Review – The One We Found
What’s a better time to play a horror game than Halloween? After replaying the excellent Dead Space and beginning my descent into Call of Cthulhu, I’ve been on the hunt for another good horror game. Needless to say, I’m still searching.
The One We Found is a survival horror game that blends together multiple gameplay styles. Set in the Whisperwood Mental Institution you play as a psychotherapist, James Ledgewick, who must uncover the dark secrets of the institution and the evil lurking in the caves below.
One of the key elements of a good horror game is the visuals. More specifically, the lighting can make a horror game more immersive or completely break it. This game is incredibly dark, to the point where in a lot of areas I couldn’t see a single foot in front of me. The torch in this game has one of the worst implementations I’ve seen in a while, lighting only a perfect circle in front of you. This is one of the most annoying things that a horror game can try to do. Making the game dark doesn’t make it scary, it makes it frustrating to play. It gets a tiny bit better the more you play. Some areas do a better job at lighting than others, but for the most part it’s horrible.
To be fair, making everything pitch black means I don’t have to look at the horrible textures. The framerate is abysmal as well, often taking steep dives when in “open” areas and dropping even when motionless. It’s not all bad, there’s a good range of environments and some of them even become a little bit interesting, but most of them are generic and boring. The same applies to the enemy design. Everything just looks very run of the mill, although a few of the designs look completely out of place.
There are two parts to this game. The first part has an Outlast style hide and seek approach, where you hide from different kinds of monsters with no way to defend yourself and is indicated by an annoyingly bright red light, for some reason. This is by far the most mechanically broken part of the game. The AI is so brain-dead it becomes incredibly amusing. I accidentally discovered in some lockers you don’t actually need to close the door, you can just leave it wide open and they still won’t see you . If the enemy does see you, the screen gets an annoying filter applied to it and an obnoxiously loud scream is played for a cheap jump scare. You can also just walk briskly away from the enemy and it will quickly forget about you.
Often during these hide and seek sequences, you will need to gather clues that will help you unlock a door. Whilst good in theory, the execution misses the mark. When the passwords are often written on the wall nearby, you don’t really need to think much. If the game was a bit more subtle and clever with it’s level design, it could have made the game much more exciting. Enemies follow a set pattern at an incredibly slow pace taking what feels like forever to turn around, so you will need to either do a lot of waiting or just sprint past them.
Then we’ve got the shooting. This is as simple as it gets, you point and shoot, then the enemies fall over. That’s it, nothing more to it. It feels just really basic and uninspiring. The guns don’t have any weight or feel to them with pathetic sound effects and no enemy reactions. The One We Found constantly switches between the two gameplay styles in every single level in an attempt to mix things up, however this doesn’t work as you are doing the exact same things over and over again.
The controls are confusing and nonsensical. Why is LB/RB to aim and shoot respectively? Why is left on the d-pad to crouch? There is no in-game method to remapping these buttons so you have to either deal with it or rebind the buttons through the accessories app. The inventory system is needlessly annoying. After picking up a ammo magazine, you have to go into your inventory and equip it to the right gun before being able to reload. If you want to switch guns, you have to un-equip the one you are holding and then equip the one that you want. Why can’t a simple button press cycle through weapons? There is a keybind for it. It doesn’t help that the cumbersome inventory functions in real time.
Prepare for a really unpolished experience. I’ve been caught on the environment and I’ve seen enemies caught on the surroundings and block a key path. I’ve had to restart entire levels because I can’t look up or down as well as my guns not firing. In one instance, I had to close the game because loading was taking way longer than normal.
Beyond the main campaign there is a Call of Duty style zombies mode. It’s ok at best, the kind of ok that you would expect for a low budget unity game. You kill zombies, get points to buy new guns, and unlock more of the map in an attempt to survive as long as you can. I wouldn’t expect to put much time into this, especially when you could go play the superior version that this is based on.
The One We Found is a monotonous horror game, with horrible visuals, buggy gameplay, and terrible controls. There’s a couple of good ideas, but none of them are good enough to save the game.
Either annoyingly dark or poorly textured. Some good environment design is present at least.
Interesting ideas with some bad execution.
It exists, but it’s not very good.
Any brief moment of fun is ruined by long sections of boredom.
Final Verdict: 3.0
Reviewed on Xbox One.
The One We Found is available now on PC, Xbox One and PS4.
A copy of The One We Found was provided by the publisher.