ObsCure II PS2 Review
Those damned dogs jumping out of that window in Resident Evil, that is the one and only time a game managed to make me jump. In fact, no matter how good the genre as gotten over the past few years, no matter how many offshoots the genre has spawned, and no matter how good the graphics have now become I have not had that much sought-after jolting shock in many a year. Sure, a few games, such as Condemned and Silent Hill, have managed to nail a very believable atmosphere that makes it scary to traverse the environment, but nothing has been released that could be truly deemed scary in many a year. Now we have Obscure II, which will probably be one of the final, if not the last horror experience on PS2. So, how does it fair?
As you can most likely guess by the game’s name, Obscure II is the follow-up to the Ubisoft published Obscure which was released way back in 2004. As you would expect, the game expands on the story seen in that game, telling the tale of what happens two years after, with all of the characters now in college. As the new story starts to be told, the characters find their normal day of college getting a bit messed up, and a few end up having sore heads for different reasons than you’d expect from normal college life. Then, as the game unfolds you find yourself in control of a selection of different characters as they try to solve simple puzzles, such as moving a box to get access to a roof, or searching for clues to get access to certain areas of a level. In fact, depending on which set of characters you choose, you’ll have access to a different array of moves, with the stronger characters being able to move around heavier objects, and lighter character being able to jump greater distances and the rest getting a few special abilities to open locked doors or safes.
Of course, there is more to the game than just puzzle solving, as you will also get to fight a selection of different monsters, albeit not very scary ones, which are attacking you. You can combat them in many ways, such as using the environment to your advantage by picking up chairs and other such items to toss their way. There will also be other items such as baseball bats and hockey sticks suspiciously left lying around for you to melee attack monsters with. Also, there are a few guns dotted around the place which, as you’d expect, are the game’s most powerful weapon. However, even though you can press L1 to lock onto enemies when fighting, the camera is all over the place when you are moving around, which regretfully makes negotiating the environment a bit awkward as the camera always seems to take the worst angle possible. This substandard camera work is made even worse when you play the game in the co-op mode as you will often end up hitting you co-op buddy by accident, thus knocking down some vital health you may need for an upcoming battle.
As with most other horror games, the game is predominantly dark and for the most part has a dull but suitable colour pallet. Each of the characters are also highly detailed and look great for a PS2 game, but when you move them it is very noticeable that the animation is badly done as all of them having very jarring movements. All in all the game’s graphics are not all that bad, but let’s face it, the game is no God of War II. In fact, it is probably nowhere near the original either. However, even if the graphics do somewhat impress, the rest of the game’s overall presentation comes across like a really bad teen drama, with the game starting off with music akin to a bad episode of the O.C, and then continuing with voice work that seems like it was ripped right out of an equally awful episode of that show.
So what are we left with then? Well, crucially I can’t say I was ever fully drawn into the atmosphere present in Obscure II, and neither did I come close to getting shocked by any events in the game. So, as a horror title I feel the game falls flat on it face. However, I did come to the realisation that the game itself seems well made, and many of the other elements on show, such as the puzzles and combat, are enough to make playing it somewhat fun. But on the other hand the main story falls clichéd at every turn, so that is yet one more bad point against the game. Of course, then there is also the co-op mode, which I will admit is fairly entertaining, but its inclusion does nothing more than raise the game to just above average.
For fans of the genre only.