Obscure 2 First Hour Impressions

I picked up Obscure 2 for the Wii a while back and am just now getting around to playing it. I enjoyed the first Obscure, mostly because playing with another person made the otherwise mediocre horror game a lot more fun. This time around I’m playing on my own (so far–maybe I can convince my friend to reprise his role as my backup monster smasher), and so far I am enjoying the experience a whole lot less. I’ve only played for an hour or so, and it’s far too early to pass judgement on the game at this point, but I thought I’d post a few of my thoughts anyway.

The graphics and art style in Obscure 2 is pretty nice. Ok, I should qualify that statement; the cutscenes look terrible, but the actual in-game graphics are very good (I dig the slightly-cartoonish art style too). The monsters are sort of your run-of-the-mill fleshbags and zombie velociraptors, but they look alright. The actual character design for the protagonists seems a bit naff (they’re all cliched stereotypes), but the models are well done and the animation is fine. The background art in particular is very good; I’ve only witnessed a few scenes so far, but the environments are really solid.

There seem to be some odd control choices, though. First of all, the camera is controllable with the Wii pointer (you point at the edge of the screen to rotate the view in that direction), which has so far been really disorienting to me (the camera spends a lot of time spinning in place). There have been a couple of nice fixed cameras (good composition, too), but I’m not used to the pointer-based method at all yet. The character control itself is alright (though movement is aggravated by the camera), but shooting monsters seems incredibly complicated. To shoot a monster you must go into aim mode (button #1), point at the monster, lock on to the monster (button #2), and then finally shoot (button #3). I’m getting used to this but it’s taking a long time. The melee attacks are done using Wii remote gestures, which seem to work ok.

The dialog in Obscure 2 is terrible. The characters are paper-thin, and their jokes and one-liners have already gotten super old. The game has a lot of dialog about the environment, which is good (it makes it feel like these characters are actually experiencing the events portrayed by the game), but sometimes the delivery of the lines is so stoic that it renders them useless (“there’s blood on the floor” isn’t a tension-inducing line when it’s performed in the same tone as one might describe a planned trip to the laundry mat). So far, the characters and their asinine dialog is by far the worst part of the game for me.

I want to talk about an early puzzle, so if you want to avoid minor SPOILERS, skip this paragraph. The puzzles seem to be either really easy or really obtuse. So far most of the puzzles have involved collecting items or just moving boxes around. The one sort of terrible one so far was the first hacking puzzle, in which you must input the name of a “famous person, like an artist” given a limited set of letters in order to unlock a door. Now, right next to this door is a statue by an artist whose name we can learn by examining it. And this artist’s last name is in all caps, and the letters necessary to spell that name are available in the hacking puzzle. So, I thought, no-brainer; they want me to use the name that I found on that statue as password key. But no, entering that name does nothing. I tried different combinations but eventually had to resort to a faq. What do you know, the password is “mozart.” What the hell, game designers? I hope that the rest of the game isn’t like this. SPOILERS END HERE.

So far Obscure 2 seems pretty mediocre. Maybe the addition of another player would help, I’m not sure (sadly there is no online option–this game is a perfect fit for two player online co-op, but on the other hand, finding another person who has this game might be a challenge). I’ll post a full review when I’ve completed the game.

13 thoughts on “Obscure 2 First Hour Impressions

  1. http://petezah.com
    Chris, think “Mastermind” when you do the hacking puzzles, and it’ll go a lot better, without resorting to the faqs. It works best to input random characters into every slot at first. The puzzle tells you which characters are correct, locking them in place. Eventually enough letters are in place that you can just guess when the answer is.

  2. Yeah, I got it now. Actually, I kind of like the puzzle interface now that I understand it. The first time, though, was an exercise in frustration. The first time I’ve had to resort to a faq in the first 20 minutes of a game in a long time!

  3. xarx.livejournal.com
    I actually just finished up Obscure 2 with a friend of mine who had actually played through the first with me as well. It really is a mediocre game, but the two player aspect is what really makes this game worthwhile for me. You’re absolutely right about the dialog, but we did like a lot of the “flavor text” lying around on the bulletin boards on campus. I feel the first game in many respects was a bit better than this one, but we still had a lot of fun with Obscure 2.

  4. Yeah, everything about Obscure 2 is supposed to be cheesy and cliched; especially the characters who aren’t that far removed from the original cast.

    I love the series for what it is…Emulating b-movie horror and never taking things seriously; an idea that actually runs through the game mechanics (everything about it is from something else in the genre).

    So imagine my suprise when one of the writers of Obscure 2 actually slammed critics on the PS2 Obscure 2 page on GameFAQs for saying the writing was poor. They actualy, to this day, think that on character’s suicide was actually well written. No offence, but to this day, I still find it the most tasteless attempt/justification at making a character unplayable for a final game boss. Mate, Obscure is not a work of art. You know it, I know it and everybody who reviewed it knows it.

    Other than that, if you don’t think too much about Obscure 2 and buy it at a reasonable price, then you could do a lot worse. YES, YES YOU CAN. DON’T LIE.

