Obscure: The Aftermath Review

As I said in the Big Red Potion podcast featuring Eddie and myself, I don’t do horror often. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Resident Evil, and I’ll play Silent Hill and F.E.A.R. until the wee hours of the morning on occasion, but it’s still not something I do a lot. Hell, my Dead Space save hasn’t been advanced for a good six months or so because I didn’t have the cajones to turn that one corner at the time (I’ll get to it, I swear!).

I took the chance to review Obscure: The Aftermath on PSP because I wanted to get reacquainted with the genre. I wanted to see if this would be the game that would jettison me back into a type of game I’ve always liked but was too much of a baby about.

This, my friends, was not it.

Obscure: The Aftermath starts out with a kid driving, talking about the events of the previous game, with background music that made me feel like I was about to start watching a 90s chick flick. I wanted to concentrate on what he was saying, but I was too busy waiting for Rachel Leigh Cook and Freddie Prinze Jr. to show up. The story then jumps to a total of six people, each dealing with the “flower turning people into mutants” crisis terrorizing their college campus. Wait a second, that doesn’t make sense either, a flower that turns people into mutants? I would have liked it more if it was called the T-Ulip or something, but no matter what you call it, the idea is still silly.

Throughout the game, I felt no emotional attachment to any one of the boring characters, and only once did I feel anything about what was going on, and it was more of a “well, that sucks” than a “DEAR GOD, NO!” I also was never once afraid of “what’s around the corner” as I’ve been with other horror games. It’s a bit hard not to expect something through a wall to attack when the full wall stays in the camera shot no matter where I go. The angles tend to be a bit frustrating as well, as whatever you need to see (enemies, for one) wouldn’t be shown on the screen until they were smacking you upside the head.

For the PSP, the game looks great, but considering this is a PS2/Wii port, that is to be expected. The character models are detailed and sharp, the backgrounds are dull (in a good way) and dreary, and the lighting is exactly what it needs to be for a horror game: dark and foreboding. Unfortunately, the control scheme does not translate from the console to the portable as well as the visuals. The PSP setup is much like the PS2 version, but because of the size and weight of the DualShock, it feels comfortable. On a PSP-3000 (and probably more so on a PSP Go), reaching for the shoulder buttons is not as comfortable. It doesn’t help that the characters move as stiffly as Jill and Chris in RE1. Trying to attack (holding R and pressing L) was a nightmare, the only one from this game, unfortunately. The game looks good, but since it controls so uncomfortably, you’ll spend little time focusing on the visuals, and more fighting the controls.

A cliche, “so what” storyline mixed with iffy controls and uninteresting characters, Obscure: The Aftermath was so dull that I was more focused on plowing through the game to be done with it than on where to expect the next big freakout. I may go try this on the console to see if the controls improve the experience, but that won’t fix the silly storyline and teen-dream sounding music. If you’re a horror fan, stick with Resident Evil and Silent Hill games, because the only bad feeling you’ll get from this is the bad taste in your mouth.


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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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