Review: Othercide (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Othercide
Format: PSN (9.3 GB)
Release Date: July 27, 2020
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Developer: Lightbulb Crew
Original MSRP: $39.99 (US), £32.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 16

I have to be honest with you, I didn’t enjoy Othercide during the first half-hour. The gameplay system confused me, and my characters kept getting themselves killed. Okay, I kept making mistakes and getting them killed. In my defense and to be fair to the game, I have been running on fumes lately with working extra nights and doing the school runs.

Gameplay:
Othercide is a complex beast. The timeline and chaining abilities are the biggest hurdle to overcome when first playing the game. I had to restart and go through the tutorial again so it would all sink in.

Turn-based combat which is governed by a dynamic timeline, so movement, attacks, and everything else comes at a cost. The game begins at the highest possible difficulty, meaning it’s nigh impossible to complete on the first attempt. With each battle, I’m rewarded with Shards and XP for the characters called Daughters. Shards essentially make the game easier when I start the campaign again, the more I have the more things a can get.

As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t do so well in the beginning, and many of my characters died. I can resurrect them using tokens earned in rescue missions, or via the Remembrances tab, by unlocking certain bonuses during battle. The only way to heal a daughter is by sacrificing another with the same or higher experience. This seems harsh to me and lessens my enjoyment of the game. It does force me to be careful in every move and attack.

I like building up my characters, gaining new abilities, and kicking the enemies’ arses, I dislike my characters being hurt and eventually dying. I learned to avoid battling the first boss for as long as possible as one hit from that ugly creature killed my favorite character, whom I had named Susan.

The Cemetery carries over between campaigns, meaning all is not lost and Susan could return. Any traits she had remain but the Memories she had were lost. Memories are obtained during battles and can be used to upgrade a character’s skills. This could be anything from increasing damage to lessening the impact on the timeline.

I can choose one of two new skills each time a character levels up. Some of these are difficult to decide upon as they both have their merits. I favor the ones that don’t have an impact on the character’s health, as these, while generally very powerful, come at a cost when health is so precious.

I like that there’s an option to enable Faster Gameplay and to Disable Cutscenes, I haven’t used that option yet, but when I grow tired of the slow pace I can speed things up. Just as I was finishing writing this review, the developers at Lightbulb Crew added a new mode, which makes things easier for people who want to discover the story in a more timely manner. The Daughters heal fifty percent of their health each day and there is a free resurrection token at the start of each run.

Switching between the different tabs in the Inner Void is a little on the slow side, but I couldn’t really complain about anything else. The tabbed menus seemed confusing but I soon learned what everything did once I had earned a few things and leveled up my Daughters.

strong>Visuals:
Othercide has a very distinct style, as you can see from the images in this review. The only color to invade the monochromatic world is a splash of red. I’m not sure everyone will appreciate the dark and gloomy atmosphere, but at least there’s a colorblind mode, and the option to double the subtitle text size.

Some of the moves are quite dramatic, and even spectacular. There is something very satisfying about wiping out a horde of the grotesque enemies in a chain of devastating moves. The enemies, especially the bosses, are really repugnant, and their attacks are vicious, which makes surviving an encounter even more satisfying.

Audio:
I like the main menu music, which is almost the polar opposite of the eerie and unsettling chords of the in-game tunes. There is some speech that fits very well into the dark and ominous world. The combat sound effects pack a decent punch and sound good, unless one of my characters is on the wrong end of it.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only and features no online component.

Conclusion:
I’m glad I didn’t give up on this brutal and tough game. Othercide is supposed to be difficult; you aren’t expected to win, especially when first setting out. After learning to be patient and have one eye on the timeline, I soon found my precious Daughters lasted longer and longer. When I finally dismantled the minions of the first boss and used my favorite character to root the ugly beast to the spot, I took it out without a scratch on my graceful characters and it was such a triumphant feeling.

This game is about chipping away at a dirty piece of rock only to find a beautiful piece of marble inside. It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and I’m glad the last update included a more forgiving mode, but I’m going to stick with this challenge, because the victories are all that sweeter. In the beginning, I was ready to claim this game was impossible. Now, I could see myself getting the Platinum. It might be a tough journey, but it will also be a rewarding one.

Score:
8.5

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

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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