Those Who Remain Review (PlayStation 4)

Genre: Psychological horror/thriller

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox, Playstation, PC

Developer | Publisher: Camel 101 | Wired Productions

Age Rating: PEGI 16 | ESRB 17+

Price: UK £15.99 | US $19.99

Release Date: May 15th 2020

Review code used, with many thanks to Wired Productions!

Introduction

When I first started Those Who Remain, I wanted to love it. The premise of saving a cursed town and using light to your advantage conjoured up images of a Silent Hill and Alan Wake love-child. While the game has it’s fine points and freaky moments, it’s bogged down by trial and error frustration and clunky mechanics.

Story/Characters

This first person psychological thriller takes place in the seemingly abandoned town of Dormont. You must make your way through various dimly-lit areas, using basic physics and any available lighting to navigate your way. Following you every step of the way are blue-eyed figures hiding in the shadows, unmoving and staring. Getting too close ends badly, an instant game over and checkpoint restart. They are one of the few things in the game that add any tension. The first time I gazed into the shadows and saw those blue eyes staring back at me was a genuine shock and watching them disappear and reappear with the flick of a switch is eerie.

The story of what happened to the town is a tragic one. A mother and daughter are shunned by the entire town as outsiders. One day, this goes too far. The climax of the game takes a sharp turn into the supernatural which somewhat ruined it for me. The fact that all the women in the newcomer’s family have skill in witchcraft and summoning is dropped very late in the game and seemingly out of nowhere. This goes wrong and leaves the town in the deserted and dicrepid state the protagonist Edward finds it in.

Meandering through the town’s various areas you need to solve puzzles, avoid stalking emenies and make the occasional “moral” choice relating to the town’s dark past. There’s enough exposition throughout to keep the story moving, the game dropping hints at what happened to the town as well as the protagonist’s past.

I see you!

Edward has enough depth that you can empathise with him as his story is dropped in tid bits throughout the game. What happened to him and his family could’ve happened to anyone and you really feel for him as he tries to forgive himself for what he’s done. The same, however, can’t be said for any other character you come across. All other people in Dormont look odd up close and the people you are meant to judge have only one aggrivating and one mitigating factor to their character, meant to balance them out and make the decision a tough one. This unfortunately has the opposite effect. The traits that define them are so generic and tropey that they seem all the more two dimensional, forgetable and shallow.

What’s wrong with your face?!

Gameplay

The controls in Those Who Remain are basic; you have the option to sprint and you can pick up and interact with objects. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the inability to defend yourself helps the (barely existent) tension.

The main source of frustration for me was the lack of a stealth mechanic. Why was this frustrating, I hear you ask? I have two words for you: patrolling enemy. The main enemy you have to avoid is a jerky, bipedal monster with a headlight for a face. It sounds random but it does tie in with Edward’s story, albeit in a very Silent Hill 2 ‘Pyramid Head’ kind of way. The enemy itself does a good job of looking creepy and I’ve gone out of my way to avoid it as much as possible. The main gripe I have with this enemy is how it was implemented.

In the spotlight

The problems arose when I ended up dying because I didn’t know I had to take cover behind the bookcase tucked into the corner of the room or I hid behind a corner and the enemy suddenly and randomly changed direction. It’s worth noting that you also can’t peek around corners or throw anything to create a distraction. Stood staring at a wall until an enemy leaves isn’t exactly what I’d call nailbiting tension. If I’d been able to peek round a corner to see the headlight barely missing me, or throw something so I could quickly dart past I would’ve found this enemy much scarier.

Puzzles mainly involve picking things up and carrying them to another location. Puzzles don’t always have to be complex riddles and matching odd keys with odd doors, so I didn’t have an issue with this…at first. About an hour in, I found myself having to locate and carry lion statues around a maze while avoiding the gaze of a giant. This isn’t too difficult as the area is fairly small and the giant is easy to spot. When you can actually see him. The lion statues take up a massive portion of the screen and you can’t run when you’re carrying them. I had to drop them and run more than once. Unfortunately, as they’re the same mudane grey as the rest of the map finding them again is a pain. There are no checkpoints mid-way so if you’re caught you have to start the whole segment again.

Something I was genuinely looking forward to was the ‘moral dilemmas’ Edward would find himself in. I use the term loosely as morality doesn’t really have anything to do with it. Everyone you have to judge had a hand in the incident that left Dormont in it’s dicrepid state, which began with the death of a child. Their parts in the tragedy vary from being directly involved to helping to cover it up. Some of them were easy to forgive, such as one of the children who was directly involved, who’s ‘harmless’ prank went too far. How could he have known what would happen? He was just a child himself, taking the grief of losing his brother out on other people.

