When a non-gamer asks what kind of gaming experience you are playing and you reply with ‘survival horror’, they always pull a face. In their minds, it’s a mystery as to why anyone would find pleasure in surviving any kind of unpleasant experience. But we gamers lap it up and can’t wait to dive into another scary experience, hiding in closets, running from shadows, crying in corners.
Remorse: The List is the latest offering on Xbox to make you feel uneasy. But instead of a standard, fairly linear experience, it fools you with some open-world elements. Are you feeling brave?
Remorse: The List is set in the small Hungarian village of Hidegpuszta, a village in which everyone has disappeared. You are someone – without a name or a purpose – intent on finding out what has happened in this place. You have a strange list, but nothing makes sense so off you go into the world. In terms of story and visual atmosphere, Remorse: The List reminds of old-school survival horrors like Silent Hill. I think the developers are keen to make comparisons to those retro games too, but as you progress you find out more about the story and what has happened here. It’s compelling and very scary.
The game takes you on a journey, first through a linear corridor where you can get used to the first person viewpoint and the basic controls. Then you are thrown into the town, presented with a map and a choice of where to go and what to do. You can complete the areas in any order you wish – your only goal being to complete the list. The exploration part of the game is the strongest element for me, with scares sitting around every corner. There is a permanent sense of dread and uncertainty as you move around the village which is the perfect setup for any survival horror. In fact, only in the moments that any monsters appeared did I lose the love.
Throughout Remorse: The List you’ll find yourself coming up against the most scary of creatures, as they attack by running at you in a strange jerking manner. You can melee them, of course, but the best course of action is to get yourself some guns, working the limited ammo. The shooting is okay and, in fact, the combat overall is okay, but personally I could have done without it. It’s not as fun as other more polished and bigger budgeted FPS games and exploring the gaming world is much more interesting than fighting the monsters.
There is the usual inventory management stuff to do too; stuff that is generally attached to these old-school horror games. There are some great little puzzles to take in too; fun without being annoying. The use of riddles is utilised quite a lot and that is always something that delights, and so I’ve had a great time solving them. However, Remorse: The List doesn’t have anything truly original in its gameplay, apart from the location, but it still manages to deliver a decent homage to old-school survival horrors.
Visually and Remorse does a brilliant job with what it has. Its environments are creepy and the creators use lighting ever so well. The interiors are particularly well designed with a good level of detail and texture to be had in the fittings and fixtures. And in regards the creatures themselves, and whilst they look good first of all, the feeling of fright starts to fade after a while. In terms of sound and mood it does a solid job throughout that keeps the tension high.
You’ll be looking at some four or five hours in order to complete Remorse: The List and throughout that time will find a world that is interesting to explore. The combat could be more fun though, and it would have been great to have taken in a few more surprises in its setup. At least the puzzle elements are rewarding though.
That said, the price feels too high for what Remorse: The List is offering and aside from some love from old-school horror fans, it may fail to appeal.
Remorse: The List is on the Xbox Store