Remothered: Tormented Fathers is an interesting venture back into the horror genre. Developed by Darril Arts and Stormind Games, two indie developers with a clear love for games, Remothered tries to live up to traditional horror titles of yesteryear. With the success of games like Amnesia and Outlast, many recent entries into the genre have been much of the same in concepts and feel. Remothered attempts to break that trend by offering a concise, story-driven and exploration-heavy third-person experience that aims to pull horror fans back to a more barebones and pure experience of the genre. Remothered: Tormented Fathers offers a bold promise whilst still existing within the realm of Early Access, so does this title live up to the hype, or does it die in vain?
You can purchase Remothered: Tormented Fathers for $12.99/£9.99, or $15 after January 30th, on Steam
Firstly, lets look at the state of this game. Remothered: Tormented Fathers released in Early Access, with about 2/3rds of the game being playable for a reduced price. Players who purchase the game in Early Access subsequently get full access to the game upon its full release, which is due to take place on the 30th of January 2018, the day after writing. The price increase for the game's full release isn't too bad either, raising from $12.99 to $14.99. The game is currently only available for PC, though the full release for Xbox One and PS4 has not yet been announced, but is definitely coming.
Early Access is a difficult thing to get right, yet I think Darril Arts and Stormind Games have handled the Early Access process for Remothered: Tormented Fathers in a sensible way. We all know how badly handled Early Access titles can ruin a game's reputation, but Remothered doesn't suffer from anything close to that.
Graphics & Audio
Launching any game for the first time is a crucial experience. The game needs to offer something to pull you in, and an interesting start is crucial to signal the beginning of a good gaming experience. My first experience of Remothered was marred by a fairly annoying visual glitch. Upon launch, my screen began to rapidly flash a horrid green colour, and this glitch was only remedied by changing the resolution and then restoring it back to the original size. This glitch can easily put people off, as it almost did me. This also occurs every time you tab out of the game, which if you're anything like me, is often. A quick google search confirms that I'm not the only one suffering from this issue, and I can only assume the devs are striving to fix it. Gameplay would be impossible with this glitch marring the visuals, so fixing it should be essential for the dev team, players shouldn't have to fiddle with settings whenever they enter/re-enter the game just to be able to play properly.
Whilst we're on some of the negatives, we'll talk about the visual quality. The game auto-launched on Ultra for me, which showed me some truly impressive visuals, and whilst certain textures might not be the absolute best, it has absolutely never been an issue, the game looks great on Ultra. Anything below Ultra though, and the visual quality plummets. Low and Medium are absolutely atrocious, with low seeming to disable most shadows and making the game look like mush with the exception of the main character, and Medium having an awful shadow flicker that again, makes gameplay a pain. High isn't terribly good either, retaining the muddy textures but re-introducing heavier shadows and improving some player textures. I'm a firm believer of games looking attractive on all settings, and that simply isn't the case for Remothered. Ultra is a beautiful experience, but the other qualities are simply marred by an awfully low-res experience.
If you're able to play on ultra, the visuals are great. Polished, gritty and dark, Remothered on ultra offers a truly deep and immersive visual experience that pulls you in and keeps you there.
Whilst the graphics are, for some, great, the audio is just as important. A game can look as convincing as it likes but if the audio is crap, it will ruin the experience. Fortunately, Remothered doesn't suffer from such an affliction. The audio is crisp and convincing, with the rickety house you'll spend much of the game tiptoeing around being the star of the show. The house creaks and settles around you, and when this is combined with the inane ramblings of the antagonist whilst his muffled footsteps cross the floorboards above you, the atmosphere in this game is undeniably powerful.
Speaking of the antagonist, his audio is perhaps one of the creepiest things in the game, and his audio actually works well when it comes to balancing the gameplay too. You often hear the antagonist ambling around the house, muttering to himself about intruders, spoiled food and the sorts. This is the perfect implementation of speech for an antagonist you're trying to avoid. If he's on the same floor as you and you're walking towards him, you can clearly hear his voice become closer and louder, and if you've learnt the layout of the house, you can predict roughly where he will be and thusly avoid him. However, when he's on a different floor, things change a lot. The game clearly conveys he's not on the same floor as you by muffling his voice and making his footsteps slightly more audible, but that is about where it ends. This muffled voice plays, for most part, into both speakers/headphones, meaning that locating him based on where he is proves difficult. A personal favourite for me is when approaching stairs, and you can hear the antagonist's muffled voice. Is he above or below you? Is he just down the hall, or is he right there on the stairs waiting for you? The fear of the unknown this creates is true atmospheric horror at its best. Stormind Games & Darril Arts clearly know what they're doing when it comes to creating a convincing atmosphere.
