Monday, August 23, 2010

Game Review: Obscure 2

I would really love to say that I like Obscure 2 (or Obscure the Aftermath, depending on what year you bought this game), but I can't. It seems that for every good point I could give this game, there is another equally bad point.

Here is the plot: Two years after the events of the first game, a brand new group of students attend college and start smoking a mysterious plant. (I personally love the first level of this game, where your mission is to get high and break into a party). Unfortunately, shortly afterwards this group of idiots start turning into hideous monsters. Including a few characters from the first game, who should have really known better.

I'll start with the positive. This game has a few improvements over the last. The players can now go to multiple locations instead of being stuck in a boring school. The inventory control system is also significantly improved and now all the players can access the same inventory. As before, the music in this game is incredibly awesome with a haunting choir throughout most of it. There is a decent amount of character development and also some solid scary scenes. Last but not least, the level design is very beautiful at times.

So why is this game bad? Most of the problems lie in the gameplay itself. Even on a modest normal difficulty setting Obscure 2 slammed my head into the ground and ignored my pathetic cries of mercy. Throughout most of the game I had only a quarter of health, and the few times the game graciously gave me a health pack it was for a setup with a main boss. It doesn't help that on the wii controller, the controls are painful-and I mean, literally painful. As in, expect to hold your arm up for extraordinary amounts of time painful.

Obscure 2 also likes to trick you. After I touched a mysterious flower on the wall, all my characters collapsed, and the screen faded to black. Thinking that I had died, I turned off the system. But as it turns out, I had only reached a save point! The game also gives you a fake ending, so if you turn off the system during the credits, you will miss a few vital chapters of gameplay.

This game also suffers from a couple of plotholes, the most obvious of all being when one of the main characters gets impaled in the stomach. But I guess that was only a flesh wound, because a few scenes later he's fine. He also had a nice relaxing car crash five minutes later as well. While I said there was decent character development, these people are sometimes underwhelmed by what's happening. One of the characters, Kenny, gives into the virus and turns into a massive flesh monster. Soon afterwards, he begins killing and terrorizing several people, and this only serves to mildly annoy his sister Shannon. And keep in mind that in the first game, Shannon was the type of character who would cry if a fly so much as got swatted.

There is also a very noticeable pattern in this game. One of the characters would either get kidnapped, or proclaim they can do something by themselves. The other characters go searching for this one person, only to discover a gruesome death scene. I wouldn't mind it so much except this game repeats the same formula again, and again, and again.

FINAL GRADE: 3 stars out of 5. This game is better than the sequel, but the toughness level almost kills it's appeal for me. But in all fairness, Obscure 2 did one thing right-it killed off Kenny's girlfriend Ashley off-screen. (Yay!)

And no, I don't know how Kenny managed to impregnate Amy as a giant man-spider. Nor do I wish to find out.

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