Review by DandyQuackShot
"It's Time to do Some Weeding"
Ah college! That short stint of life in which boys become men, girls learn to shoot shotguns and tasers, and dormitories and fraternity parties are constantly under the threat of imminent attack by strange creatures of the night. Well not all colleges are as exciting as Fall Creek University, but you can make college life a little more exciting by experiencing the horror of Obscure: The Aftermath. This game is the follow up to Obscure which was out on the PS2 and Xbox but which you probably did not hear about. Obscure is a hole in the wall kind of game by Ignition Entertainment, the guys who you may be familiar with titles such as Blue Dragon and my new personal favorite Deadly Premonition. You either love or hate Deadly Premonition but definintely can't gripe about how much it was when it first came out. There are a lot of similarities to Obscure: The Aftermath and Deadly Premonition with cheesy humor and plenty of craziness.
For a handheld game, Obscure: The Aftermath is a good time consumer but sometimes requires rushing over to the nearest faq or walkthrough guide to get past a few parts. The game play mechanics are well developed to give you a classic third person scene to scene type of horror game that Resident Evil and Silent Hill are famous for. The story is like a messed up version of The Faculty movie but the game's multiple characters that you play as are loveable enough. This is the first horror game I have played on a handheld and I think this type of game does great on the PSP with easy controls and excellent graphics.
You do not need to play the first Obscure to find out what is going on in The Aftermath. I would recommend the first though because it was a Microids game. The first mistake the kids make is going to the college closest to home. Speaking from personal experience, you do not get the full college experience when you are a commuter even if you do drive a hot rod like Corey's. Some of the characters in this game are new and all are an item with one character or another. The kids who survived Leafmore High School have gone to college at the local Fall Creek University and encounter more trouble when the horrors of their high school return to the university. Some of the characters suffer from the traumatic events at Leafmore while some of the new guys do not seem to freaked out that raging monsters have attacked their school.
There are several characters in the game and some may or may not make it through the entire game but they are likeable characters who work with each other to try to survive what is supposed to be the best four years of your life. This game goes Resident Evil on you pretty quick and I am not talking zombie Resident Evil but T-virus Resident Evil as strange flowers start infecting and turning students into strange creatures. The plot kind of goes down hill from there and is eerily similar to Deadly Premonition if you ask me.
For a horror game the mechanics are safe on the puzzles and a lot depends on having selected the right character to perform a task that is specific to getting past an obstacle. Kenny and Sven are the strong arms who can push and move boxes, Stan can pick locks in a fun and sometimes challenging way, Mei is the techie who can decrypt passwords, and Shannon can pull a Green Mile and inhale the bad black stuff that blocks doors. Corey is probably the best of all the college kids as he does all of the acrobatics even after the abuse he takes in the game. The puzzles are fun and rather easy to get past.
Pick ups are rather few and far between so you have to be conservative with ammo and health pick ups. Weapons come pretty standard but if you keep your eyes out for small keys they unlock special crates along the way to get stuff like a crossbow and other powerful weapons.
I died a lot in the game so thankfully there are save points all throughout the game. And with the PSP you can just leave the game running where you leave off. I really need to do a review on the PSP. Being so far behind on the times it still amazes me. Obscure: The Aftermath is a cooperative game if you can find a partner online to play with you but it is easier just to let the AI character stay behind you. Otherwise you have somebody who really does not know where to go or do.
The graphics and sound on Obscure are quite awesome. FMV cinematics provide better scenes than some of the more famous titles around. The dialogue is all throughout the game as characters talk to each other and especially when having to get through some precarious situations. At times the dialogue gets pretty cheesy and the characters easily forget the trauma they suffer, but no horror game or movie should be taken seriously. It totally defeats the purpose if a plague or ghost coming out the tv should be taken seriously. The music is awesome with stuff rendered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra along with some choir girls in Paris and some guitar solos. It doesn't get any better than that on the music. I don't think the same characters made it over to replay the old cast in the new game. Watching the youtubes of the first Obscure the voices were much different. They had a Sum 41 song featured in the first game. Spare no expense eh?
Final Recommendation 8/10
Besides the cheesy humor and music, what I liked best about Obscure: The Aftermath is that this game is as long as a regular console game. In fact this is a transplanted console game for the PSP so you can take this game with you on several trips, board meetings, or classes. The plot of the game is taken from the classic horror movie concept of young adults being taken through the gauntlet of horror and gut spilling but it stays original in its own way. I picked this game up for the price and it turned out to be worth it and being a fan of these type of off the wall games I thoroughly enjoyed Obscure and wish I had come across the first game of the series back in the day.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/22/10
Game Release: Obscure: The Aftermath (US, 09/30/09)
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