4 January 2021 | kluseba
Short and dated but atmospheric and intriguing survival horror video game
Those Who Remain published by Camel 101 and Wired Productions is a survival horror video game released in late spring 2020 on Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Twitch as well as Steam. The game takes about four to six hours for fast players to complete but I have played for about ten to twelve hours in total. The story revolves around Edward Turner, a man who with a troubled past who is on his way to break up with his mistress at a cheap motel. When he arrives there, his lover is nowhere to be found in the empty hotel and his car gets stolen. Edward Turner soon realizes that something is amiss as he witnesses strange knife-wielding phantoms in the shadows. He must find his way to the nearby town of Dermont in order to figure out what has happened.
This game has gotten mediocre to bad reviews but there are many enjoyable elements for horror video game fans. Those Who Remain oozes with atmosphere thanks to creepy locations, strange opponents and unnerving soundtrack. The game doesn't rely on easy jump scares and has slow pace but those elements make the abandoned town of Dermont so much more detailed and frightening. The locations vary from post offices over police stations to family homes. Another positive element is the story as Edward Turner learns more about a thirteen-year-old girl who has died under mysterious circumstances. The player encounters numerous people who could be held responsible for that tragedy and must decide whether to forgive or damn them. These decisions can lead to three different endings and exploring these offers some replay value as well. There are numerous riddles the player has to solve in order to advance. While most of them rely on solving puzzles, finding equipment and creating light sources, some others are tough to figure out and increase the game's degree of difficulty.
The game is not without its flaws however. The graphics look quite dated and the retro look makes me think of adventure games from the late nineties such as the first entries in the Resident Evil and Silent Hill franchises. While Those Who Remain might be perceived as a tribute to such franchises, it's probably rather a lack of budget and development that explains such graphics. The biggest issue are however the controls. It takes quite some time to learn how to handle items precisely but the greatest challenge remains to escape the different opponents that are chasing Edward Turner. It might take about a dozen tries at certain points which can become slightly frustrating.
However, the positive points clearly outweigh the negative elements regarding survival horror game Those Who Remain. It can't compete with other recent releases such as Remothered: Broken Porcelain, The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope or A Plague Tale: Innocence but it's nevertheless highly recommended to genre fans. The game convinces with gloomy atmosphere, fascinating locations and an intriguing story. The only noteworthy negative elements are the complicated controls and dated graphics. The game is available for a fair price of about thirty Canadian dollars and its deluxe edition includes four post cards and a free downloadable graphic novel. This deluxe edition certainly offers value for money and makes for some great entertainment at home during the ongoing pandemic.