Others are harder to overlook. The rest of those you must judge are adults, most of who used their positions of power to close the case or stop word of what happened reaching newspapers, but all have a family member who was involved. A couple stand out as truly horrible people. This is why I found the moral decisons irritating, If you condemn any of them you will get the bad ending.

You will also run into the occasional person in Dormont who is not involved in the incident, just trying to escape or keep themselves alive. One such person is a criminal trying to escape in a police car. He has a gun on his dashboard and police men aroud the car are dead. You can help him by finding and giving him the key in exchange for him lighting your way or you can ignite a fuel can next to the car and burn him alive. Is the fact that he has a gun proof enough that he killed the policemen? Kill any of these people and you will also get the bad ending. These decisions can come off as unbalanced and strange, just like the one above.

Decisions, decisions

The main mechanic I really enjoyed in the game was the ‘dream world’. Throughout the game you’ll come across portals you can use to travel to a different reality or location. Sometimes they’re your means of leaving the current area and heading to the next one. Other times, they’re an alternate version of the area you’re currently in. The shadow people don’t exist in this reality, so you’ll usually have to turn on a light switch you can’t get to, or pick up an item you need to take back with you. While I don’t think this was used to it’s full potential and the portals are blindingly bright, it’s an inspired idea that I enjoyed.

My eyes!

Graphics, Sound, and Performance

The game was made using Unity so it looks fine. As stated above, the characters look a little odd and there are some texture pops but the game otherwise delivers visually. The main star of the show is the lighting. From neon lights at an abandoned diner to moonlight passing through trees, it really lifts the atmosphere.

The music also adds to the atmosphere, even if it is a little cliche. Having a choir howl down your ear while you’re walking down a dark corridor or when you turn the corner to find shadow people staring at you always does the trick, but if you’re familair with horror games it’s nothing you haven’t heard before. There were a couple of bugs, such as picking up and throwing items making no sound.

Difficulty

The game has no difficulty settings or options. It has no combat and you can run faster than most of the enemies so there is no real sense of danger. The main issue comes from not knowing what to do or where to go next. Most of the items you need are hidden in drawers or lockers, or need to be found in the dream world, but some are hidden under pots or boxes.

Issues mentioned above, such as the lion statue maze, have led me to take a break from the game out of frustration. The main issue with any of the ‘carry item from point A to point B’ type of puzzle is that if you as much as caress the item against the wall or another item, you will drop it. This is a bit of a deal breaker for me when you’re carrying an item with an enemy in pursuit.

Another issue that had me struggling was trying to reach the light switches. Very often they’re on the same wall as the door you entered the room through. More than once I’ve got an insta-death by accidentally bumping a shadow person’s toe while shimmying sideways into the room, trying to get the interact prompt to pop up.

Aside from the ‘what do I do now?’ bumbling, the game is pretty easy, but that does little to ease the frustration.

Conclusion

Overall, Those Who Remain had some good ideas and freaky monents, but feels like it missed the mark. If there had been a stealth mechanic to deal with the monsters or a portable light source that required batteries to keep them at bay I would have found the game more enjoyable. If the morality feature of the game had been handled differently, where forgiving or condemning the wrong people affected the ending I would’ve found it less frustrating.

The story is an interesting one and is, truth be told, the only that kept me playing. If you’re into games with story and can look past the issues stated above then definitely give it a go, especially with the price. If you’re a horror fan like me looking for a spooky experience then perhaps give it a miss.

Verdict
An interesting story, decent atmosphere and inventive world-shifting bogged down with mediocrity and frustration makes for an average experience. For those looking for a true horror expereince, Those Who Remain is better off left behind.
4/10

Let’s-a Go For the 35th Anniversary!

The rumoured Mario Nintendo Direct hit and what a treat it was! In celebration of 35 years of Mario a lot of goodies are headed our way. In case you missed it, check out the Direct here below.


First up is the Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. Set for a release on the 13th of November this special system will include Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, a digital clock and Ball (Mario version). The Super Mario Bros. levels can be experienced as single player or as a 2-player game (hand over the console to the second player). And on a fun note the digital clock is said to have 35 different animations!

H2x1_GameAndWatch_SuperMarioBros.jpg

Next up: Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. This enhanced version of Super Mario 3D World will have improved gameplay features like playing using the gyro controls, all the characters running faster and being able to climb even higher using the Super Bell. Best of all local co-op with up to three players and on-line multiplayer!

Along with the release of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury will be two new Amiibo figures: Cat Mario and Cat Peach.

H2x1_NSwitch_SuperMario3DWorldAndBowsersFury_amiibo.jpg

Now an exclusive title for Nintendo Switch Online members, namely Super Mario Bros. 35. Like Tetris 99 you’ll be competing online against (in this case 34) other players. Fun feature: enemies you defeat end up on other player’s courses and theirs end up on yours! This game is playable for a limited time period from the 1st of October 2020 until the 31st of March, 2021.


