Review: Those Who Remain (PS4)


Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC/Mac

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Those Who Remain
Format: PSN (8.76 GB)
Release Date: May 28, 2020
Publisher: Wired Productions
Developer: Camel 101
Original MSRP: $19.99 (USD)
ESRB Rating: M
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Those Who Remain is a first person psychological horror game. While this is not a complex puzzle game, it is more than a “walking simulator”. Often, keys and other items must be found to continue forward.

Set in the quiet town of Dormont, the protagonist’s car is stolen from a hotel outside of town and forced to walk back. Unfortunately, the night only gets worse.

The threat is a mysterious enemy. The player is safe as long as they are standing in the light. A few steps into the night and all is over.

For all the creepy blue eyes that pierce the darkness, and the shadowy figures standing at the edge of light, Those Who Remain is not a scary game; more of a generally mysterious and creepy atmosphere. There are a few attempts at jump scares, but even the best ones don’t fully land.

The puzzles aren’t complex, but they’re not intuitive either. Many of the puzzles remind me of pixel hunts from old school adventure games. I spent far too long searching for an item that I knew I needed. Even in a small house, there are dozens of items that can be interacted with plus all the drawers that can potentially be hiding the item. I never completed an area and felt clever, just frustrated that I wasted as much time as I did to get to the next area.

Ninety-nine percent of the items that you can interact with serve no purpose other than to annoy and distract the player. It is frustrating that when I am searching a house for a particular item, the interact icon keeps popping up. I am not looking for a mug or book yet but the house is littered with them. All the player can do with them anyways is drop them or toss them aside. Interacting with dozens of objects is not good puzzle design.

The few times I wandered too far from the light and died only exacerbated the poor puzzle design. Knowing what to do, you can make a beeline through an area in a few minutes when it previously took me over twenty minutes. It also highlighted how much of the puzzles were designed to waste players’ time. I found item “X” in area “A”, ran to room “B” to search for item “Y”, so I could head back to area “A” to proceed.

This is not even consistent throughout the game. In some areas, only a handful of items can be interacted with and they are all highlighted in green and easy to find. Other areas are a mix, where dozens of items can be interacted with and some key items are still green. There is no rhyme or reason why characteristics of an area’s objects are different.

When there are highlighted green items they are usually lore items, but no story ever materializes.

Visuals:
I tried several times to get good pictures of the glowing blue eyes peering out from the shadows. The darkness often swallowed their bodies, and their piercing eyes were the only things that could be seen but slightly dim. Red eyes would have stood out more and really have been creepier as well; a standard horror trope they choose to ignore.

The graphics are serviceable. Most of the environments were kind of boring and lacking any graphical details or design that stand out. The only time an environment would grab my eye is when I entered another dimension of the same area. The oddities of the new, yet familiar, environmental design were hard to miss. Other times it was the same house but with all the objects floating in the air.

Audio:
Those Who Remain is a psychological horror game, but the voice over is largely monotone. The game opens to a drunk man, a gun in hand, and contemplating ending his life over his affair. Quite the opening grab, yet not a word is slurred and no real hint of the emotions he is drowning in.

Unfortunately the voice acting never improves. It sounds like someone recorded a table read or forgot to replace the placeholder voice over with the real actor.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single-player only, with no online component.

Conclusion:
Despite the lackluster voice acting, Those Who Remain starts off on a strong foot. The tedious hunting for the needle in the haystack and backtracking quickly erode any excitement to continue.

Those Who Remain doesn’t attempt anything new or unique and doesn’t excel at what it does try. A good story might have been its saving grace, but sadly it doesn’t hold up. In the end, it is hard to recommend Those Who Remain to anyone.

Score:
5.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Matt Engelbart

Matt Engelbart

I love all things video games. When I am not gaming I am watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, BBQing, and reading.

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