Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a third-person survival horror game where you explore and solve puzzles while avoiding or fighting monsters in a giant mansion. Despite that description, Remothered: Tormented Fathers is nothing like Resident Evil. You don’t ever get a gun, for starters. We got an early hands-on with the game and can confidently say it’s unique, although not without its influences.
Comparisons instead can be made to the likes of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Outlast and, especially, Clock Tower, but frankly the game Remothered most reminded me of was a single-player Friday The 13th. All these comparisons are a good thing, and Remothered still remains unique despite them, but there’s still something missing right now.
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Remothered is a horror game where you creep through a large mansion, trying to solve a mystery and escape with your life while avoiding the lurking terrors wandering the hallways. In this, it’s more unique than it sounds. There are no loading screens, and only ever one terror after you at any one time. Making noise or running around alerts it, but you can hide in certain places or even attack it if you’re feeling brave.
The enemy could be searching for you on the other side of the mansion, but run around too much and it’ll be on you in moments. It’s really quite clever. Apart from avoiding an enemy you’ll be rummaging through drawers looking for useful items or clues, using items to solve puzzles or activate things, or diving under beds or into closets to avoid the killer.
All this feels very inspired by Illfonic’s Friday the 13th: The Game, and Remothered for the most part honestly plays like a single-player version. This is by no means a bad thing, although the constant drawer searching is more than a little tiresome, especially as 95% of the time any useful items will be in plain view. There's certainly more than a hint of Creative Assembly's excellent Alien Isolation too, with the single enemy hunting you, and those tense moments of hiding in closets while they walk by, forcing you to hold your breath, are exactly the same as in Alien.
On the other hand there are definite moments when Remothered is like an adventure game, combining items in interesting ways to solve puzzles. It was attaching the chain from a broken chandelier to a service lift to pull open a basement grate that got me stuck first time. I probably would’ve got it if this was a straight point-n-click adventure, but the killer running around trying to slice my head off really didn’t help.
One thing that Remothered absolutely is, is tense. Knowing that the killer stalking you could turn the next corner at any moment, or hearing footsteps and not knowing if they’re from the floor above you or just behind you, is deeply nerve-wracking. This is pure horror, completely, an absolute nightmare.
However, there are still things that hopefully will be smoothed out in the final version. For one, items aren’t automatically used, you have to open a separate inventory screen and click ‘Use’ from there. This is especially annoying when it’s something as simple as a key. Useful ‘distraction’ items can disappear between saves, and the ability to open and then search through drawers is kind of unnecessary. Also the game needs better signposting for puzzles and important items – for example one vital object was high on a kitchen shelf above the camera, and I only found it by accident.
All of this can certainly get ironed out, and we could be in for a good unique game here. If a mix of Resident Evil and a single-player Friday The 13th: The Game sounds good to you, be sure to keep an eye on Remothered.