WrItten by sPINDRAFT 1/28/2014
I think the biggest issue with ‘Overcast’ is the somewhat jumbled cast of visual presentations. The title art has a colorful, heavy metal moniker look about it, the intro scenes are decidedly western with an almost “Dark Tower” sort of flare to them, Riven Town opts for something somwhere in the middle as a dark, spooky, burned out settlement in the desert (not sure why we have guard towers in a normal town) and the first boss (I assume this because it is difficult to beat) is a green, oversized snake that looks more like an anaconda than a desert dwelling rattle snake. The title says werewolf so out of all of this I suppose I can go with the intro scenes being more in line with what I would expect. Just an odd mixture of visuals overall as if the devs were trying harder to include a snippet of everyones personal vision rather than adhere to any artistic consistency of the game’s story, idea and setting.
I am starting to see more and more of the high gloss look in textures as well, not really sure if this is something entriely new or maybe I just havn’t noticed it so much until now. In ‘Overcast’ it is quite noticeable, almost to a fault, and if not for the grainy texture of the camera view it would be overpowering to the point of distracting from the depth of the setting itself. It is not a bad look so much as it is just too damn shiny and clean for a gritty, dark space; might work well for some metal covered space lab but I really don’t think that logs glow with that kind of exuberance naturally. Its an old clapboard/log settlement and should look dusty and used (just my opinion).
To play the demo is interesting, there is really nothing to fight at this point until you meet the green anaconda in ‘Momentum II’ (that’s Seven Moon Woods for those not in the know yet) although you will carry a rifle the entire time if you pick it up from the first cabin. The problem in Riven Town at first is not to fight off the bad guys (or demons or whatever), nor solve any ongoing dilemma and set the towns course back on some proper track; the problem is simply to navigate the landscape in the proper sequence which means you must explore until you find keys to unlock doors which allow you to progress through the town. This is a simple concept but it will keep you challenged enough trying to put it all together in the dark, shadowy, burning town.
Developed by Microblast Games and slated for an Oct 2014 release ‘Overcast’ is the story of Walden, an old hunter living alone in the woods. When the village of Riven Town is destroyed by a mysterious creature Walden vows revenge and goes on the biggest hunt of his life. This is all we get folks, the demo is short and gives us a nice walkthrough of Riven Town, a good view of the games look and lets not forget that crazy snake. Don’t know why but the damn snake just throws me for a loop, its like one of those jokes you just don’t get unless you had been there. Ah well, it was fun trying to figure out how to navigate the burning village and the Mexican Bandito vibe to the music was a nice touch.
For now the demo presents a cool romp through a desolated town and if imagery is enough to scare you then the deserted, dark, spooky atmosphere will certainly do the trick. I am curious though as to why whatever it is that brought this destruction to Riven Town left animal parts thrown all over the barns but aside from one dead soul in the burning house all signs of human dismemberment and or death seems to be absent. Maybe the snake thing, or whatever sent it, took the bodies for whatever reason but it seems like the odd limb or blood stained shoe would have been left behind. Just saying.
As it stands the game has an almost comic book feel to it, from the glossed over textures right down to the way it delivers the story and this is not a bad thing; in fact the whole cut scene/movie presentation between the gameplay segments was rather well done and enjoyable to watch. I do hope, as a fan of good depth in horror games, that the overall direction of the game stays unified in story, art and general direction (maybe the snake will make more sense once I have more to associate it with or to). I must say (simply because it nags the hell out of me) that one soul entered a post saying the influence for this game is ‘Amnesia’. I must say that I strongly disagree with this and if the devs are trying to pay homage to ‘Amnesia’ as an influence then in my opinion it is a sorely missed mark.
All said (and gripes aside) ‘Overcast: Walden and the Werewolf’ is, if nothing else, a fun playthrough and the general feel (if one must equate a reference in similar design) is that of the old ‘MYST’ games (though darker) where one must travel around the enviroment and solve problems in order to advance through the game. With that said it is mostly quiet with little to endanger the player until you meet ole green scales out in the woods. Give it a whirl and let us know what you think.
Overcast Demo Rating B+
Microblast Games Rating B