Remothered: Tormented Fathers (Xbox One) Review

By Albert Lichi 25.01.2019

Review for Remothered: Tormented Fathers on Xbox One

Chris Darril really loves Clock Tower. He loves it so much that, when he set out to make a tribute to the classic point-and-click horror classic, the end result became something so much more than that. The project grew, and evolved into what is now Remothered: Tormented Fathers, which ultimately dropped the point-and-click format for a standard third-person survival-horror. Darril, a veritable renaissance man who was the game's director, and provided much of the art assets, had a vision to honour the style of horror videogames from the early 2000s, but does he succeed?

On paper, Remothered: Tormented Fathers had all the right elements necessary to be a great survival-horror that could have lived up to Clock Tower's legacy. This is an indie game being almost entirely controlled by an auteur game designer, who truly wants to bring the horror genre back to its glory. Yet, this ended up as a sloppy and frustrating disappointment, rife with finicky controls, unfair AI, and unpolished animation. Where does it all go so horribly wrong?

Probably the first mistake is right when the story begins by using the worst possible framing device for a horror story. Rosemary is introduced first as a very old lady who is telling the story of the events of the game when she was younger; thus deflating all tension or suspense. There really is no reason for this kind of structure, it only hurts the way the story is told. There are also some plot inconsistencies much later, where characters seemingly develop convenient amnesia for dramatic effect.

Remothered is very upfront with its influences, and wears them proudly on its sleeve. A person could go blind with how many homages and obscure references are packed into this one. From the protagonist's likeness resembling a young Jodie Foster from Silence of the Lambs, to homages to The Exorcist, and even having many plot details lifted from Psycho, there's a strong respect for the classics. Taking place mostly in the massive Felton mansion, which naturally has some nods to Clock Tower and Resident Evil, Rosemary is going to have a time seeking out keys and solving puzzles all while evading a trio of stalkers. All of this would be ideal if only the execution was not so rough.

Screenshot for Remothered: Tormented Fathers on Xbox One

When actually playing Tormented Fathers, it may come to a shock just how poor the character rigging is, and how stiffly animated Rosemary moves. It is understood that this is supposed to be a throw-back to horror titles from the early 2000s, but to emulate the limitations of the time is going too far. Rosemary's awkward walking animation doesn't feel like it connects properly to the ground, making her feel like she glides, and the effect is worsened when she is stealth-crouching which does not look right when the player-character also wears high-heels. Things are exacerbated with the stalkers/pursuers who snap into positions so they can assume their baked-in animations like glitchy automatons. All stalkers also have abnormally advanced hearing, which is frustrating because the events also take place during a rain-storm which results in the AI usually hearing better than the player.

The stealth usually does not work as intended because the level design is not done in a way to service Rosemary's actions. More often than not, the layout of the house guarantees an unwanted run-in with a pursuer and since the animations are so overly drawn out the act of hiding under anything is plain ineffective. The best strategy is to just grab the nearest blunt object and throw it. Getting caught while trying to hide triggers what can be best described as a Wario Ware-style mini-game, but it flashes so fast on the screen, without much warning or any idea how it's played that the first few dozen attempts will result in failure. Crouching barely gives her any cover and is mostly for quieting Rosemary's steps. If the camera was further away, it would help navigate and spot threats. Stealth games tend to have a more distant camera for this reason.

As for the visuals, they are a mixed bag to say the least. Sometimes the imagery can be striking - usually in cut-scenes, that is. The regular presentation is a very plain looking horror-themed adventure with characters looking very wooden and inexpressive. This can be overlooked given the limited resources the developer had, but it would be dishonest to say this was not distracting. The most attention was given to lighting and setting the atmosphere.

Screenshot for Remothered: Tormented Fathers on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Remothered: Tormented Fathers is wasted potential. This is supposed to be the start of a trilogy, and hopefully the designers will learn from this mulligan and make something that has a bit more polish next time. Chris Darril's heart is in the right place, and he is proven to be a very capable game designer - the next effort just needs to be more carefully thought out and play-tested.

Developer

Stormind Games

Publisher

Darril Arts

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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