Remothered: Tormented Fathers – Review
Follow Genre: Survival Horror
Developer: Darril Arts
Publisher: Stormind Games
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: Switch

Remothered: Tormented Fathers – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Unsettling atmospheric story
Bad: Switch version suffers from graphical issues
User Score
9.4
(5 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.4/10 (5 votes cast)

The award-winning first installment of the Remothered franchise is out now on the Switch. Released on PC, Xbox One and PS4 in 2018, the franchise has quickly gained a following online, not in the least due to it being the spiritual successor to the Japanese survival horror series Clock Tower. With the Switch release coming over a year after the other versions, is it worth sacrificing processing power in order to take Stormind Games’ psychological thriller with you or are you better off in Felton Villa from behind your keyboard?

Story

Italy, 1971. Thirteen-year-old Celeste has mysteriously vanished. Dr. Rosemary Reed from the Santa Margaritha Institute believes the key to solving the girl’s disappearance lies with one of her former patients, Richard Felton. When she decides to investigate his involvement, she discovers there is far more to the case than she can handle…

Remothered: Tormented Fathers is the first part of what is intended to become a trilogy, with the second game planned for release somewhere in 2020. The first installment lays the groundwork for a story that continually makes the player feel uneasy and on edge. It’s hard to explain what is going on without venturing into spoiler territory, and the game is best enjoyed without prior knowledge of the events that unfold on screen, so this review won’t delve into the details of the story, but what a story it is. It’s clear that game director Chris Darril’s focus was on bringing depth to his setting and his characters and on delivering a psychological horror story that sticks with the player after they finish it. At times it feels like you’re playing through a TV-show rather than a video game. This is emphasized by making the opening credits look like they came straight from a Netflix original. To be fair, the story could work as a series but a video game makes more sense, as having you participate draws you in, heightening the impact and emphasizing the continuous sense of danger.

The story is told through a variety of ways, ranging from elaborate,gorgeous-looking cutscenes to written newspaper clippings that you can find in places like drawers. There are a lot of clues to be found in the text-based material. Remothered is one of those games where taking your time to read in-game text doesn’t just reward the player with fluff but it’s actually essential to solving some of the mysteries that present themselves during your exploration of Felton Villa.

Graphics

There is a stark contrast between the gorgeous pre-rendered cutscenes and the actual in-game graphics. The opening scenes look impressive enough, especially since the Switch isn’t particularly known for its graphical processing power, but it all falls apart once you’re actually playing the game. During our initial run of Remothered, textures looked muddy and low-res, edges were jagged, with screen flickering and light shining through the edges of character models’ eyes and mouth. However, Stormind Games reached out to us to inform us that they were aware of these issues and that an update would improve on the graphics. The update has arrived, and although changes are noticeable, especially when it comes to character models, the graphics still are a major letdown. Textures are more prevalent, but objects now look very much like they’re plastic, and have a peculiar reflective shine on them. It feels like a filter was applied to the game rather than everything receiving a major rework. These issues are prevalent in the Switch version of the game. Looking at screenshots for the PC version, which was released much earlier, shows that the graphics don’t suffer from the same issues. The screenshot above shows a comparison, with the original model for dr. Reed on the left, and the updated version on the right.

Another issue involves pausing the game when a non-prerendered dialogue scene is playing. If you go to the Switch’s home menu during such a scene, then return to the game, the scene will play out at increased speed as if the game is trying to make up for the paused time. This makes the scene impossible to follow, and given how important these scenes are to the story, it means you’ll likely have to reload your save.

Sound

This is an example of a game that is enhanced by fantastic sound design. Not only are you treated to a chilling and atmospheric soundtrack, from Nobuko Toda (known for working on the Final Fantasy, Halo and Metal Gear Solid franchises) and Luca Balboni (who composed music for feature films) but the game features top-notch voice acting as well. Danielle McRae (League of Legends, World of Warcraft) and Adam Harrington (Red Dead Redemption 2, The Wolf Among Us) breathe life into dr. Reed and mr. Felton with convincing emotional depth. Music is used very sparingly, and most of the time spent sneaking around is in complete silence, bar the sounds you or your enemies are making. One thing that could have been improved is the sound mixing though, especially when it comes to distraction items. For example, turning on a radio in order to lure enemies produces static noise, but the sound becomes overpowering in a really annoying way and makes it hard to listen to anything else, including dialogue.

