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.