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Obscure: The Aftermath Review (PSP)

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Game Review: Obscure: The Aftermath
Release Date: September 29th, 2009
Genre: Survival Horror
Developer: Hydravision Entertainment
Available Platforms:  Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Wii, and PlayStation Portable
Players: Single Player, Multiplayer, Co-op
MSRP: $29.99
ESRB Rating: Mature
Website: http://www.obscure2.com/

Obscure: The Aftermath is the sequel to the acclaimed survival horror game Obscure. Two years ago, at Leafmore High, a group of young teenagers were trapped inside their school and hunted by monsters that had been released by the maniac headmaster. Some of them survived that terrible night, while others perished. Now, the survivors have picked up their lives and joined college. But all is not right on Fallcreek University; strange black flowers have suddenly sprung up everywhere on the campus. While experimenting with these flowers in class, a dangerous substance is discovered that induces strange but vivid dreams. But a handful of students find out that there is more to the flowers than anyone could have expected; when the seeds finally germinate, a bad trip suddenly turns into a horrible reality…

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First things first. If you like to be freaked out, this is the game for you. I’ll go ahead and admit it, I’m a huge scaredy cat. Sitting at home alone at night playing this game… not a good idea for people like me.

You spend the game guiding two characters through different environments full off hostile creatures, riddles and thick fog. Each character has a particular ability to take advantage of, like decrypting images, picking a lock, moving heavy objects or possessing acrobatic skills. You switch between the characters depending on what you’re doing in the game, and what you need to get done. Unfortunately, unlike in the original, each character’s ability is completely unique and necessary during the course of the game and as such, each character must survive in order to proceed.
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The combat system works very well. Players will find a good variety of melee and ranged weapons throughout the game to help defeat all of the horrific beasts. A shared inventory makes it fairly simple to equip each character with the weapons that would be the most beneficial as well as ensuring that bullets are always on tap for whoever needs them.
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Controls are set up quite nicely with a lot of different functions and freedom to be able to move the camera around as you want it. The mechanics are simple and straightforward: move with the left analog, control the camera with the right analog stick, prepare to attack with your equipped weapon with the L1 button and execute the attack with the R1 button. To switch between the two characters on screen at any given time during the game, use the R2 button. Once you collect more weapons, you can then assign them to each of the four directional buttons on the gamepad, and the action and reloading buttons are the X and Circle buttons respectively. More evasive maneuvers in the game would have been helpful during battles, but once accustomed to the controls it becomes easier to handle with the abilities given.
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One of the good things about the game is the graphics. There is good character and environment detail, almost every area is dark and forbidding. Sometimes though the background is too dark, but at least the characters carry flashlights. Another thing that I was really fond of was the soundtrack to the game. Beautiful orchestral arrangements are paired with stunning, hauntingly angelic choir singers to create some fantastic moments. The voice acting is not the best, but the music more than makes up for it.

I wasn’t impressed with the lack of instruction in the beginning. Yes, every game comes with an instruction book, but there was literally no instruction to start with and at first it was a bit confusing. Also bothering me was the limited ways to save the game, so if you end up dying in a fight there is a chance you will be sent back quite a ways. The only other thing I would have changed would be a better indication of which characters you need to continue on with in each stage of the game.
All in all it’s a very good game for the price on it. It will keep you entertained, and if you play co-op, it gives you a good game to play with friends. Very well done.

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