released in the states, but apparently due to surprisingly good sales figuires from the uk and european release of obscure 2 it is now coming out in the u.s as "Obscure II:The Aftermath" on the playstaiton 2 and nintendo wii.

Official UK playstation magazine Silent hill 5, 5 page article

Shamelessly ripped from as my scanners on the fritz.

So theres Some decent information coming out about this game, and now my xbox whent from 100 dollar disc reader repair to full on (warranty covered) red ring of death in excited about this for the 360, some of the monsters are a little too "the suffering" for my taastes but its not team silents creation this time so im not gonna bitch too much about it, however the full page talking about "the nurses ample cleavage" is just creepy, surely thats not whats on your mind when you play a silent hill game, and if it is, go get help. right now. go.

Thursday, 27 September 2007


I wouldnt be surpised if you hadnt heard of this title.
Continuing the 'Wii horror' theme for today This is the sadness site ,no it really is just a picture saying coming soon, and a "trialer" has been out for ,according to gamespot ,320 days now. Almost a year and theyve released 5 pictures of concept art, a 30 second trailer and a one picture "website".
This is appearing to suffer from "The Phantom" syndrome, and we all know how that "next gen console" fell through. Though visiting a few horror forums it appears that there has been major development problems with this project, even to the point of rumours about the company that is in charge of development involved in some kind of scam.
It's pretty fishy, but then who doesnt love a good rumour?

Fatal frame/ Project Zero 4 only on Nintendo Wii

Colour me surprised, but in a good way, the cube had a good amount of survival horror titles but so far the wii only has umbrella chronicles, sadness, escape from bug island and, well thats all i can think of right now. So its great to hear a horror game series i actually find scary, which is a rarer thing as ive gotten older and more desensitized to horror, Is coming to the wii , fatal frame, or project zero as its known over here is, for those who dont know, a supernatural survival horror in which you play a girl who's trapped in an anbandoned mansion or town, depending on the game and is trapped in there with the restless spirits of the dead. The only way to combat these ghosts is to take there pictures with the mystical camera obscura thus exorcising/sealing them away.
To do this the game goes into a 1st person mode, as seen through the cameras lens, and i think this could work well on the wii utilizing the wiimote instead of an analogue stick.
Ive allways found the atmosphere in this series be pretty damn frightening, which is allways the sign of a good horror game and i think this is perfectly suited for the wii and its nice to see some good horror games starting to come out for it.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

The current horror games im playing :September '07

So the horror games of choice for me this month are Silent hill 2: Inner Fears, Obscure 2 and Zombie virus. So expect reviews for each one soon.
I figure on the first day of posting i should point out that this bog encompasses all horror games, not just survival horror, so this includes 3rd person shooters/fighters like devil may cry and ghost hunter, point and lick adventures and more.

Just thought id point that out before i got some emails from cranky survival horror purists.

You know who you are...

Rainy Wood's Tokyo Games show ''07 trailer courtesy of i bring you the trailer for new 360/ps3 survival horror game Rainy wood's, no its not about an emo porn star, but a series of bizaare murders in the town of rainy woods, you play a schizophrenic cop who ,along side his split personalitiy must solve the murders, its allready being toted as A: the twin peaks of gameing and B: an alan wake rip-off, ill bide my time to catch it on release before i make my judgement on this one but it looks definatley like someone just took the scripts from blue velvet and twin peaks, threw em together and built a game around it, but wether thats the makings of a good game ill wait adn see as sometimes even horror does not make for a good cross medium port.

Obscure II: the soundtrack

Whilst scoping out one my usual forum haunts, chris' survival horror quest one member posted a link to a free download (legal i might add) to the Obscure 2 soundtrack, So give the dude a virtual high five and check this out:

Obscure: The Review

Release date: 2004
Platforms: Xbox Playstation 2 and PC
Developer: Hydravision
Genre: Survival Horror
Review: Published by french company Hydravision, Mortifillia, or "Obscure" as it is known in The UK and the states is a survival horror game set at leafmoore high. An american high school were students have been dissappearing and all is not as it seems at first glance. The 5, yes 5, protagonists are stuadents who attend the school but are shut in after dark by the janitor as he locks up the doors for the night. While at first this doesnt sound like too much of a problem theres a twist. Bizaare photosensitive creatures are infesting the school and attacking the students and your goal is to uncover the source of these disturbing monstrosity's and escape the school with your lives.Whilst many points for origionality are lost, the creatures, plot and gameplay could all be easily ripped off from resident evil or silent hill, there are many redeeming features that save this game from being just another resident evil clone. Light plays a large part in this game. The creatures envelop themselves in a black protective mist which lessens the damage they take and protects them from sunlight. As i mentioned the enemies are photosensitive creatures and using the combine mechanic you can tape a torch to the end of your gun and by setting it to high beam mode, which is only temporary due to overheating, you can burn away at the protective mist enableing you to take a shot at the monster and do much more superior damage. You can also, during the daylight portions of the game, smash in windows to flood a room with light and severly damage any creatures that are in the room or may appear as you look around for items and ammo.

The 5 protagnoists are all playable, though Kenny is avaiable in the opening prologue he does not become available for constant play till you rescue him about 2/3rds through the game. But each charcter has his or her own unique talents, the student reporter Josh can use his investigative abilities to tell you if a room is devoid of items or if there is somethign left to do. others include extra healing power, lockpicking ability, extra strength and speed and the ability to perform a double attack such as firing 2 shots in one action from a pistol. You are free to use whichever of the protagonists that you choose during the game allowing for the game to be played around your own style of play, do you aim to clear a room or enemies then explore?, or perhaps choose the flight rather than fight method? depending on your choice of characters your tactics to explore the school and combat the monsters is fairly versatile compared to the similar resident evil 0 were you could only choose between the strong billy coen or the medic rebecca chambers when you needed to.The controls are smooth and fluid with a good responsiveness. The cameras are static-staionairy but without the confusing camera angles of the origional resident evil. The soundtrack is superb, ranging from the opening basketball game played along to sum 41 to exploreing the abandoned hallways at night to an eeiry french choir the music allways sets the scene very well and it was entertaining from start to finish.A big selling point for this game is the ability for two player co-operative play, at any time during the game a freind can plug in a second controller and take control of one of the 4 other characters you are not playing as whilst this can hinder as much as help, actually working with another person rather than a computer contrlled bot is a breath of fresh air into the game and increases the replay value tremendously.So whilst a little short and not particularly groundbreaking plot wise, obscure is a highly enjoyable horror game for fans of the genre and an undrerated gem that i highly recommend.It is a shame however that this game is obscure by nature as well as by name, with little to no media advertising or magazine reviews it whent relatively unnoticed by the gameing community, in fact the sequel is allready out and has been released in europe and the UK only ,purely for lack of interest from the states, So if you want somethign a little new and out of the ordinary i recommend obscrue nd give it a solid 8 out of 10.