by Preston Dozsa
reviewed on PC
Blanky and I
My friends know I don’t handle horror very well. I hide beneath the blankets when we watch scary movies, and I try to avoid as many horror games as I can. When I do play a horror game, it has to be very, very good in order for me to enjoy it. Silent Hill 2, Slenderman and Dead Space are a few of the games that I can say I’ve managed (or forced) myself to complete, and I enjoyed them because they provided something beyond cheap jump scares. They were truly terrifying, and used great design elements in order to keep me
The same can’t be said for Overcast: Walden and the Werewolf. It is scary, I can attest to that much. But that horror fizzles out quickly, and what remains is a far from compelling experience that one suffers far more often than one enjoys.
A tough son of a gun
Overcast tells the tale of Walden, a hunter who survived an assassination attempt on him some years ago and lives by himself in the woods outside of a quaint little farming community. One night, he sees fire through the woods, and goes to investigate the screams he hears from the town. Armed only with a lantern that is perpetually lit and a rifle that holds only one bullet and takes seven seconds to reload, Walden tries to find out what happened to the town.
Now, there’s one thing I need to take note of before I continue this review. The assassination attempt is meant to show that Walden is a tough son of a gun who knows his way around a weapon, yet he uses a gun that can only hold one round and takes ages to reload. Not the brightest hunter in my opinion. Furthermore, what does the assassination have to do with anything related to the games story? Short answer: absolutely nothing. How much do I care about the story? Answer: Not at all.
Overcast is played in the first person, with your left hand perpetually holding a lantern and your right holding your useless weapon. Throughout the games nine chapters, you guide Walden around as he solves extremely easy puzzles and shoots werewolves and other evil creatures. The game controls work well enough, with the exception of climbing ladders, and it is pretty easy to move around the environment.
The environment can be summed up as being mediocre at best. There is nothing special about the houses or woods that you traverse, and it doesn’t look particularly pretty either. At least, that's what it looks like when you can actually see it. Overcast does take place at night, yet it doesn’t feel natural, and I was straining my eyes just to get a proper glimpse of things that were right in front of me. On top of that, for no real reason, the game features a permanent fuzziness on the screen, almost as if you are playing it on an old television. There is no reason why it should be in the game, and it only frustrated me as time went on.
I described this game as a horror game at the beginning of the review. And while the first four chapters feel like a horror game, for whatever reason the last five feel like a first person shooter. There are mobs of enemies that you have to shoot, and then the level ends, only to have to shoot more enemies in the next with little of the atmospheric exploration that was present in the beginning. What is worse is that these chapters are incredibly frustrating due to the fact that your gun is absolutely terrible. Just try to shoot five spiders that run faster than you when it takes ages for your gun to reload!
This frustration culminates in a final boss battle that ends the story with a disappointing deus ex machina. By that point however, I couldn’t care what was happening onscreen. I just wanted it to end. Thankfully, it only took me just over an hour to finish the game. And while it would normally be a shame that a game only took one hour to finish, I’m happy because I never have to play it again.
If there’s one thing that can be seen as a positive in the game, it’s the soundtrack. It really set the mood for the early stages of the game, and it, above all else, drew me into the game in the beginning. And then the rest of the game showed up, ruining what positive influence the soundtrack had.
The pants stay on
Overcast feels like an attempt to follow in the footsteps of better horror games like Amnesia and Slenderman, yet fails to capture anything of what makes horror games good. Even the strange turn into a first person shooter isn’t very well done. If you’re looking for something to scare the pants off of you, look very far in the other direction. Because Overcast isn’t a bad horror game. It’s just not a very good game at all.
The soundtrack, a few jump scares
Everything besides the soundtrack