Cursed Mountain Impressions

I put a couple of hours into Cursed Mountain this weekend. So far I’m enjoying it a lot more than I expected to.

The thing about Cursed Mountain is that it is an old-school horror game that is trying its best to learn from new-school games. The camera system, in-game UI, ranged combat system, and several other core elements clearly mark the game as post-Resident Evil 4, but the pacing, storytelling, and level design are based in the norms of a generation prior. If you are the type of horror gamer that thought that Resident Evil 5‘s focus on intense zombie-capping action was the worst idea ever, and you can’t wait to get back to searching rooms for hidden items and reading lots of diary entries, Cursed Mountain may be something you want to check out. The pace is very slow, the majority of the game play is walking around and examining things, and there’s lots of story to keep track of (protip: turn on subtitles to avoid missing key info in crazy flashing cutscenes).

Personally, I am a fan of this kind of game play. I really enjoyed Resident Evil 5 as well, but Cursed Mountain’s let’s-explore-the-narrative-as-physical-space design fits like a glove. The game has some issues; the camera is jittery and makes the frame rate look like it is stuttering when it really isn’t, the collision detection seems to snap on square-shaped objects, and the cutscene system makes the story is a little difficult to follow. But I like the control scheme, I like the combat system, and Cursed Mountain’s content is nice and fresh: I’ve never played a game about ghosts in remote Himalayan villages before. It’s not totally grabbed me like some other surprisingly good games have, but after my 2 hours of play it feels pretty solid.

One bit of advice: the game makes it harder than necessary to follow the story. The cutscene style is interesting but hard to follow–there’s a lot of benefit to turning on subtitles. Also, when you collect documents, you can’t read them directly from the item collection screen; you need to back out, go to the inventory, and read the document there. It took me a while to realize this. Since this kind of game makes up for slow pacing by giving you narrative content to chew on, I recommend focusing on the story and not letting the cutscenes or documents slip by when you play.

So far my impressions of Cursed Mountain are pretty positive. It’s trying to stay fresh in the game play and narrative department while simultaneously giving props to its survival horror roots. I’m hoping that it can pull off that balance for the rest of the game.

8 thoughts on “Cursed Mountain Impressions

    I picked the game up this weekend and only put in a good 50 minutes, so far I’m not impressed but still interested. It is rather slow, which for me would work if there was a build up to scares or something. The game’s rather lousy in that department so far as so far there have only been cheap jump scares. I really dig the setting and the atmosphere but there was barely anything keeping me awake. The fighting to me plainly is boring. Its easy and just kind of annoyingly simple, especially when they give you the shooty thingy. The story came off as hard to follow for me as well, and I think I will try it with the subtitles. Still, the story didn’t really interest me all that much and I dislike the way the cutscenes are conveyed. The game’s graphics pretty bad in my opinion, but the lighting in the game is great. So it looks bad while looking good. I’m not too far into the game yet, so I’m hoping the story will pick up becuase searching for three symbols in a town and destroying, one by one, in between lame battles and even lamer scares is rather dull.

  2. The game is not bad, but it’s really not very good either.

    How much you enjoy the later parts comes down to how well you can master the “compassion” gestures”. Some of them don’t register correctly and break down in the middle. When you to do 5-7 in a row to make kill certain ghosts this begins to suck a lot.

    Also keep an eye on your health. Due to the auto-save system it’s quite possible to get stuck in a right before a battle that is impossible to win and have to start the entire game over.

  3. I’m going to be picking this up soon, I watched a few ‘Lets Play’ videos on Youtube and while the game isn’t ground breaking it does seem to cover a lot of the elements I enjoy in horror games.

    I’m a bit annoyed at the save system, autosave only was just a poor decision.

    As for the gestures: My understanding is that many people are actually doing the wrong gesture and that the instructions for one or two in particular are misleading.

  4. quite enjoyable, I’m about 3-4 hours in I’d say. the ghotsts were etdius at the beginning because they were all the same and really wasy, but that DOES change. they definitely get harder.

    there’s one particular wii-mote gesture that is just difficult to figure out, the thrusting forward one. the avatar (whatever) they display for it doesn’t look like it should, check the manual.

    gestures aren’t hard to do 3 or 4 times, I haven’t had to do more than 4 in a row so far. maybe you’re putting too much effort into them – it really is a *gesture*, not a flailing attack. it should tire you out.

    the game is creepy for a good 10 minutes, but that wears off and I haven’t been scared yet. I think this is a game made for people who are particularly scared of heights and ghosts. still fun regardless.

  5. and as for the save system, I quite like it. saving at any time adds a player advantage that isn’t ever really intended, and the seamless saving system it employs is great. it means I have to go to a menu less often, meaning I leave the gameplay less often.

  6. I think for me a better save system would’ve been save points, perhaps with some kind of ‘ink ribbon’ item.
    This would also make item collection/management more significant as the only item the player can apparently pick up are incense sticks.

  7. Many of the problems with the game don’t kick in until beyond the 50% point. Certain battles later in the game start out eitj your character losing life. If don’t act quick enough you will die without a ghost touching you.

    Couple this with no way to heal yourself unless you do 5+ gestures correctly, you die. Add to this an autosave system at odd points and well the game kinda collapes.

    Started out intriguing and a unique location and story, but the controls are awful and not enough checkpoints, I’m stuck at a part where there is a flying ghost thing attacking me while seemingly summoning other ghosts while I have to perform maneuvers with the remote on some statues, suffice to say after the fourth attempt at this the game is back in the box.

    Seriously did they play test this thing? It isn’t fun trying and failing miserably at the awkward gestures, a missed opportunity.

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