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Game review: Remothered: Tormented Fathers is an old school survival horror

Remothered: Tormented Fathers (PS4) – its scarier when you cant fight back

Before Resident Evil there was Clock Tower, as this spiritual sequel returns to the terrifying roots of survival horror.

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Everyone knows that Resident Evil originally coined the term survival horror, but it was far from the first horror-themed video game. Resident Evil was originally conceived as a remake of 1989 NES game Sweet Home, while its gameplay and visual style was borrowed wholesale from French game Alone In The Dark. And then in 1995, a year before Resident Evil, there was Clock Tower – a peculiar point n click SNES game that was never released outside of Japan but nevertheless had a huge influence on the genre, including Remothered.

The PlayStation 1 sequel to Clock Tower was released in the West, as was spiritual sequel Haunting Ground and the more recent NightCry, but none have ever been major hits. Thats probably because they take a more purist approach to the concept of video game horror, to the point where you have almost no defence against the games enemies and your only real options are to run or to hide.



Survival horror characters are usually more vulnerable than other video game protagonists but Clock Tower and its progeny take the concept to its logical extreme. Not only are you constantly being stalked by seemingly invulnerable enemies but theres almost nothing you can seem to do to stop them. That means little in the way of traditional action, but at the same time it turns up the tension to almost unbearable levels.

The main character in Remothered is a 35-year-old woman named Rosemary, whos clearly modelled on Jodie Foster from Silence of the Lambs. Shes obsessed with the disappearance of a young girl several years before and starts the game by trying to talk to the girls adopted father. Not only does he live in a creepy mansion, with an equally creepy wife and nurse, but hes suffering from a mysterious and seemingly unnatural disease. And so before you can say Clock Tower, Rosemary is trapped in the mansion and being stalked by its unhinged inhabitants.

Rosemary isnt entirely helpless but she certainly doesnt get to wander around the mansion with a AK-47. That means that in terms of gameplay this is a primarily a stealth game, and that wherever you are in the mansion your first order of business is always to work out a safe hiding spot. Enemies can appear very suddenly (although the PlayStation 4s lightbar does flash in warning when theyre near) and yet many locations take some time to scour for clues or solve their simple inventory-based puzzles.



It is possible to set up distractions beforehand though, such as alarm clocks, and to try and barricade characters into certain areas of the mansion, at least for a short time. If the worst come to worst, you can also pick up objects and just fling them at people. This wont really injure them but it will stagger them just long enough for you to run off and find somewhere safer to hide. There are a few items that can be used as actual weapons too, and you can even upgrade them by pouring acid on them, but they literally are a last resort.

Remothered: Tormented Fathers (PS4) - that won't keep them out for long

Remothered: Tormented Fathers (PS4) – that wont keep them out for long

Given its influences Remothered is pretty old school in terms of difficulty and hand-holding. Theres no checkpointing and you can only heal at special save points, which are another thing you have to be very aware of whenever you stray too far from the nearest one. The enemy artificial intelligence is very sensitive to sound and accidentally making any in their presence, up to and including breathing heavily, almost never ends well.

Remothered is clearly not a big budget game but the visuals for the mansion are generally very good, with effective use of lighting to make it seem as threatening as possible. Character animations are stiff and unconvincing though, and the voice-acting and dialogue often equally amateurish. By luck or judgement though a lot of the story details are revealed by objects and documents you find around the mansion, and not by the sometimes awkward cut scenes.


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The game itself is intended as the first part of a trilogy, which means several plot points are still left dangling by the end. The initial story is relatively self-contained though and the bigger problem is simply that the experience is only five hours long and yet expensive by indie standards. Which makes the occasional bugs, that usually require a reset, that much harder to bear.

A slow-paced survival horror set in a dingy mansion seems an odd game to release in the middle of the hottest summer for decades but the situation outside only makes it more impressive that 10 minutes with Remothered will have you shivering in fear and forgetting everything but the desperate need not to make a sound…

Remothered: Tormented Fathers

In Short: An effective homage to Clock Tower that manages to create a similar sense of helplessness even if it doesnt improve on the formula in any notable way.

Pros: Great atmosphere building and tense stealth gameplay, that always offers multiple options for every encounter. Challenging without ever being unfair.

Cons: Very short and fairly expensive. Weak dialogue and voice-acting, and an only partially satisfying ending. Some infrequent but serious bugs.

Score: 7/10

Formats: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, and PC
Price: £24.99
Publisher: Darril Arts
Developer: Stormind Games
Release Date: 25th July 2018
Age Rating: 18


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