Those Who Remain
Camel 101 / WhisperGames
The horror genre, in general, has greatly escalated in recent years. As far as horror video games go, much like horror films, attention spans have diminished so much that their creators feel the need to imbue them with an almost constant stream of cheap jump-scares. This facet of ratcheting everything up to spastic levels usually comes at the cost of building up any semblance of atmosphere.
Some games have been designed the opposite way—they carefully build up their storylines, as well as a creepy sense of atmosphere. Developer, Camel 101, has recently such a game, titled Those Who Remain.
The game starts off with a scene highly reminiscent of another gem of a horror game, Visage (still in Early Access). You play as Edward, a man who is downing whiskey bottles like there’s no tomorrow and is contemplating suicide with a loaded gun.
Suddenly his phone rings and it’s his secret lover, Diane, on the other end of the line. She’s staying in a motel room on the edge of the small, sleepy town of Dormont. Eager to get back on track with his wife and daughter, Edward goes to meet up with Diane in order to end their nightly motel trysts.
Edward then makes a nocturnal trip to the motel. But when he arrives, Diane’s nowhere to be found. The only clue left behind is a mysterious voice recording, that warns: “Stay in the light.” Suddenly, he hears his car’s tires screeching and runs out of the motel to find that it has been stolen. From there, he must navigate through the dark of the night to find his way back home.
From the get-go, players will begin to notice humanoid figures shrouded in the dark areas they come across. The only thing that is lit up is their ghostly, glowing eyes. It’s a pretty unsettling thing to behold, especially the first few times that you see them. Much like the classic horror film, The Fog, these figures don’t move; they simply stare in your direction. However, if you venture to close to them, they’ll suck you into a dark netherworld, never to be seen or heard from again.
Gameplay-wise, Those Who Remain revolves around Edward traveling to various locations in order to solve some relatively simple puzzles. You’ll not only encounter the dark figures, but you’ll also talk with a young girl named Annika whose ghost is bound to Dormont. There’s another, more dangerous creature you’ll come across from time to time and once it notices you, it’ll rush you and you’re a goner.
The game takes place in two worlds—the real world that is filled with the aforementioned dark patches that the figures lurk within. And then there’s a mysterious netherworld that’s even darker, and sometimes objects don’t obey the physics of the natural world. To get beyond certain locations, you’ll have to switch between the two realms.
There are certain locales in Those Who Remain that require Edward to sneak past enemies in order to avoid them altogether. However, there are no game mechanics to reflect this. In other words, there’s no stealth system in place, such as crouching down and being able to silently going around the entities.
It seems that this game would have greatly benefited from bona fide stealth or hiding mechanics such as found in classic horror games such as Outlast. As the game goes on, this can become highly frustrating because you can’t make Edward do simple things such as crouch behind tables nor hide in closets. This can result in losses of time, since every time you die you’ll have to restart the game at your last saved checkpoint.
Those Who Remain is a game with two separate endings. But with the bugs it contains, as well as the lack of any stealth system, I only found the curiosity to play through it once. In the end, although the game does have an incredibly creepy atmosphere, it’s missteps make it rather lacking as far as replayability is concerned.
Those Who Remain has some pretty good looking graphics that make its horror gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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