Obscura: The Shadow Blade (PC)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Saturday, October 29, 2005

Graphics: 8.00
Sound: 7.50
Gameplay: 8.00
Replays: 5.00

Obscura: The Shadow Blade is the newest game to hit the Try Games system from Sarbakan, the company who brought you The Bug Factor. The game is really fun albeit really short, which could be a problem for some. But if you’re looking for a quick fix of action adventure, then go check it out.

The game has a very pleasing aesthetic that fits the gothic feeling of the story and other background information. Obscura uses a zoomed out overhead camera that is reminiscent of games such as Diablo and for the most part it works well, although every once in awhile you may lose track of exactly what way your character is facing. Environments are also very well done, as you’ll go from battling enemies outside in a port area to inside a church, as well as a few other locations. There are also some very nicely animated cutscenes that help break up the action between levels and boss fights, and the story itself is well done.

Music also fits the gothic style, as it is very light and orchestral. It’s fairly soft yet perfectly fits the feeling the game tries to create, which is how good background music should be. Aside from that there isn’t a whole lot to comment on, as the sound effects are fairly generic for an action game.

Obscura is all about killing enemies and collecting scrolls to unlock colored gates. You move the main character Zephira entirely using the mouse, which also determines what direction she is facing and what attack she uses. Players will use standard slashes as well as a special scream attack that will deal damage to multiple enemies (but must be recharged after being used up). It is also possible to cancel out an enemy attack if you time your attacks right. This combat system works well and the game doesn’t get that repetitive, even if you are only collecting things and killing enemies.

Now for the bad news: the game is incredibly short. Players will fight their way through a couple levels, take on a handful of bosses, and then the game is over. It is possible to repeat the game and try to get a higher score than before, but this can only keep one entertained for so long. Seeing as the game itself is pretty fun, I wish that Sarbakan could have expanded the game length just a bit more, as it feels as though it ends just as you are getting into it. But the boss fights will keep players entertained for one thing, as they are very well executed and not always that easy.

The game engine may be solid, but Obscura doesn’t seem to have quite enough content to satisfy the serious gamer. Casual gamers who don’t have a lot of time to put into gaming every week may want to look into this though, as it won’t take too much time away from your other commitments. Good attempt Sarbakan, but I was hoping for a slightly longer game.


Overall Rating: 7.00

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