Outer Brain Studios has delivered a truly impressive Survival Horror game in Organ Quarter
Of all the weeks Outer Brain Studios could choose to release their labor of love, last week was probably not the most ideal scenario. Skyworld, Luna, The Talos Principle VR and Gallery Episode 2 all launched last week. Talk about a murderer's row of powerful releases. Most VR gamers had budgeted their money for Talos or Gallery 2. Maybe both. The problem is, after spending all that money, will they also have a 20 spot to throw at Organ Quarter? It would be truly unfortunate if Organ Quarter doesn't get some well deserved attention, despite all the other huge releases. I can say this, if you're even the slightest fan of survival horror or Silent Hill, you probably don't want to miss this game.
The key quality that this game delivers is a hauntingly dreary atmosphere. This is like someones bad dream come to life. You're in one of the bleakest and most depressing apartment complexes you could possibly imagine. You don't know what's going on. You're just trying to survive. Luckily, it doesn't take too long to get your hands on a gun, but bullets are scarce. That is of course, if you're playing the game in Survival mode. Outer Brain Studios recommends that you choose that mode, but a more casual version is also on offer. I went survival horror all the way, and I can tell you that lack of ammo becomes a big factor in this mode. You better use your bullets wisely, and make sure to scour your environment for additional ammunition. You'll need it.
We previously talked about the pre-alpha demo of this game, and at that point, the visuals weren't all that impressive. Outer Brain Studios claimed that the graphics would be much improved in the final release version, but I'm not really noticing any significant difference. It does look somewhat better, but it's certainly not a night and day improvement. However, I'm still extremely early on in this game, so later levels could be more impressive with their visual design. Despite the lack of Triple A visuals, Outer Brain Studios is still flexing their muscles with special effects that set the scene. As I explore this dreary and bleak apartment complex, there is a ton of dust and particles floating around in the air, and it actually cleverly hides some of the limitations that we have with our first gen headsets. It's hard to notice screen door effect, when you're noticing all the dust and particles floating in the air.
The real star of the show with Organ Quarter is the overall feeling of helplessness that permeates this place. This feels like the type of place where depression and misery are the order of the day. Of course, when you've got extremely disturbing monsters walking around the hallways, I guess I'd be pretty depressed too! The monsters are disturbing in their appearance and animations. The Silent Hill influence is especially obvious with the creature designs.
If there is a single fly in the ointment with Organ Quarter, it's probably the combat. The act of shooting the monsters, just isn't as pleasurable as other similar games of this type. I'm not sure I can quite put my finger on it. It could be the animations of the creatures as they're being shot. There's something slightly janky and off about it. Again, I'm extremely early in this experience, so I'll have more to report when I have a review for the game. Regardless, I've already seen enough to know that if survival horror is your bag, this is probably a must buy. I'm not sure there is another VR horror game that brings a stronger flavor of Silent Hill than this.