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Obscure (Xbox) artwork

Obscure (Xbox) review


"I bought Obscure based purely on name alone. "



I bought Obscure based purely on name alone.

Didn't really know much about it, so I thought it would make for an interesting gaming experience going in. Well, when I finally got it and flipped to the back of the case, I was starting to think it would have been a good idea to read up on the title beforehand. Seeing the game proclaim itself as "the first action game created in the style of teen horror movies" didn't exactly sit well with me. But I pressed on, and was starting to feel a little better when the eerily-silent credits popped up. Then a music video-esque sequence with a punk rockish song quickly followed, introducing some of the characters playing basketball at school...

After some failed angst brought on between a brother and sister, the brother, Kenny, decides to shoot some more hoops way after the school closes and everyone's gone. At this point, I finally got to take control of the game, where I moved Kenny around in Resident Evil 1-like settings. Yup, you'll have to deal with awkward camera angles that mess up your movement whenever you unknowingly walk into a new frame. And this title came out the same year Resident Evil 4 was released, mind you. So, after stumbling around in the dark for almost 10 minutes, I finally made my way down to an underground tunnel, equipped with a gun/flashlight combo that was lying around. At a high school. Annoyingly, I continued to stumble around in the dark (even with the aid of the flashlight), until I came upon a room with a sick student that looked more like a goblin. At that point, we tried to escape by backtracking out of the tunnel, but then a tall, freakish monster came out of nowhere and charged us. With both of us having guns now, we fired at this brute. We took it down after a couple shots, but another one just came out. We didn't have enough bullets for the second foe, and eventually, it backed us into a corner. The useless kid went down first, of course, then, finally, it was my turn...

Unfortunately, that was the most intense Obscure gets early on.

For the next 30 minutes, you're forced to wander around the administration building for a screwdriver and keys with characters that are now searching for Kenny. And since they don't even have a flashlight at this point, it's pretty irritating walking around in dark areas for small items and even doors. Moving around in drab environments don't help, either, as you go from one brownish class, to a brownish hallway, and into yet another brownish classroom. Even when you finally make it into the next section of the school where the action picks up, things aren't rosy. It's bad enough that it's dark already, but whenever monsters pop up (mostly what's best described as walking, mutated piranhas), the screen is covered by this weird, dark aura. It makes combat harder than it should be, and your characters are normally left in a half-dead state when the fights are over.

To add insult to injury, the "puzzles" are so simple and dumb to the point that you actually might be lost on some of them. There was this one puzzle I came across that involved a locked door. Upon trying to unlock it, a caption appeared on screen that said "There's a completely rusty chain blocking this door. How can I speed up the process?". Of course, using logic, I thought it would be a good idea to try and break it using my metal bar. It didn't work. So, I used the next best thing: the gun. Surely, this would do it. Nope. Completely lost, I wandered around that section of the school for a couple minutes trying to find anything I could think of to open that door. Eventually, I gave up, and brought Shannon, the hint dropper, to the locked door. She told me to use acid, which never crossed my mind, since you can't even pick up the bottle of acid. Confused, I went to the room with acid and tried different ways to obtain it. The thing that did the trick was a plastic cup... Figures, I can't pick up the bottle of acid, but the deteriorating plastic cup of acid that I have to use quickly is okay.

Shortly after that absurd incident, the game suddenly came to a standstill for me. I was stuck on a really easy puzzle, where you have to point two compass needles in specific longitude and latitude coordinates. However, when I pointed them to their areas, nothing happened. I tried for hours trying to "solve" this puzzle, switching to different characters, reloading to the last save point, and even reading FAQs. Hell, I even replayed the game from the beginning to see if that would work. Nothing. After that, I just came to the conclusion that my copy was glitched. Which was probably a good thing, because I was pretty much irritated and bored with Obscure at that point, that playing any further would have been annoying.

Honestly, the only actual enjoyment I got out of this game was being able to hit your characters with bats and metal bars. Too bad you couldn't kill them.

Rating: 3/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (December 21, 2007)

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