Would you like to play Mario Kart in real-life? Well, have I got good news for you! Get ready for Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit! Drive a real world Mario Kart that you control with your Nintendo Switch and have the kart’s on-board camera display on your Switch or your TV. Create a course in any shape you’d like and start racing. Racing for a release on the 16th of October will be two sets, one with Mario and one with Luigi.


Playable from now for Nintendo Switch Online members will be the Super Mario All-Stars Collection. Originally released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System way back in 1993. This bundle will feature Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels.

Super Mario All-Stars - 25th Anniversary Edition | Wii | Games | Nintendo

Continuing the All-Stars collections will be the new Super Mario 3D All-Stars. This bundle includes Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy. All of which have been updated with HD graphics and joy-con controls. The soundtracks of all three games is included as well, boasting over 170 tracks to enjoy! Reader take note: set for a release on the 18th of September, this game can only be purchased until the 31st of March 2021. Alongside the digital version there will also be a limited physical release, so make sure you snag one before it disappears!


That was it! Are you feeling the hype train yet? Mario’s 35th anniversary is turning into a wonderful event and I can’t wait to play these games. Yes, I’m ignoring my backlog.

Source: Nintendo

The Half-Genie is Out of the Bottle

Having previously released physical copies of Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse and Shantae and the Seven Sirens, Limited Run Games will be re-releasing the original Shantae for the GameBoy Color!

Yes, that’s right. A Game Boy Color cartridge that you can actually play on your GBC. This is a blessing since the original is really hard to come by and regularly auctions for several hundred euros. (There’s currently an eBay auction for €3000,‐.)

Apart from the regular version there’s also going to be a Collector’s Edition which will feature exclusive items, like the OST and an enamel pin.

Pre-orders for both of these will go up on 11th of September 2020, at 10am ET, for a period of four weeks. So, plenty of time to grab a copy.

Source: Limited Run Games

Gaming Square Exclusive: Ryan Hart Interview

We sit down with the legend, Ryan Hart in this exclusive interview. The multi award winning esports player from Tekken and Street Figher is not even scratching the surface on what Ryan has accomplished.

GS: First of all, thanks Ryan for agreeing to do this with us. How have you been? Especially in these unprecedented times.  

RH: Hi, thanks for having me, yes indeed, quite a difficult situation for everyone right now. Just trying to adapt to the new rhythm of life.  

GS: So lets begin, what made you get into videogames?  

RH: Loneliness probably. Despite going out to play a lot, I didn’t have many friends when I was 10 years old. Then when I found a mini cab station with some arcades in it, I started going there quite often. I had a commodore 16 at home and later a Sega Master System but finding the arcade was when gaming started to have a bigger presence both inside and outside the house.  

GS: If I do recall (did my research haha) in 94, wasn’t there was a tournament in central London? Was this the tournament which pretty much started you to go on this journey to where you are today?  

RH: Yes, it was the Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo National Tournament sponsored by KISS FM. This was the first fighting game tournament I had ever heard of and has to be one of the first of all time if not the first. Despite losing badly, and I mean really badly hahaha, this is inevitably what started my tournament roller coaster.  

GS: Of all the tournaments you have entered and won. Which tournament win really sticks out for you and why?  

RH: There are a lot of standouts for me so its always a hard question. I think winning Final Round 17, the first ever Capcom Pro Tour Premier event was a good one. I became the first European player to win a Major on US soil, which also helped the European scene to be more confident when travelling abroad.

GS: You have had some fierce rivalries over the years. Who would you say was the toughest opponent you have come up against, plus did you learn something new which stays in your game today perhaps?  

RH: I usually feel that if I play my absolute best, nobody has a chance but I’m also aware of my own vulnerability as well. So, I’d say it’s always a battle against myself to be honest. Being able to bring my absolute A game is always the biggest challenge I have. To that end, I’m probably my own biggest rival. There are lots of good players out there, and I feel like these opponents have helped me learn to develop different areas of my style and different forms of expression.  

GS: What’s the best advice would you give to current and new players into fighting games?

RH: There are tons of fighting games out there, so take time to find the one you enjoy the most, fighting games take time to get good at, so its best to pick the one that gives you the most fun. Once that’s done, try and join your local community that play your game and meet people to increase your community circle. Play as much as possible, the more you play, the more you can learn, this is really important.  

GS: Fighting sticks. I have a cheap one myself known as Venom, and its pretty good too and not breaking the bank either. Which fighting sticks do you recommend?  

RH: Right now, I’m using the Razer Panthera, I enjoy using this stick for both 2D and 3D games.

GS: The UK scene, can it be better? I feel we are miles behind of that of the US, Japan for example.  

RH: That is just a misconception, US and Europe are both very strong. Japan are still the best country on the planet on Street Fighter, but Europe aren’t behind NA on Street Fighter and Tekken in my opinion. NA just has more eyes on it and they have more events than Europe but there definitely isn’t a massive gap.      

