Obscure II

In our eyes it would be a good idea for publishers Playlogic to drop the ‘II’ at the end of the title of this survival horror romp, and go for one of those trendy nonsensical subtitles instead. Not only because the first Obscure was relatively unknown, but because it was never released on GameCube, whereas this sequel is heading for Wii in addition to PlayStation 2.

Obscure IIThe first Obscure – released in 2004 via Ubisoft – proved to be a decent if slightly easy alternative to Silent Hill and Resident Evil. It was set in an American school, so instead of grimy mansions and creepy towns the action took place in much more familiar places like the school gym, canteen and dormitories. This sequel is set two years later, when the students who appeared in the first game are at college and are dealing with toxic plants that have appeared on campus. Six characters are playable in total, each filling the role of a stereotype – the jock, the nerd, the blonde with big boobs, etc. She’s not a dumb blonde though – her unique skill is puzzle solving. You go girl!

The teens tend to stick in pairs of two, and it’s possible to swap between them with the tap of a button. A spare friend can also play along in the co-op mode. Teamwork is a recurring theme, with bunk-ups and such required to get items in hard to reach places. In some sections one player has to solve a puzzle while another fights off an attack. The environments don’t appear to be as destructible as before, although some doors and windows can be smashed with a blood-soaked baseball bat to access new areas.

The preview version we’ve been playing hints at ‘more of the same’, which is fine by us, as not only did the first Obscure look pretty good but it was fun and accessible. The monsters – huge fleshy beings – and the gore effects aren’t very imposing at the moment, however, and it’s likely that the whiny voices of the American leads will grate after a while. The camera could do with a tinker too – we found ourselves swapping characters and aiming weapons – shotguns, flare guns, etc – just to get a better view.

Good luck trying to pre-order it though – we can’t find a single retailer aware of its upcoming existence. Obscure by name, obscure by nature, it would seem.

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