Preview By: Siou Choy
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One of the most undeservedly overlooked survival horror games of the last generation (if not the last decade) is the excellent, if ironically aptly titled Obscure. That game (which I reviewed here) has gamers playing as one of four high school students, uncovering a mystery that just keeps getting deeper as the story progresses – Buffy with teeth, if you will, or Silent Hill: The High School Years. As you encounter each of the five teens in succession, you are given the opportunity to play as each one of them (should you so desire – "Ashley" in particular was given a rather intolerable persona), with one AI-controlled partner of your choice providing backup. Naturally, each character has his or her own respective strong points and failings, bringing some much appreciated strategy and thought into the proceedings.
Well, for all of you who passed that game over last time around (probably in favor of overhyped, yet absolute garbage-level sequels like Silent Hill 4: The Room or Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly), here’s your opportunity to make up for your mistake (and wasted time). The good folks at Playlogic and Hydravision are hoping that fans will give the Obscure series a second look with the release of its sequel for the Nintendo Wii, PC, and PS2.
Obscure II takes place approximately two years after the events of its progenitor. The students are no longer in high school, obviously (though in the case of lovable rapper-type moron "Stan", that comes as something of a surprise). Yes, our heroes have moved on up into the ranks of collegiate life where they are trying to survive such perils of advanced intellectual pursuit as "keggers" and "take back the night" rallies ("waaah…he said I was hot, and I didn’t want him to!" ) Yes, children, the sheer terror of that alone is enough to elicit night sweats in even the most courageous among us…but there’s more!
As if the terrors of collegiate life weren’t enough, our group of five once again finds themselves in hot water when a strange plant is discovered on the campus. And no, it’s not the campus provost or security finding that ziploc full of chopped and dried herbs, either. No, it’s a journey into absolute horror unparalleled outside of the upcoming presidential election…this is the world of Obscure!
Gameplay appears to be the same as in the previous entry: you play as one character and select a second AI player to aid you; each character’s particular characteristics might be better suited to one situation than another. If you prefer, a friend can jump into the game at anytime to help control the second character and provide backup in the game.
As in the original, light plays a big part in helping you to survive the proceedings, and can be used as a weapon against the various enemies you may encounter. Of course, being a survival horror title, you shouldn’t find any shortage of weapons to facilitate matters along the way – just keep an eye on that ammo. One can only assume the Wii Remote will come into play in that version, leaving you to swing your arms around like a fool while fending off virtual enemies. Just try not to clobber any passing friends, relatives, or pets in the process.
The first Obscure traded heavily on its strong atmosphere, so it’s fairly safe to assume the same for its sequel, in visuals, music and sound effects. The budget must have gone up, too, since said music will be coming to you courtesy of both the Boston Symphonic Orchestra and the Paris Opera Children's Choir – and as anybody "in the know" can tell you, booking a symphony orchestra for rehearsals and recording doesn’t come cheap.
Obscure II for the PC is primed and ready to scare your @$$ with its release in the last quarter of 2007.
Posted: 2007-06-24 10:44:23 PST