GS: Do you like commentating? How was the transition. Do you feel more pressured than you would playing?  

RH: Commentary is fun, it is a loose form of playing, you can still exercise your mind about the match details and talk as if you were thinking in the match yourself. I enjoy the opening to share my thoughts with a learning audience, I’m very happy to share while making the match exciting through commentary.  

GS: With new consoles coming soon and obviously the fans probably be wanting news on the new tekken and street fighter etc. How did you feel when both Namco and Capcom revealed more content for their retrospect game?

RH: I for one wasn’t exactly surprised but also glad, hyped that we are getting more content.   For me its strange people already want a new game when they haven’t even maximised themselves on the current game. A new game comes out and before long they want a new one again. The main problem is some players don’t know what they want, so no game is ever enough.   People also don’t realise they probably won’t get the game they are expecting anyway, so may as well enjoy what we have now. New does not mean good, or that you will like it, people often forget that.    

GS: Lastly, what projects have you got going and what is install for Ryan Hart in the future?  

Nothing I can share right now, but there are some fun plans in the pipeline so stay tuned to my social media.

We hope you enjoyed the interview with Ryan Hart. You can follow Ryan here on twitter.

We greatly appreciate Ryan for agreeing to doing this interview.

Ubisoft Forward September 10th

Ubisoft have revealed the second Ubisoft forward show on September 10th.

The stream kicks off with a pre-show at 11:00am PDT with news from games such as Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Brawlhalla and more. The main show kicks off at 12:00pm PDT with more details on Watch Dogs Legion, Hyper Scape and more surprises awaits.

When logged into your ubisoft account, you can earn ingame rewards by simply watching the stream just like the last Ubisoft forward show.

Source: Ubisoft Forward

September 2020

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MX vs ATV All Out

Ary and the Secret of Seasons

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Piffle

Jelly Champs!

Spinch

Niche – a genetics survival game

Good Pizza, Great Pizza

Under the Jolly Roger

Shaolin vs Wutang

Meganoid

OkunoKA Madness

AVICII Invector

Tomoyo After -It’s a Wonderful Life- CS Edition

Space Robinson

Adventures of Pip

Wintermoor Tactics Club

RPG Maker MV

WWE 2K Battlegrounds

Unrailed!

Going Under

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Ary and the Secret of Seasons

Mask of Mists

Batu Ta Batu

Touhou Luna Nights

WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship

Tony Hawk’s™ Pro Skater™ 1 + 2

Marvel’s Avengers

The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters

Lair of the Clockwork God

NBA 2K21

OkunoKA Madness

Necromunda: Underhive Wars

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning

Johnny Rocket

Exp Parasite

Dog Duty

WWE 2K Battlegrounds

Little Big Workshop

Tennis World Tour 2

Port Royale 4

Mafia: Definitive Edition

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WRC 9 FIA World Rally Championship

Marvel’s Avengers

Tony Hawk’s™ Pro Skater™ 1 + 2

NBA 2K21

eFootball PES 2021 SEASON UPDATE

WWE 2K Battlegrounds

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

Mafia: Definitive Edition

Sources: Nintendo, XBox, PlayStation

Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League revealed

Rocksteady’s new game Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League has been revealed at DC Fandome.

The game will be 4 player co-op online or you can play singleplayer with the rest of the team filled by bots. Amanda Waller has planted bombs inside the heads of Harley Quinn, Deadshot, King Shark and Captain Boomerang. Their goal is simple, kill the justice league and earn a pardon. Superman turns up, their primary target, but something doesnt seem right.

At the start of the trailer which will be able to view below. The game is set in metropolis, and burning in the background is brainiac’s ship. In my opinion, something sinister is at foot and I think killing the justice league isnt going to be the top agenda.

Gotham Knights announced

A new batman spinoff videogame called Gotham Knights has been announced at DC Fandome yesterday. The game is heading to PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X according to their official website.

Players won’t be playing as Batman this time around. You will be playing as 1 of 4 characters – Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing and Red Hood. Below you can read what the game is about with screenshots, trailer and nearly 8mins of gameplay footage.

“Batman is dead. A new expansive, criminal underworld has swept the streets of Gotham City. It is now up to the Batman Family; Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Robin; to protect Gotham, bring hope to its citizens, discipline to its cops, and fear to its criminals. From solving mysteries that connect the darkest chapters in the city’s history to defeating notorious villains in epic confrontations, you must evolve into the new Dark Knight and save the streets from descent into chaos.”

“Gotham Knights is an open-world, action RPG set in the most dynamic and interactive Gotham City yet. In either solo-play or with one other hero, patrol Gotham’s five distinct boroughs and drop in on criminal activity wherever you find it.”

Source: Gotham Knights official website