As Amy approached the door, she felt the faint coldness of fear griping her heart, making it difficult to breath. The last step invoking a loud and prolonged creak that echoed down the hallway, as if the sound waves themselves were too hesitant to travel due to the fear from their origin…Suddenly, the door hastily slammed open and a mass of animated meat invited itself into the doorway with a violent menace. Amy’s fear had been fully realized just as she and her blond pigtails had quickly turned toward the opposite end of the hallway. Heart beating, pulse racing, Amy was able to scream out to for help just one time, “Oh my God Oh my God somebody helllllllllllll!” Sadly, the closest person to Amy that wasn’t a monster was Corey, however Corey was too incredibly high and stoned off his ass to help anyone. A splash of crimson was the last thing that Amy saw before she was silenced and no one would ever lay their eyes on the beautiful but annoying Miss Wet T-shirt again…
Obscure The Aftermath is proof that games can be both scary and sometimes just a pain. The survival horror genre has been one of the most popular categories of games in the past few decades. I remember back in the day when I would be up late at night playing games like Friday the 13th, Shadow Gate, and Castlevania. These games invoked a state of fear from evil supernatural entities that boggled the imagination and would sometimes leave you’re thumbs feeling numb.
As time went on, the technology improved and so did the fear. Games like Resident Evil, Alone in the Dark, and Fatal Frame gave players a much more improved trip into the bowels of madness. Our games now sported photo realistic environments and surround sound. Technology would also give us the ability to transfer this experience to portable gaming consoles, and today I present to you the newest addition to the PSP survival horror experience, Obscure the Aftermath.
If Obscure the Aftermath was a movie then I would put it under the late teen-early twenty genres next to films like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Obscure the Aftermath is the sequel to the classic Obscure. The first game had a small group of high school kids fighting for their lives in a school that had been overrun by biological monsters. Obscure the Aftermath, however, takes an even higher side of life if you will.
This game sports an insane and persistent anti-drug message to the player; every character fault in the game has a direct or indirect involvement in drugs in one form or another. Obscure the Aftermath deals with several young people in college, some of which are survivors of the first outbreak and are dealing with it their own way. For example the character of Stan, after the events at Leafmore High, had taken a downward spiral and became a bunkmate in a prison for a short time. The main evil force in the game is in the form of a black flower by which the students of Fallcreek University use to make a sort of tea and get insanely (and deadly) high off of.
The first thing that I notice about Obscure was that the graphics look incredible on the PSP. The graphics of the PS2 version translated very well to the PSP with very detailed environments and above average character models. The game also runs very smooth about 90 percent of the time with the occasional loading by which can only be expected for such a beautiful game on the PSP. Visually, I would say that Obscure works much better as a PSP title then as PS2 game, due to the fact that good graphics just seem to go that extra mile when viewing them on a PSP screen.
A good horror story always deserves a great soundtrack and Obscure is no exception. Making good use of the Boston String Quartet and the Paris Opera Children’s Choir, the soundtrack to Obscure is very epic. The music is so epic in fact that the music sometimes elevates the story to higher per potions even more effectively then the visuals themselves.
The gameplay of Obscure took a page right out of Resident Evil and just ran with it with average results. The basic graphical approach is a mixture of a fixed camera perspective for the rooms and confined spaces with very limited camera control to the right and left. However, once you step out into the hallway the game turns to a third person that fallows the player up and down the hallway. This perspective can sometimes be a detriment for the player to the fact that turning around can be very confusing when faced with enemy. The camera feels very loose and can be a challenge to the player when they have to quickly navigate an area that littered is with random objects lying all over the floor.
When you are not looking for security codes and pushing book cases, you will be engaged in combat with crazy looking meat monsters. Basic combat is intuitive, just hold down on the Right trigger button to ready your weapon and press the X button to attack, this method holds true no matter it you are fighting with a gun or a golf club. However, you will sometimes be met with many enemies at the same time, but don’t fear your partner will take care of them.
You see, Obscure the Aftermath is a firm believer in the buddy system. As you explore the game, you will have a partner that will do a decent job in fighting along side you. Sadly, sometimes you will have to backtrack because some of the characters are better at certain tasks then others. For example, the character of Stan is master of unlocking; Kenny can push really heavy objects, and Jun is good at playing video games (what?).
If you get tired of your lame brain A.I. Partner you can switch your Ad Hoc On and engage in a multiplayer experience were another player will take control of your partner character in the game. This makes playing the game much better for the most part, however the game’s frame rate does take a hit and the load time will increase. Overall, the multiplayer is a welcoming addition to Obscure, and having the whole screen to yourself greatly helps indeed.
Obscure the Aftermath is an above average PSP game and should be picked up by horror enthusiasts and gamers who enjoy multiplayer via ad hoc.