Obscure Hands-On

This French-developed survival horror game is set in an American high school, and we get a closer look.

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Obscure, in many ways, in an intriguing action horror survival game. First off, though it's set in a modern-day American high school, the game itself was designed in France. Yet despite its European origin's however, it features a plot that is reminiscent of television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 1998 movie, The Faculty. In this game, you'll control a group of five students as they attempt to unearth the mysteries of their high school, and battle the nightmarish creatures that inhabit it along the way. Obscure is already available for the PS2, Xbox, and PC in Europe, but publisher Dreamcatcher plans to bring the game to North America this spring.

Obscure takes five high school students and throws them into a terrifying scenario.
Obscure takes five high school students and throws them into a terrifying scenario.

While it's labeled as a teen survival horror game, along the lines of Resident Evil, Obscure actually blends adventure-style gaming along with the action gameplay. So in-between the moments when you're clubbing or blasting away at demonic creatures, you'll be figuring out how to unlock doors or find the pieces to put together a piece of equipment that you'll need. From what we've seen of the game so far, the adventure aspects of the gameplay far outweigh the combat scenes, though it's worth noting that this is early on in the game while the mystery is building, and that it makes the combat moments even more of a surprise.

The game is set at the fictional Leafmore High, home of the Sharks as well as a dark past. In keeping with most high school-based movies and shows, the characters you'll control represent the many cliques of the student body. There's the jock, the audio/visual club geek, the high school princess, the smart girl, and the troublemaker. Each of these characters has a special trait that can come in useful during the game. The jock, for example, is faster and stronger than the rest, so if you need to push an obstacle out of your way, the jock is handy to have around. Or any character can pick a lock, but the troublemaker can do it fastest, which is helpful if there's something chasing after you. One thing to keep in mind is that you can only control two characters at a time, meaning that you'll have to decide which two you'll need and leave the rest behind. Oh yeah, we should also note that characters can also be killed. You can win the game so long as at least one character survives.

Obscure will feature a fairly interactive environment. For example, your characters can pick up a baseball bat and bash in the windows on doors in order to reach in and unlock them. You'll also be able to recover a wide range of equipment, from screwdrivers, guns (it wouldn't be high school without lots of guns), wire, tape, and more. Another thing that you'll have to figure out is how to combine certain items. For example, you can tape a flashlight to a pistol, thus giving you the ability to see in the dark and shoot at the same time.

You're going to need lots and lots of guns to survive this high school.
You're going to need lots and lots of guns to survive this high school.

The graphics look strong across all three platforms, and the high school has an appropriately dark and gloomy look to it, almost as if it's set in a decaying insane asylum. And what we've seen of the monsters reminds us very much of something out of H.P. Lovecraft. The music is also very catchy, which shouldn't be too surprising when you discover that bands Sum 41 and Span contributed to the soundtrack. Obscure certainly has piqued our interest, and the game looks like a very solid blend of adventure and action. We'll find out how Obscure translates to North America when it ships this Marchb on all three consoles.

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