Obscure: The Aftermath Impressions
Strange things are afoot as we're given a tour of Fallcreek University in Hydravision's upcoming survival horror sequel.
Already available in Europe but not scheduled for release in North America until next year, Obscure: The Aftermath is a survival horror game set in and around a fictional American university. The game promises its fair share of scares and purportedly touches on the subjects of rape and abuse, but it also has a lighter side filled with sexual innuendo, college humor, and just about every post-Happy Days cliché imaginable. We were given a brief demo of Obscure: The Aftermath during a recent meeting with representatives from Hydravision and Ignition Entertainment, and with Halloween in the air, the game certainly piqued our interest.
Obscure: The Aftermath will feature at least six playable characters who are all students at the fictional Fallcreek University. We didn't get to see the whole roster on this occasion, but we can report that all of the stereotypes you'd expect are present and accurate; there's a jock, a cheerleader, a girl who's great with computers, and a guy whose wardrobe and unique skills suggest he's a big fan of Jackass. The characters invariably operate in pairs, so whoever you're playing as will be accompanied either by an artificial-intelligence-controlled friend who follows you around and attempts to assist in combat, or by a second player if you're in co-op mode. Unfortunately, there are no split-screen or online options for cooperative play, but the characters appear to work closely enough together that it shouldn't be too problematic to keep two within the confines of a single screen.
Our tour of Fallcreek University kicked off in the dorms, where it quickly became obvious that the sex-hungry students were experimenting with some kind of hallucinogenic tea derived from an unusual black flower found on campus. The conversations between students were generally quite humorous, and we're told that the way you're treated by your peers will vary quite considerably according to who you're playing as at the time. That's hardly surprising, but it's a feature that nonetheless has interesting possibilities for solving conversation-based puzzles. More surprising was a sequence in which, after partaking of some of the aforementioned floral brew, our characters were whisked away to a different and considerably darker location without any warning whatsoever.
Looking like a locale right out of Silent Hill, the area that our characters were shocked to find themselves in was soaked with blood and so dark that they had little choice but to use a flashlight. After conveniently stumbling upon a discarded baseball bat and a shotgun, the pair was confronted by a large monster with tentacles coming out of its mouth. Just as the ensuing fight was starting to look hopeless, we were snapped back into reality, where one of the characters was vomiting into a toilet.
Skipping to another portion of the game, we saw a playable jock-and-cheerleader combo attempting to get into a big fraternity party and being turned away. Determined to get in, the pair wandered around to the back of the frat house. After the jock had moved a large box into position, they were able to get up onto the roof and through a window. Black flowers that clung to the frat house's walls could be seen releasing spores into the air as the students passed by, but the pair didn't appear to take any notice. A small key found atop a bookcase in the frat house's billiard room afforded the pair access to a lockbox containing a pistol, and the firearm was put to good use shortly after they stepped out into the corridor, where another large monster was waiting for them. The AI-controlled character looked to be doing a decent job of joining in the fight without getting in the way or taking unnecessary damage.
The last sequence that we were given a brief look at used the two-character dynamic far more creatively than anything we'd seen previously. The player's two students were attempting to rescue a third student from inside some kind of maze. One of the playable characters was trying to navigate the labyrinth and, because it was too dark to see anything in there, the second was manning security cameras equipped with night vision from a room somewhere and relaying instructions. In the single-player mode, which is what we saw, you'll assume the role of the character manning the security cameras and attempting to tune out interference using the right analog stick. In a cooperative game, the second player will be in the maze, but will be able to see only what the first player can through a security monitor.
Obscure: The Aftermath purportedly takes around eight hours to play through from start to finish, so we really only scratched the surface in a presentation that lasted for around 20 minutes. We look forward to bringing you more information on the game as soon as it becomes available.
GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.