Gameplay

Billed as a psychological horror game, the bulk of what you will do in Remothered is sneaking around Felton Villa as you attempt to survive by avoiding enemies and finding clues. It’s clear that the focus of Remothered was mainly on delivering a story, which it does well, but the gameplay portion feels far less developed, although it makes sense given the limitations of the main character. Your overall goal is, of course, to find out what happened to Celeste but while you do so, there are smaller objectives to clear, with an emphasis on survival. At times it feels like you’re just moving from point A to point B, the aforementioned points being cutscenes where you’re spoon-fed bits of information. The road between these points is filled with danger, and a looming sense of dread but don’t expect a feeling of freedom in what you can do when sneaking through Felton Villa. It leads to a comparatively short game that will take you roughly six hours to complete, with a lot of railroading.

Our protagonist, dr. Reed is an unconventional video game heroine, in that she is a 35-year-old woman with a smoking habit. It’s an interesting choice and developer Stormind Games translates the fragility of dr. Reed to the game in a surprisingly effective manner. This is an average person that gets stuck in a life-threatening situation and has to deal with things in the best way that she can. There is a sense of weakness here, as she moves slowly, can’t run for very long, likely due to the aforementioned smoking habit; and can’t fight back against enemies unless she has a defense item. What you may perceive as a weak character due to these characteristics is actually more about realistically depicting an average person instead of an idealized video game character. Despite her shortcomings, dr. Reed is tenacious and strong-willed.

As you move through Felton Villa, a ridiculously enormous building with a layout that wouldn’t make sense in the real world, you’ll spot white dots. Move close enough and you can interact with these. Interactions range from picking up items, including clues to hiding under benches and in closets. You can pick up distraction items and defensive items. These act the way you’d expect: distraction items will draw enemies away, towards them. There are two distinct variants here. Fixed distraction items, such as a television or a radio can be turned on and they will emit static noise for an amount of time, drawing enemies towards them. The other variant are portable distraction items, such as a wind-up alarm clock that you can place on the floor. There’s always a risk in using these, as you’ll still need to get away from the item after you’ve turned it on, so you might be spotted if you don’t mind your surroundings or don’t plan an escape route beforehand. Should you get spotted anyway, you’ll need a defense item in order to have a shot at escaping. These include scissors you can stab with and a throwable bottle. Defense items give you a shot at temporarily incapacitating an enemy, giving you a brief window of opportunity to make an escape. There is a limit to the amount of stuff you can carry: up to three distraction items and only one defense item. There’s plenty of them littered around Felton Villa so restocking your supply is easy enough, but should you be grabbed by an enemy without a shot at defending yourself it’s game over.

A final warning: Steer clear of this game if you’re faint of heart. Some of the graphic imagery you encounter can be perceived as genuinely disturbing, and the pressing atmosphere will keep you on edge throughout the game. The game doesn’t rely on jump scares as you will hear your enemies coming, but you get little time to prepare for their arrival, so there is a sense of urgency whenever you realize an encounter is about to happen.

Conclusion

It’s not difficult to see why Remothered: Tormented Fathers has won awards. The game combines a well-crafted story with a fantastic soundtrack and gameplay that puts emphasis on the limitations of its protagonist. There’s a lot of good elements to be found here. Unfortunately, the graphical issues and glitches on the Switch version are so prominent that it’s hard not to see this version as a rushed port. If you want to give the game a go (which you definitely should if you like survival horror games) pick any other platform if you have one available.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.4/10 (5 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
Remothered: Tormented Fathers - Review, 9.4 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


2 Comments

  1. […] while ago we did a review about the first Remothered game, this survival horror game scored pretty decent and now that there is a successor coming, it […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?
    Yes
    No
  2. […] Broken Porcelain is the sequel to Remothered: Tormented Fathers and you’ll once again be reunited with Rosemary Reed while taking on the role of a new heroine […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?
    Yes
    No

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.