  5. I haven’t played Obscure 2 and I’m not really chomping at the bit to do so, but if it’s anything like the first? It may not be so much a case of horrible writing (other than the example provided above by Townshend–wtf is that!?) as horrible localization. It was like the French-to-English translators couldn’t agree on whether to use British English or American English.

    And then there was Stan and his “no, really, we are all typical American teenagers in a typical American high school, listen to my copious use of typical American teenager slang!” And the less said about that, the better. -_-;

  6. One of my friends rented Obscure 2 for the Wii since we are such rabid horror game fans and we played the first hour or two and absolutely hated it. We kind of liked the cheesy b-movie feel of the game and the hacking puzzles, but the camera setup has got to be the worst camera in game history. It’s even worse with 2 players because one person controls the camera and the other can easily walk off-screen. And the person who controls the camera changes depending on who opened the door last. After getting killed 5 times in a row by because one person held the camera and the other one shot we gave up and returned it. I wonder if the PS2 version is any better.

  7. http://goddessofanguish.spaces.live.com/
    Hiya Chris

    Long term lover of your site, first time commenting blah blah blah

    I’ve played the PS2 version of the game and I have to say some of your points on the Wii’s gameplay is actually OPPOSITE for the PS2 version.

    It reminds me a situation regarding Tomb Raider: Anniversary.
    My friend had the PS2 version of TB:A where the camera was controllable (duel stick) and killing enemies was a matter of one button to aim and another to fire. When I played the wii version though I had to aim at the enemy with the wii cursor, hold one button to line Lara’s weapon with it and press another to shoot. The camera was also controlled using the wii cursor, overall, it was a pain in the arse! Especially when Lara was knocked over/moved/breathed/etc so the camera went bonkers and I had to re-set the camera in order to take aim. Plus with the enemy moving constantly it was hard to kill them.

    Same with Obscure 2, on the PS2 version the right stick controls the camera (well for about a second, then as soon as you move it re-sets to what it was previously), L1 was to aim, R1 to fire.

    I supposed the wii cursor makes the combat seem more realistic but it also takes longer to get used to and quicker to build frustration.

    And yes I completely agree with that hacking puzzle, that confused me at first but later hacking puzzles don’t have any statue or objects that can lead to a false answer near them so future puzzles shouldn’t require to look up a walkthrough.

    Overall I actually enjoyed this title; I loved the puzzles mostly, but I had fun while it lasted.

    I’m babbling now, see ya!

  8. Obscure 2 just didn’t do it for me. It’s not that it was awful or anything, it just seemed like a pretty average survivor horror game aside from the 2-player option (which I was unable to take advantage of). When it got to the point when I realized I would rather replay one of my better existing horror games like Siren or Silent Hill 2 than keep playing Obscure 2, I ended up trading it away.

  9. i beat this game for th’ pc ages ago when it first came out in europe with my buddy and we both loved it it is an excellent sequal to th’ first game and i aggree some of th’ diolage is pretty chessy but it is still a great game just make it thru it with a freind and you’ll love it too if you liked th’ first one that is. heres hoping for an obscure 3.

  10. My niece and I started playing the PS2 version this week, and I really think it needs the second player. I can definitely see how playing by yourself could get boring, but the slightly tough angles and camera shifts actually added a bit to our enjoyment. We only had a few problems and it created more suspense and a sense of urgency for us. Is it the best ever? No. Does cooperate mode add a different level and twist? I think so.

  11. Obscure 2 is a very ok game.
    If you liked the first one this one is passable.
    The in-game graphics are better and they have seem to given certain aspects a more cinematic flare.

    Sound and music is ok, nothing to write home about.

    The control on the PS2 version works. While it has it’s moments it usually works in the end. It is slightly revised from the Xbox version of Obscure.

    The biggest problem is your AI partner. You can’t ditch them and they are not the brightest bulb out there. Expect your partner to switch to uber powerful weapons at semi-random times to kill weak enemies. Also be careful about swinging your weapon, like the first one you can damage your partner.

    Honestly the game is worth only $19.99, not a penny more. Unless your are absolutely dying for a Wii game go get the PS2 version and save some money.

  12. http://racooncitytimes.blogspot.com/search/label/Obscure%202
    I already gave my view on this in september when it came out over here on the ps2 and loved it, the gameplay was mediocre, but i loved the varied settings as the game goes on.


    it might be a different experience on the wii, i know i just cant play the resi 4 wii edition but if you play it through it does feel like a summer teen horror flick, wich i felt was a nice change of pace and i cant wait for the 3rd one.

    more so than resi 5 in fact.

    -oh and the biggest selling factor for obscure 2 as you progress is the fantastic soundtrack, ive linked my review as it has details on how to get the soundtrack from its composer for free, its second only to akira yamoaka in terms of survival horror music in my opinion.

  13. I thought the hacking puzzle was relatively easy myself. I pretty much was able to guess every one of them based on the clues and the number of letters. It really wasn’t all that difficult.

    As for the game itself, I agree that it is alright but could have used some more tweaks and polishing. Not as captivating as I would have liked.

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