Old habits are hard to die. Like black coffee, video game is one of the things that get me out of bed. Here I am talking about it when I said I will keep the hobby to myself. One nice thing though is that I did not rush to write a thoughtful review after I finished the game. Instead, I took my time to write here and there when I can without feeling the pressure to meet deadlines. This blog is supposed to be fun, and fun it should be.
Someone once told me a decade ago, if I want to play games for the story then I should sign up for Steam. And so, I did. However, I can’t say I played enough indie titles to abandon AAA Games entirely. While I enjoyed games such as Cat Lady, I wish I could say the same about Goetia. The story wasn’t all that interesting enough to keep me on my toes. If you were to ask me to summarize it, it would require some painful backtracking because putting the story together feels like a chore. I didn’t think it was necessary to throw in some excerpts from books to help flesh out the story. Most of the time I asked myself what am I reading? How does this item tie in with the story? On top of this minor annoyance, the font style in some letters made it hard to read.
This brings me to gameplay: The puzzles were difficult but not in a good way. For instance, if the character is not good with music theory why include a music puzzle? There’s a difference between being challenging and being sadistic. It rubbed me the wrong way. All in all, I had to follow a guide for this game. And I learned that I am not the only one who felt this way! Talk about incohesive gaming experience. Not good. On the positive side, the game excels at atmosphere, although I can’t say I was scared playing as a ghost named Abigail! Should I be frightened of myself?
It’s a shame I wasn’t demonic. Instead, I was a nice ghost, which made me realize even if you were a demon or a ghost, you will always be in the right! That means smashing the dishes, slamming doors, and screaming are all justified (I hope I am not the only one who thought this was funny). On a serious note, the sound production in this game is soothing. I can see how this helps those who suffer from anxiety. This game is great with a cup of tea. You can check out my short playthrough to know what I mean.
Overall, it was a relaxing game. The greatest part about this game is learning a new vocabulary. I guess I am not demonic or gothic enough because I didn’t know what Goetia is before I played the game. Well, now I do! I noticed there is part II, but I didn’t like the game enough to want a sequel so I am going to pass. An explorative horror game with a lot of free agencies to roam is just not my cup of tea, but I sure love the ambient, horror theme!
It’s good karma to give back to the universe by writing reviews and why not write one for Lorelai, a game released back in 2019, developed by Harvester Games, published by Screen 7. So let me spread the news about this game!
This game may not be flashy and sophisticated like those Triple AAA titles, but it sure has a lot of soul and depth than a lot of these pretty-face remake games (I am referring to Final Fantasy VII. Better not throw eggs at me now). I suppose saving time and energy by making remasters and remakes than coming up with something original is the wiser route to avoid commercial failure. Well, I am not entirely against the business practice. Look at the Shenmue series for instance. It’s one of my favorite games and in terms of grandness, this game blew my mind away. However, sadly, it was a commercial failure. Creating new things is quite risky even if it sounds like a good idea. But let’s get this straight, I am not comparing Lorelai to Shenmue. No way! My point is that I am quite sad that passionate video game creators often don’t get enough recognition even if they put all their heart and soul into making a video game. Clearly, the creator of Lorelai has the ability to make things interesting, but without advertisement–sometimes good things will never be known because if there is one thing this game has that other popular gaming titles don’t have is taking risks. Aren’t gamers a bit of a gambler themselves? It’s no fun to play it safe all the time (wow, I sound so dangerous).
Minor spoilers alert!
So, I will tell you why I like Lorelai and why you should play it too! One, Lorelai, the protagonist, is not a princess because we all know that princesses rarely do the saving in video games. She’s a fighter, which makes perfect sense since she is “a powerful unstoppable being”. Hey! Anything that endorses female empowerment is cool in my book because I like feeling strong.
Secondly, this game is funny! It tackles real life, mundane situations without sugarcoating the brutal truth about how “life is so fu*king hard” without being overly dark even though it’s a horror story. I must admit that the gore is it bit too much for my liking. I rather stare at pretty flowers, but I kept playing this game anyway because of the metaphors and the symbolism. Some of the scenes in this game kept me intrigued and curious because we all know that we don’t always need words to tell a story. For instance, I like how Lorelai’s father is referred to as a scummy pig. In one part, Lorelai has to put a pig’s head on her stepfather’s headless body and then electrocute him with a blow-dryer in the bathroom. I found that scene quite satisfying and a bit disturbing. I can only imagine how often her perverted stepfather walked in on her multiple times while she was taking a bath for Lorelai to wish him a painful death. It’s this type of visual cues that keep the game interesting. I wanted to see her get away from that pig as far as she can with her baby sister even if it was in a dream. The entire game felt like I was going through a surrealist painting.
