Those Who Remain tells the story of Edward; who was fortunate enough to live a great life: beautiful wife, perfect daughter. However, he made a costly mistake by having an affair that brought him to Dormont to make things right and end said affair in hopes he can go back to his once-perfect life. Unfortunately, Dormont is having its shares of problems as its a town that is warped by darkness that will test our protagonist’s sanity and morality.
Those Who Remain is a first-person psychological survival game where Edward walks around collecting clues to solve puzzles that will allow the player to progress forward. Our protagonist cannot defend himself so he has to keep running and staying into the light in order to avoid certain death. The game is quite reminiscent of 2009’s Silent Hill Shattered Memories where Harry could only escape from potential threats.
Edward can explore certain areas in order to find clues and examine items; it does look weird seeing an item float as you examine it through Edward’s eyes. Most of the items are a bit useless to view unless you have a compulsory habit of checking every item you find, you can go past them. Additionally, Edward walks weird. While it can be tricky nailing down the aspect of walking in first-person games, the protagonist feels like he stutter walks. Furthermore, running is a bit laughable. I believe it would’ve made it a bit more “believable” if he could run more realistically while implementing a stamina bar. Moving around is also painfully slow making when going upstairs and trying to avoid shadowy hunters.
This game also provides a very tense atmosphere as wandering to the borders of the light, you’ll notice constantly looking at you; waiting for a single step into the darkness. It’s eerie and creepy; an effective way to tense up the game. But also deadly, take a wrong step towards the darkness and you’re dead. When walking inside a house for example, you can see the eyes looking at you in a dark room, but you’re kind of uneasy about stepping into the doorway to flick the light switch.
A little problem with this game is that it doesn’t provide much guidance. You’ll sometime spend some time going around in circles trying to figure out what do next or how to solve certain puzzles. Additionally, if you move around the cursor too quickly, you can skip over hidden spots which can contain a clue. For example, earlier on, there’s a drawer with a key item but it’s nudged between a few items and can easily be missed.
The checkpoint system is archaic and frustrating. Considering a small bad step can prove fatal, there’s no excuse for such an unforgiving checkpoint; after spending 20 minutes trying to figure out a puzzle only to die is irritating. Sometimes this can in resulting in making progress at a very slow pace; solving the first part of the puzzle, going in a bit too close to the dark, dying, progressing further in the puzzle, dying later and restarting everything.
Overall, Those Who Remain’s presentation is fine. Visually, the game does the job well. It mostly shines when bordering darker areas with eyes peppered everywhere; it’s creepy and very well done. The environments are well designed and do their part to increase the tension throughout the game. The soundtrack is appropriately creepy; giving a bit of Silent Hill vibes; even some soundbites sound like things heard in early Silent Hill games. Voiceovers are fine; nothing outstanding nor laughable as it does its purpose.
Those Who Remain is an interesting horror definitely worth a playthrough. The uneasiness created by the constant onlookers is definitely a great mechanic and is a bit refreshing as opposed to the traditional being chased down by monstrosities. While nothing is perfect within Dormont such as annoying puzzles, an archaic checkpoint system can feel a bit detrimental, the trip is worth it.
- Tense atmosphere
- Some uniquely designed puzzles
- Confusing puzzles
- Archaic checkpoint system
- Edward’s movement are slow as hell