One gaming convention we like to visit each year is EGX Rezzed, where there is not always a huge amount of VR available it gives us chance to play some standard games previews. One area we like to visit each year is Wired Productions, and this year we could not wait to check out Those Who Remain. Unfortunately EGX Rezzed was delayed due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, however, we were happy when we received an email offering a chance to preview the games demo from home. So, what did we make of this demo?
Please note: as mention this was a demo we got the chance to preview, so changes could be made before it’s final release.
The demo we received was around twenty-five minutes long, and gave us a look at some of the aspects of the game, but of course they could more in the full release. With this in mind we do not really have enough of gameplay to determine what the game’s story is one hundred percent about, but we did receive a synopsis from the team.
Set in the sleepy town of Dormont. Whispers of disappearances carry through the town. Edward, a man who had the perfect life and was lured into darkness, must now confront uncomfortable horrors, reflected by the dark, to survive the night of Dormont.
The games main element of the gameplay in the demo is staying in some light and not getting taken in by darkness, this will see you needing to find ways to light your path. This is required as within the shadows are silhouettes of people with glowing eyes, that represent the horrors that have happened in the town of Dormont. If you step into or get trapped in this darkness these apparitions will kill you, so as you get told in a phone call within the demo ‘stay in the light’.
In order to stay in the light throughout the demo it was all about exploring the lit up areas for clues on where you need to go, items needed like keys to unlock doors and ways to light up other elements of the area to progress. Also you go from the normal world of Dormont to the more dark otherworldly setting of Dormont – which gave me the feeling of the Under from Stranger Things. This can to be offer more of the story or even needing you to carry out tasks between the dimensions to open the way up in the other dimension.
Of course these were the elements we got to see in this preview, but, there could be more moving forward. For example; at the beginning of the demo it does state your choices throughout the game will affect the outcome of the story, however, in the demo you do not get to experience any of these decisions.
With the psychological horror theme and gameplay that it offers it was going to be important that the team got the presentation right to set the atmosphere for the game.
From our time with the demo, we were impressed with what the team had done. The world although mostly in area dimly lit by the available lighting, looked detailed enough without offering too much polish – which for me gives you more of the psychological horror feeling. Then as you move into the dark otherworldly setting it comes with a slight blue hue with parts of the environments warping, making it easy to place yourself in each dimension.
Then the most important part of any game like this is the audio used in the game, in the most cases you are getting the sounds that match the environment you are in be it the motel, house, outside in dark underworld setting. But, as with all games in this genre, the use of sounds and music to set the tone and give you those more intense feelings is going to be in place, and they have done a great job with these.
Be it the more intense louder music replacing the haunting slight howl in the air as you walk around Dormont or the more jarring string music in the underworld it can really set your heart pounding and give you those butterflies in your stomach. Add to these sounds the whispers of help from the silhouettes in the darkness and it really can give you that feeling of dread – especially if wearing a decent pair of headphones.
Those Who Remain does not have official VR support, but from playing the demo we knew this was something we would love to play in VR. So, we booted up vorpX, to take this opportunity, but, this did require us to make a profile for the game given this a preview.
Firstly one thing users of vorpX will need to understand is this a game that uses DirectX 12 (DX12), meaning with vorpX being in an experimental stage for DX12 you are not going to get full geometry 3D for the game. But, as with other DX12 games it will allow for Z-adaptive VR gameplay, which will place you into the setting of Dormont. But, you are not going to get the fully immersive 3D effect within the head mounted display (HMD).
Although, with this game being a first-person perspective it does give you the immersion of looking around using your head movement. vorpX does a great job of keeping the visual clarity of the game, however, in the HMD it was very dark, so we needed to boost the Gamma setting in the game to full – and this gave an experience close to the colours of the standard game.
* Please note: vorpX is not directly support by Camel 101, and is a separate third-party product you must buy.
From what we got to play in this preview of Those Who Remain it has impressed us, and we are really pleased we got the chance to play this demo, despite EGX Rezzed being delayed. This is one we will certainly be keeping any eye on as it heads toward its May 15th release, and we would recommend others do this as well.
Releasing on Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Switch
VR Support via vorpX (only on PC)
Developers: Camel 101