In the game, Lorelai dies but comes back alive to kill the Queen of Maggots. Along the way she meets interesting people. My favorite chapter has to be Chapter 2 where Lorelai goes to work as a caregiver at a nursing home. It’s a sad but funny scene. My least favorite chapter is when Lorelai tries to break the chef’s spirit at the request of the Queen of Maggots. But there’s an option to save the character as well. I only did it to get the trophy. Why not? It’s achievable and plus I like to extract everything I can from a game.
Overall, I enjoyed this game. It’s like diving into a friend’s mind and having a personal conversation with someone who knows what it is like to struggle in life. Someone honest and not overly optimistic about living in the clouds (I have nothing against girls in mech suits like in Sakura Wars, it’s just a matter of taste). Someone who can pick herself up and laugh at reality and all of its ugliness because the world is filled with routines and uncertainties. Lorelai is that game. It’s horrifically funny while at the same time adventurous, uncomfortably depressing, but nonetheless charming. There’s plenty of humor mixed with horror and a bit of romance in this game. Just my cup of tea, and hope it would be yours as well.
So, these past few days I have been playing some indie games, trying to give the smaller titles a chance to be recognized. Plus, I sort of got addicted to browsing games on Steam and added a few games to my Wish List. I will tell you what I find at a later time. For this post, I want to write a critical review on Remothered: Tormented Fathers, developed by Stormind Games, and published by Darril Arts, released in 2018. I enjoyed the game very much.
I bought this game a couple of years ago. It was one of the first games I bought on Steam but never got around to playing it. At the time, I recently had purchased a new laptop specifically for gaming and writing. Unfortunately, my laptop is not strong enough to run the game. The game crashes two times but I managed to beat it by quitting the game frequently for it to cool down. Oh, the experience was painful and it would have been better if I were to play it on PS4. I could have purchased a copy for the PS4 as I did with Tokyo Dark (you can find my review here). Instead, I stick with the PC version, risking my laptop blowing up in my face. I am just being dramatic. Actually, I have a high tolerance for minor nuisances. Rarely do I get mad if I have a bad user experience, but I can see how this can be a glaring problem for some people.
But let me tell you. This game is pretty intense. It’s that scary because you are being chased by a barely-naked old man who is wearing nothing but a butcher apron. The most difficult part of the game is trying to explore without being seen. Play with headphones is recommended. The sound effects are on par and intense with the sound from the Silent Hill 2 game. Don’t think about lowering the volume because you would need to listen to the psychopath’s footsteps and his humming of Old MacDonald a farm song, which ties into the story. It’s like a game of stealth and hides and seeks, which I enjoy. The little girl in me never dies. I like to hide and seek games in horror style. I even found myself starting to sing along with the psychopath:
If you enjoyed the Clock Tower series for the PlayStation, you will appreciate this game. The difference is you play as a strong, professional woman in her 30s by the name of Rosemary Reed, which I find the game to be refreshingly intelligent and classy for its kind. The balance between gameplay and story is sophisticated. It feels like a cinematic game but it’s not. A few cinematic cutscenes between the story and gameplay give me enough room to breathe without feeling overwhelmed. Although the story is full of suspense enough, it failed to captivate me. The plot is not very clear. I still have questions about who did what and what. Perhaps a second play-through would dispel my confusion. At times, the dialogues between characters tried to be too deep that they felt a bit staged rather than immersive. This resulted in a disconnection between me and the story. But honestly, I could care less what is happening because I grade survival horror games based on gameplay not story. If I want that experience, then I’ll just watch a horror flick as a passive observer. Still Remothered: Tormented Fathers is still a good game. The strongest point of the game is odd, its presentation. I felt like I was playing inside a film. Artistically, that’s a good thing.
I could drown myself inside the mansion for hours because the sound of high heels is quite soothing against the creaking floor. The lighting in this game is beautiful. There were certain shots in the game I really admire. Just look at how beautiful Dr. Reed is skipping into a nightmare in the picture below.
