Review of Remothered
Remothered: Tormented Fathers is a third-person survival horror game with a strong emphasis on psychological horror and cinematic structure. According to the Remothered press kit, it was developed by Stormind Games, while Chris Darril directed and wrote it. Darril Arts, Chris’ own studio, published the game. The game released on January 30, 2018 for PC, and on July 25 of the same year for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4. There are many unique aspects to the game that make it a truly memorable, but somewhat flawed experience. Before I get into my review, though, I’ll be giving an overview of the game’s overall story and structure.
The story of Remothered begins with a 35 year old woman named Rosemary Reed, visiting the house of the retired Dr. Felton. When Rosemary arrives, she meets Gloria, Felton’s caretaker, and then Felton himself. Dr. Felton has a mysterious disease, and Rosemary is visiting under the guise of treating it. However, she has other intentions, and when these are revealed to Felton, Rosemary is plunged into a nightmarish situation. After this, her main focus is on surviving, and finding out what happened to Felton’s missing daughter, Celeste. This is the actual reason Rosemary visited Dr. Felton to begin with.
Remothered has an abundance of traits that make it refreshingly different from many modern horror games. This might be because it was inspired by the classic Clock Tower series; these games blend aspects of puzzle solving, stealth, and defense together. Remothered also has many of these aspects. The core of the gameplay is that Rosemary is hunted throughout the game by a total of four enemies, or “stalkers.” She must gain key items to solve puzzles while escaping them. This can be accomplished in a few ways; players can focus on stealth, avoiding enemies altogether, face them head-on with certain items, or even just run away from them. There is no real right way to play Remothered. It simply depends on each player’s preference.
Whatever style of play a gamer chooses, there are several mechanics to assist them. The player has access to a plethora of “defense items,” or items that can be used to escape a stalker’s grasp, and simultaneously, death. However, each defense item can only be used once. Some examples of defense items are sewing needles, spades, small knives, etc.
There are also items that are used more to get around enemies. These are “diversion items,” “throwables,” and “placeable items.” Diversion items include objects like bottles and bricks, and they can be used to distract an enemy, allowing players to sneak by without getting caught. Throwables are items that can be hurled at the enemy to momentarily stun them, buying Rosemary several more seconds of safety. Placeable items have traits of both diversion and throwable objects. Things like rope can be used to briefly bind a door, halting a stalker’s advance, while music boxes and similar items can be used to detract an enemy’s attention from Rosemary.
Although this system makes up most of the gameplay in Remothered, there are a few other critical aspects. The majority of the game depends on the player’s skill, patience, and wit to make it past enemies. However, this game also contains several quick time events, in which a specified button must be pressed shortly after it appears on screen. These sequences, if failed, typically result in Rosemary suffering a brutal death. Additionally, there are other parts with their own distinct requirements. For example, there’s a section where Rosemary has to turn steam valves to open a path, all while skirting around a homicidal stalker. These mechanics help bring even more flair to an already unique game.
In my opinion, Remothered has all the makings of a great horror game, although there are a few minor flaws sprinkled in. Throughout the game’s course, I did run into some glitches, but I only had two in the entire four hour experience, and they were fairly minor. I was lucky enough for each one to occur shortly after I’d just saved, so they never were too frustrating for me. These glitches were mainly from breaking sequence, and/or going through the game too quickly.
In addition, I welcome a bit of challenge in my gaming, and while Remothered balances difficulty well overall, there was an encounter towards the end that bothered me. Maybe I just wasn’t playing well, but I died the most here, and I began to feel as if I wasn’t making any progress. Eventually, I did make it through. The game may test players, but it never asks the impossible of them.
I have to say, this game has a greatly interesting story, and I genuinely found myself wanting to know more. However, I never found out that much more about the game’s story. What I could glean of it was intriguing, and I think I was following it alright at first. But towards the end, I lost what was happening in it. Perhaps I didn’t pay enough attention, but I left the game feeling confused and a little disoriented. On the bright side, there are a few important twists throughout Remothered, which are executed very well. I was honestly surprised when they occurred. These curve balls result in some truly tense, thrilling moments. I also appreciate the focus on psychological horror; I think this merged beautifully with the style of the game.
Style is one thing Remothered has in spades, and it’s a design that is distinct in the horror genre. The cinematic focus is plainly apparent, with many cutscenes and a film like structure. The graphics are quite good, especially for an indie title. This makes the cutscenes even more enjoyable to watch. Along with the graphics, I really like the character designs. Most of them are simple, but they have a certain elegance and charm to them. These designs still manage to stand out. I think my favorite character design was that of the Red Nun, a mysterious stalker that’s adorned in crimson garb, and has a large white veil covering their face.
Yet another aspect of the game’s style is its impressive soundtrack. It was composed by Nobuko Toda, of The Evil Within and Kingdom Hearts fame, and Luca Balboni, who wrote music for the film, Mine. The music is absolutely beautiful, and haunting as well, with a choir like sound to it. I adored the chase music so much that I almost enjoyed being hunted by enemies. A neat trait of the soundtrack is that the music picks up whenever a stalker is nearby; this can be a very important and helpful audio clue, as long as you listen for it. Remothered’s soundtrack also results in a constantly tense environment. There’s a prominent sense of never being truly safe, which is a staple of horror.
In addition, the game is notable for just how well its core mechanics work. In some games, it seems as if certain systems are tacked on, providing no real benefit. This is not the case with Remothered. It feels as if every mechanic was put in place to actually help. Even better, these mechanics work well. Throwing an item at enemies does stun them, and oftentimes, it’s long enough to sneak away. Counter attacking a stalker with a defense item is both satisfying and beneficial. I can wholeheartedly admit that I probably wouldn’t have made it through particular sections without using these mechanisms. They at least would’ve been much more difficult.
Remothered does have a few issues, but they do little to detract from its immense appeal and noteworthy style. It is so different from many other indie horror games, and I mean that in the best way. This game has aspects that set it apart from other titles and cause it to stand out. Remothered: Tormented Fathers is a true gem of the indie horror library, and I believe that every horror fan should give it a try.
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Remothered: Tormented Fathers Official Website- http://www.remothered.com
Official Remothered: Tormented Fathers Press Kit- http://www.remothered.com/press-kit/
PlayStation Store Page- https://bit.ly/2AXkgMc
Xbox/Microsoft Store Page- https://bit.ly/2RIr7Ds
PC/Steam Store Page- https://bit.ly/2UecxAw
All pictures were obtained from the official press kit for Remothered: Tormented Fathers.