This Third-Person action adventure/horror game about American teenagers is a port of a console game.
For the latter, we're always grateful for any games we get, even the toss like that recent Leisure Suit Larry. However we can also grit our teeth, churn our buttocks and slide into a maelstrom of hate and eager revenge. Obscure is one such game and it hasn't been helped by the ravages of time.
When it was released, it would have probably earned a score in the 60s, but now it can sod off. If I wanted to play an old third-person horror game, I'd stick The Suffering on.
So, while I enjoy watching a bunch of whiny American teenagers get slaughtered by foul creatures of the underworld, it isn't enough to drag me back into this old monstrosity.
Survival Horror games are becoming something of an odd collective. Relying often on the same themes and premises, the games are almost reaching the breaking point of boredom. With the occasional blip of promise on the screen (see Resident Evil 4) most horror games (like horror movies) are fairly predictable and mundane. Such is the case today; Obscure uses a very tried and true formula with an occasional original idea.
After one of their friends goes missing, several high school students decide that something odd must be going on in their very gothic looking high school. Well, odd indeed, you see after all the students go home, the creepy things come out to play, and I'm not just talking about the strange creatures that inhabit some of the seedy corners of the campus.
Gameplay is fairly tight; it's the standard fixed view camera that seems to always be present in these games. The left/ right controls are reflective of the characters position rather then left and right to you, the gamer. Yes, this control setup has frustrated many gamers over the years. I personally don't mind it but know that my editor can't stand this configuration. So bear in mind that this control scheme is present and if you don't like it, you probably won't be happy.
The overall game looks only barely above average. The in-game graphics are fairly bright and there is always something to see or look at, I personally love the little cockroaches that scamper all over the place. Dreamcatcher did a good job of making the school look dingy and unhealthy looking. Cockroaches typically breed where there is filth and decay, and as I played the game I could almost smell the rotting stink that appears to be just below the surface. However, the complaints that I had were that the movements of the characters didn't seem all that natural, and as a matter of fact, the characters didn't look all that physically correct, arms appeared a little too long to be non-simian, legs a tad too short, weird. Also of note, the cut scenes seemed pretty grainy to me, as if this ported version of the PC game didn't quite translate all that well to Xbox format, which is just plain strange to me.
The inventory system was fairly clever and easy to use, items can be combined for better usage and uses other then what they were made for. Since the game features five different students, there is that unique ability factor that they all possess. Plus, when you find a second character, a second player can grab a controller and take over as that person. Weapons can be exchanged between characters and some of the puzzles/problems must be done in unison.
It's an average survival horror game without any real scares. Sure the controls are nice and there are a couple of minor surprises, but the game feels dated and imagine less. Only fans of 70's and 80's teen slasher flicks or those who must play every horror game out there are going to want this one. I may be one of those people but I know most aren't