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28 May 2020

REVIEW: Those Who Remain - On Xbox One

Review by Jon Donnis
Wired Productions sent me a copy of Those Who Remain on Xbox, and I was intrigued to see what all the fuss was about. After all when a game is described as an Unnervingly-Tense Psychological Adventure-Thriller, I almost see that as a challenge to my manliness! Well not really, but it still intrigued me.

Set in a town called Dormont, the first thing you will realise is that this is a dark game, and by dark, I mean turn all the lights off in the house if you want to be able to see anything in the game. This is a story driven first person game, and it relies on that dark atmosphere to really draw you in, and keep you on the edge of your seat.

You play as Edward, and you will find out pretty quick that he has travelled to Dormont to break up with his girlfriend. The problem is that Dormont is seemingly surrounded by darkness and within the dark, monsters await. And that is the main thrust of the game, you need to stay in the light to survive, as the monsters tend to hate the light, and along the way you need to solve various problems to get you to the next part of the game.

You will switch between realities in some cases and the actions of one reality will affect the other. You will see a ghost or two, and depending on certain choices you make, you will travel down different narratives of the story and have multiple endings depending on your choices.

As I have already mentioned, the game is dark, frustratingly so at times. And there is no handy torch to light the way, at some points you might have a lighter, but most of the time you have to figure out how to turn on static lights to light the way.

The game is pretty straight forward, and as it is story-driven, you wont find yourself hacking and slashing at a monster, instead you need to avoid them. A few hours into the game and I found myself massively stuck, what can I say, a huge monster with a big light for a head was blocking my way, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to get past it, I succumbed in the end and asked for some help, and I got past him. This is one thing you may find yourself doing, checking online for walk throughs to help. This may not necessarily be a bad thing for most people, but perhaps if there was an in game hint system, that would be a better option for players, than having to go hunt for help online, which then leaves the temptation of just using a walk through to get you through the entire game.

There is also a problem with the save feature, or lack of a manual one. The game will auto save at certain checkpoints, but if after a rather long bit of play, you die, you find yourself all the way back at the checkpoint, with that frustrated feeling of knowing that you just spent 20 minutes figuring something out, and partly with luck that you now have to repeat it all over. I think a manual save is always a better choice, especially in "safe" game play moments.

The game itself is quite unnerving at times, and although you will probably jump the first time you see a monster in the dark, you soon get used to them and pretty much ignore them.

With that said I did enjoy the game, and did find myself even when stuck, not wanting to give up, but instead trying to figure it out.

So let us summarise.

The Good
Very atmospheric game, really does drag you in to the narrative and keep you on the edge of your seat.

The Bad
Just so damn dark, I know it is the point of the game, but i'm a stickler for being able to see what I am doing. Even turning the brightness up didn't help much. And the game can be frustrating at times.

This is a decent game, if you like story driven horror games, then you should enjoy this. Obviously not for kids, or those of a weak disposition, but everyone else it will be fine. But be prepared to sit in the dark.

I score the game a solid 7/10
Review by Jon Donnis

Those Who Remain, OUT NOW! on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

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