She is so dedicated to her job that she is willing to risk her life. She’s so brave and a tad bit crazy. But who am I to judge? I suppose I am just as crazy as she is to find her admirable. After all, I am playing a survival horror game here. Throughout the game, it was so difficult not to laugh nervously when the psychopath from the mansion kept mumbling in the background something along the line: of “This place is not open to the public!” and “Are you working overtime?” Strangely, these little minor details make me appreciate the aesthetic of the game as an art piece in itself. For one, a professional eloquent woman like Dr. Reed is quite attractive. Female protagonists don’t always have to be young Barbie dolls like in Haunting Ground, a PS2 game developed by Capcom, to mesmerize the audiences. However, there were a few minor issues that were a bit of an eye sore—the protagonist’s facial animation which looked more theatrical than natural, and her internal dialogue: “This can’t be real”. I often wonder why she was so persistent to trespass a private property in the first place only to find her desperately trying to get out of the mansion. Perhaps, I just didn’t find the plot convincing enough, or else I wouldn’t have had this question in the back of my mind. The game has potential in the story department and the pacing of the game could have been extended. So, it wouldn’t feel like the player rushed into a nightmare—only to want out as soon as possible.
Gameplay-wise, the game is pretty straightforward. The horror takes place in the mansion and if you follow a guide, you can beat the game in 1 or 2 hours. Running time is similar to that of a film. But quite frankly, I am not against it. It took me over 10 hours to complete the entire game because of trial and errors and obtaining all trophies. My only big complaint about the game is that the gaming mechanics can be quite frustrating sometimes. Do expect to die frequently. I rarely use any of the diversion items in the game, which are supposed to distract the psychopath. Perhaps, it’s my fault that I couldn’t read the in-game description correctly, but I just had no time to read or learn how it works when I am busy trying to run and hide from my pursuer! The entire structure of the game revolves around hiding and seek and some QTEs (quick time events) which can be frustrating for those who don’t have high reflexes. Some gamers are dissuaded from continuing the game when they keep seeing the Game Over screen as opposed to someone who sees it as a challenge. Luckily, this game doesn’t acknowledge the player’s failure, it just reloads from the last autosaved saving point. Finally, while hide and seek is the main gameplay concept, I find it a bit annoying that the enemy seems to appear from one place to the next conveniently. Players would naturally assume, it takes a certain amount of time to walk from point A to point B. Apparently, the enemy doesn’t follow the same physics rules; I don’t believe it’s the game’s intention to make the enemy a supernatural being either. There were times when I would hide in the closet, waiting for the area to be clear of the enemy, but it always seemed like the enemy was nearby no matter what floor I was on in the mansion. When it comes to technical aspects, it needs some work, however, for the most part, the game’s concept is great!
I remember now why the game started with Dr. Reed smoking. Smoke while you can because you are going to be underwater for quite some time until you get another break!
Overall, the game is good. The concept is intelligent. As a survival horror game fan, I enjoyed it and wish I had a physical copy of the game to put beside my collection of horror games, which sadly, aren’t many. Finally, I will tell you why I enjoyed this game, after all, I am a bit of a wordsmith: Dr. Felton, the psychopath in this game is pretty sick. He’s a sickle. Get it? A sicko. And to his question, “Is it really worth it to put yourself into this story? No, but I am grateful it’s only a video game and it was fun! Now, I will go back to singing Old MacDonald had a farm song, and go to bed happy because I found myself a good survival horror game to play.
After feeling disappointed with Evil Within 2, I decided to look for a new horror game to forget that horrid game. I found Detention, watching a Youtube video clip, and so I gave it a shot. I am not going to lie: survival horror/horror is my favorite video game genre and there is a good reason why. But let’s not talk about that–leave it for another time. Let’s talk about the game.
This game is indeed creepy without the flashy stuff we see in AAA games. You play a female protagonist, a teenage girl who is undergoing personal hardship. Like the protagonist, I can recall experiencing that familiar overwhelming sadness when I was a teenager. I think it was so bad that the counselor and the school nurse had to check my wrists to see if I cut myself. Looking back, I think it was a typical thing for a teenage girl to go through (damn you hormones!). So yeah, it’s kind of nice to play a character that I can relate to and a realistically feminine one. A lot of games I’ve enjoyed in the past were largely male-based. I have my reasons–that too, I will tell you, readers, at a later time.
I won’t say much more about this game because I encourage you to check it out for yourself. Oh, and one last thing I do want to point out about the game: the storytelling is ambiguous but not overly complex. The game has enough suspense and plenty of symbolic meanings, which I like very much. There are 4 chapters and it didn’t take long to beat (around 2-5 hours). I think there are multiple endings, so replay value is good.