Gameplay in Remothered is surprisingly good. Whilst the game has definitely been inspired by older horror titles, it hasn't inhereted the clunky gameplay that plagued some of them. This game plays smooth all the way through.
Movement flows well, holding the perfect balance between feeling convincingly weighted whilst also remaining fluid and enjoyable to experience. When it comes to combat, there aren't many options, but the ones that are there are again, well polished. The QTE events to shake off the antagonist are about as good as QTE's can get. Rather than egregiously force a multitude of button prompts, QTE's hold the simple setup of two buttons, with one building a meter of sorts and the second button input executing the action. These QTE's are always fairly predictable, so you'll never be caught off-guard and die to a QTE out of nowhere. Another aspect of combat is throwing items and placing diversions. Throwing items to either distract or harm the antagonist is a simple process including the standard aim and throw buttons that feels, again, perfectly weighted yet fluid. Placing diverisons is a little bit harder, as it will require some forethought of where you want to hide should you get caught, but they're definitely satisfying to get right. It is undeniably rewarding to hear the antagonist attempt to charge through the door next to you, only for the door to remain closed due to the rope you tied around the handle.
Lets take a look at weapons. Weapons are the only thing that can save you from the antagonist's grab, allowing you to attack him and escape after the aforementioned QTE. Weapons are not as common to find as distraction items, and whilst they aren't rare or anything like that, the game is clearly trying to push you into avoidance rather than direct conflict. Weapons are one-use items unless you find one of the few limited upgrade stations placed around the house, and they can only be used if you're already at low health and thus susceptible to the antagonist's grab attack, thus another gameplay element that attempts to push you towards avoidance rather than direct conflict. The game clearly wants you to play a certain way, but still offers a way to escape and fend off the antagonist should you find yourself in an undesirable situation.
Finally lets take a look at healing and saving. The two are linked by static save points embodied by mirrors. These mirrors are linked to the story of the game, and offer unlimited saves and one-time heals. Upon healing to full health, the mirror will crack, allowing you to save but not heal again. I haven't noticied this mechanic causing any problems, as it seems you always start a new session on full health and with the mirror intact, basically allowing you one heal per play session as opposed to one lifetime heal, which in my opinion is a fairly good system. Mirrors seem to be placed in safe yet important locations, meaning you won't lock yourself into a sticky situation with the antagonist, yet also reminding you of your objectives when you start a new play session of the game.
Remothered: Tormented Fathers is all about story. In the age of multiplayer-focused games, story-driven single player experiences have managed to carve a niche in the market, especially when it comes to the horror genre, and Remothered fits into that category perfectly. At face value, the game offers a loose yet fitting story that fits and explains the reason the Protagonist is there. The wonderful part of the story however is how much can be learned from player interaction. There are many collectibles scattered around the map in important locations that further explain elements of the story, and hint at a darker underlying issue within the story.
Whilst none of these documents and collectibles are necessary to understand the story, allowing the player to further explore and understand the story simply by being patient and dilligent in their adventure is a fitting reward, as the story itself is quite strong. It mixes traditional horror elements with a type of body horror that, whilst unexplored by a lot of mainstream horror titles, no doubt has the ability to provide a genuine creep-factor if done right, and my god, Remothered does it right.
This game has clearly learnt from both old and new horror titles when it comes to the story, and the pacing itself is great. As you read through these documents that explain the story, you find yourself questioning what the game tells you, your own identity as the protagonist, and the game lets you theorize for yourself as you progress through the story. All story details you've found can be viewed again in the collectibles menu, allowing you to recap the story if you've become unfamiliar, or allowing you to juxtapose new information with old to formulate the backstory and history of what exactly is happening in the game.
Exploring Remothered: Tormented Fathers' story is a true delight, and a wonderful mix of traditional and indirect storytelling. If you're a fan of deep, story driven experiences, this really is the title for you.
Remothered: Tormented Fathers offers a truly wonderful experience, a story-driven horror experience crafted by developers who clearly have a strong grasp on both storytelling and the past influences on this game. Whilst the graphical quality below Ultra is fairly bad, and the start of the game is marred by a jarring visual glitch, Remothered offers a horror experience that will feel like a breath for fresh air.
Darril Arts & Stormind Games also definitely get some points from me. They've always been vocal about the game's Early Access progress and future price increase, and the pricing is fair for both Early Access and full release.
Overall, Remothered: Tormented Fathers is a wonderful single-player horror experience that any horror fan would enjoy, especially those who fondly remember the past glory of classic horror games. Remothered: Tormented Fathers gets a 8.5 from me.
|+ Deep and immersive atmosphere||– Terrible graphical quality below Ultra|
|+ Smooth Gameplay||– Start-up marred by visual glitches|
|+ Wonderful storytelling|
|+ Well-handled Early Access process|