As someone who has long been a fan of the horror genre, it’s fair to say that I was looking forward to Remothered: Tormented Fathers taking us on a horror adventure inspired by early classics in the genre. Nowadays the term survival horror can often be conceived as something completely different to that we saw back in the late ‘90s, with the type of fear seen emanating from the original Resident Evil and Silent Hill games rarely found anymore, mainly thanks to the high interest of jump scares and first-person tension builders. Remothered: Tormented Fathers is now finally here though and with my fingers crossed I jumped in to the latest horror adventure to arrive on Xbox One.
Throughout the game, players take on the role of Rosemary Reed, a middle-aged woman investigating the disappearance of Celeste, the 13-year-old daughter of Richard Felton who was reported missing from her local recreation ground close to her family home some time ago.
As Rosemary’s investigations take her to the house of the aging Felton family, she soon realises something isn’t quite as it seems and after an unwelcome meeting with Mr. Felton that sees her unannounced visit quickly come to an end, she decides to make another unscheduled return later in the evening. This is where the tour of the house of horrors begins for our daring reporter as she soon stumbles onto something much worse than she could have ever imagined, becoming trapped in the Felton household along with the horrors that reside within.
Remothered plays out as a third-person adventure with the main responsibilities coming down to solving puzzles, evading enemies and taking in lots and lots of running and hiding. Whilst there are weapons to be found within the game, there is no direct way to attack the different monsters you come across and instead hiding is the best defence, with weapons utilised as a last-ditch effort to escape should you end up in a hand to hand struggle with the fearmongering monstrosities that roam the creaking mansion.
At first glance Remothered looks like a game that would tick all the boxes for the perfect horror experience. It has the creepy house in which the game takes place, it has enemies that incite fear as they lurk around the corners, and it has classic puzzles that bring back that nostalgic feel as you go in search of an elusive item that’s desperately needed for progression. Unfortunately, despite having all the right things in place, it doesn’t take long before the cracks begin to seep-in through the tainted woodwork of the beautifully hideous environment you find yourself in – the first of which is centred on the annoying traits of our main protagonist.
Initially I quite liked our heroic protagonist who was willing to stop at nothing to find out just what has happened to the missing Celeste – an objective which remains her goal despite being chased through the Felton family home. But after my first few encounters with the first enemy, Mr Felton himself, I soon began to wish I was in the shoes of a younger, much fitter, protagonist. The reason for this is the fact that her movement is so slow, even with the sprint option enabled, and should you get injured – and you will – the movement speed slows even more, making dodging enemy attacks damned frustrating and on occasion near impossible. Factor in the rather limited supply of hiding places from which to escape the enemies and it doesn’t take long to see how being a middle-aged woman in an unescapable house isn’t the best situation to be in – especially when being chased by a near-naked elderly man with a sickle.
Fortunately, there are a healthy number of protective items around the house such as a kitchen knives and similar items that players can use to evade capture should the enemies happen to get too close. However, being constantly attacked thanks to poor movement only brings more frustration to the game rather than any real sense of horror.
It’s worth nothing there is an option to apply upgrades to our female protagonist in the form of a Damage upgrade that stuns enemies a little longer and Durability upgrades that allow defence items to be used twice, but should the movement not prove such an issue then it’s hard to see why these upgrades would be necessary at all.
Another issue that will hit you quite early on is that of the in-game sound and how it just isn’t quite right. Whether it’s the sounds of the enemies and how they feel much further away than they actually are, or the immediate drop and raise in volume of the music when you move up or down the different floors of the building, at no point does the transition ever feel fluid. In fact, on numerous occasions this meant I was forced to run from trouble thanks to believing the enemy was much further away than they actually were. This also makes navigation difficult through darkened areas as often when an enemy is present, the audio is all you have to rely on, ensuring that even the simplest of areas are made more difficult than necessary.
Something else that’s worth noting is just how easy it is to get lost in the Felton estate. This is mostly down to how similar the entire place looks and the fact that the only way to really know where you are, or where you’re going, is to remember key things like how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed. Of course, a similar look throughout isn’t entirely negative, especially with the game presenting the visuals it does, but it can make finding the next progression point a lot more difficult than it probably should.
My final gripe with Remothered: Tormented Fathers comes down to the mirrors that are sparsely stretched throughout the mansion and the fact that the only way of saving the game and healing from an injured state is to make your way to one of the various mirrors that have a metronome in front of them. What makes this an issue is the fact that these are rather few and far between and more often than not enemies will be found patrolling these areas, meaning it’s never guaranteed that accessing or travelling to a save point is actually safe. There have been multiple moments in which I have been left needing to replay chunks of the game thanks to being unable to access a save point.
Away from the awkwardly slow protagonist, broken in-game sounds and dangerous save points though and Remothered has a lot to be praised for. It has brilliant visuals, an impressive and decent story full of clever twists, and some rather frightening and well-designed characters – with one particular red dressed villain giving me a good scare on several occasions. But it’s hard to enjoy all of those things when the very basics of what ties it all together simply doesn’t work as intended. Of course, there is nothing stopping the issues present from being fixed and should the guys over at Stormind Games bring a patch addressing those I’ve mentioned then Remothered: Tormented Fathers just about has what it takes to be an impressive start to the planned trilogy. In its present state, Remothered doesn’t quite bring the magic of a classic horror experience.
Remothered: Tormented Fathers is a game that is almost ready to fill the classic horror experience gap, but the issues present are certainly hard to ignore. Should you be able to look past the misguiding sounds and horrendous movement mechanics, then you’ll still be able to find the essence of a quality horror story nestled deep within. However, with a price a little unfavourable for a six-hour adventure, and some mechanics that make gameplay more difficult than it needs to be, anyone looking for a good scare should probably consider waiting for either an update or at least a sale before pressing on with this particular horror adventure.