I really feel for you Xbox owners waiting for a good Survival Horror game to hit the market. Many of you probably heard about RLH and really were looking forward to having a Survival Horror game to their collection. Well let’s just get one thing straight. The PS2 version hasn’t exactly been acknowledged as a great game, and even after plenty of adjustments and additions, this version for the Xbox remains the one game that everyone should most likely stay clear of.
Very rarely can I sit down and rip a game apart. When you think about all the hard work, and sleepless nights that most likely went into making some of these games, it’s hard to really take all your frustrations out on them. Well I have come to the point now where I just need to go all out and take everything out on this game. When it was released for the PS2 there were so many problems with the game that I was amazed they were still going to go through with making a port for the Xbox. Maybe they thought that adding the downloadable content to the game would help, but I am hear to say that there is nothing that is going to help this game, but to just throw it out and start over.
You play as Nichols Conner, a military man who is living on the Forseti Space Station. You are accompanied on the station with his fiancée Dr. Samantha Reilly. After Nichols gets done with one of his daily tasks he comes back to find the station has been taken over. It was some sort of extra terrestrial that came onto the station and killed everyone in sight, but you’re there to save the day with your trusted companion Dag. It’s your job to solve this mystery.
So this probably sounds a lot like all the other survival horror games you have played most recently - "The Thing" was quite similar in its storyline. Right from the get go, you will find all the major problems that end up hurting RLH. The first is the camera, which in theory shouldn’t be bad since you have almost complete control of it using the right analog stick. But you will find that throughout the game the camera will get stuck and you will be left wondering what is going on. Although compared to the PS2 version, there has been some major improvements to the game’s camera, it’s just not enough. The second are the controls, which just don’t feel like they work right. The game feels very unpolished, like something you would be playing before the final version.
Next, on to the game itself, where things don’t get much better. Throughout RLH you will be going from room to room killing things. And because this is a survival "horror" game it is supposed to be scary. Well this is not the case in RLH. Instead you will find yourself getting sick and tired of killing the same aliens over and over and over again. There comes a point in RLH where you become so bored of the shooting game you will just give up. There are plenty of weapons throughout the game but you will most likely stick with the Assault Rifle for the entirety of the game.
It was nice that Interplay added the Xbox Live support for the ability to download more levels, but my question is - who would want to? The game comes with content all ready to download, but trust me it’s not even worth your time, because there is nothing that will make you actually play what you’ve downloaded.
The one thing that RLH doesn’t do horribly is the sound. The voice acting is actually quite good, although when combined with the weak and uninteresting storyline, doesn’t mount to anything much. The background music is pretty weak too, and the majority of the time just doesn’t suit the game’s direction and situation.
The PlayStation 2 version of RLH had to rank pretty high for the worst graphics award, and the Xbox version although improved doesn’t fare much better. Survival/ Horror games have never had the reputation of being beautiful games, but more just average. Well Interplay has done what they can with RLH to try to make it look and play better but it’s just not working.
The character models are probably the best portion of the game, but that’s not saying much. There is limited detail to all the enemies, and quite a bit of detail placed up Nick. You will notice if you get farther along in the game that the aliens just look the same, and become quite repetitive.
What really killed RLH are the environments. It is quite hard to try and figure out a nice thing to say about them. They are just plain bland and dull. There is just nothing to say but that if Interplay ever does another Survival Horror they better think about trying to mix some things up and give there environments some detail.
To finish it all off the cut scenes were very poorly done. Not only are there a lot of them, with a sub-par plot, but they just aren’t great on the eyes either. There are plenty of graphical glitches not only found throughout the game, but even during the cut scenes. What it comes down to is that RLH graphics although improved upon from the previous version, but still need massive help.
RLH has a lot of elements that, if were put together, would make into a quite enjoyable game. Mostly the fact the game is so repetitive, that you will hate this game only after 20-30 minutes. The camera and controls also don’t help make the game much fun, and if that’s not bad enough the graphics are sure to make you wonder what Interplay was thinking. The game has aspects that could have been fun, but just end up giving you a laugh at how bad the game actually is.
Sometimes I wonder why publishers go through with publishing games, when they just aren’t worth it, but RLH is on the market and it is not worth anyone’s time. I really couldn’t even recommend renting this one, because it will just be a waste of $5. For those of you who are looking for a good Survival Horror game stay clear of this one, and wait for something else.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.