The horror genre of videogames has gone through many types of evolutions over the years, but sometimes it’s nice to play something that harkens back to the days of classic survival horror games like Silent Hill and the original Resident Evil on the PlayStation 1. So that is exactly what Remorse: The List is trying to do, or at least in some ways. Other times, it feels like a Half-Life horror mod. Developed by Ashkandi, it is just a fun and spooky experience that doesn’t overstay its welcome. Let’s get into why though.
Remorse: The List takes place in a small abandoned Hungarian town called Hideqpuszta, the player will have to scavenge what they can, while controlling the protagonist’s panic levels to get to the final boss fight at the end. The game forces players to kill every enemy, and combat isn’t bombastic or loud. Instead, the focus is on carefully examining the environment and picking the right tools at the right time. All of that might seem overwhelming, and at the beginning, it definitely is, but somehow it all becomes second nature, and you’re kind of just sucked into exploring the world and all its little secrets. While I may have had moments of confusion at times, they never lasted long, and due to the relatively small size of Hidqpuszta, being lost never lasted for more than a few minutes. This shows that having a smaller map can really pay off in the long run.
The combat is simple, but that adds to the tension, as overpowering enemies is never an option, even though ammo is plentiful. Unlocking the guns after being restricted to melee weapons for a while felt great and gave me a sense of gaining the upper hand, which is always fun. Using a gun can sometimes feel a little clunky, but the clunkiness is appreciated because if shooting a zombie in the face was as easy as it is in Call of Duty, the impression would be broken. These monstrosities have some neat designs, especially the monster that teleports from location to location. However, only some have seen this much care, though, there is enough attention to detail put into all of them that it never gets boring or repetitive. One of the enemies that stuck out the most was the final boss, but mainly because this title only has two boss fights, so using a machine gun to blast the last of its face with bullets felt super good. Its design is also fun to fight, and there are even board game mechanics to keep the fight interesting. Honestly, these mechanics got a little tiring near the end, and it would’ve been nice if it was more of a typical encounter.
Remorse’s atmosphere is one of the highlights of the experience, and the visuals are a big part of that. It’s a bit hard to describe, but the graphics have a sort of muddy VHS look to them — and maybe it’s because I was playing it on the Nintendo Switch — but this muddiness somehow creates a very spooky and tense atmosphere. Walking around the dark alleyways and abandoned houses has a unique feel, and it’s one I haven’t felt in many games. The music is great, too, and it’s understated, but playing through Remorse still makes me uneasy. So while you might not notice the soundtrack, it’s still present enough to make you feel cautious, which is really impressive. Subtle background musical scores for the win! However, the sound effects are disappointing since hitting objects with a sledgehammer, or any other weapon makes the same sound for everything. It would’ve been nice if the developers had put more work into ensuring the sound effects didn’t get repetitive or annoying. Still not a dealbreaker, though, and it didn’t detract from the experience too much.
Remorse: The List is a very cool game — being dropped into this dark and grim world with nothing to defend yourself other than a small knife — and eventually getting access to an AK-47 while using it to battle a demonic monster was a heck of a time. The three hours I spent with this game were equally terrifying and an absolute blast. It may be short, but its brief length is perfect for what it's trying to accomplish, and the developers did an excellent job achieving that goal.
Remorse: The List (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)
Excellent. Look out for this one.
Remorse: The List is a game that needs to be on everyone’s radar. Some little annoyances aside, the feelings you will get from this game, with its unique atmosphere and genuine spooks, make for a fantastic horror experience.