Review: Kholat (PS4).
The current generation of consoles has already provided us with a large number of horror games and so-called “walking simulators”. Polish Kholat (PS4) is another representative of both types. How does the Krakow position compare to others? Let’s find out.
In many reviews, I have already mentioned that I like well-developed horror films and that I will not despise the title of exploring an interesting world. By design, Kholat was to meet both of these conditions. I was even more interested in it, because the story is based on real events that took place over 50 years ago.
The first impression is even good – the cartoon introduction briefly presents the tragedy on the Dyatlov Pass in the Ural mountain range, where nine Russian mountaineering students said goodbye to their lives in mysterious circumstances. This introduction laid the foundations for the horror caused by a mysterious tragedy that I wanted. Unfortunately, not long after taking control of the character, these foundations began to crack as something that was supposed to be a puzzle throughout the game quickly became apparent. Still, I won’t mention exactly what I mean, so as not to spoil anyone’s fun.
The elements of horror in a horror movie should be based on something more than disturbing sounds here and there or a threat emerging from nowhere in the form of an unidentifiable silhouette. The Poles did not live up to the task because I was not moved by anything they prepared. And they prepared an enormous open ground full of mountains, hills, slopes, forests and snow, which, under the cover of night, may probably cause many anxiety. In my case, due to the repetitiveness and lack of detail in the surroundings, the effect was completely different. I felt bored of the scenery and the howling of wolves that I had never seen was able to scare me.
The main task is to find the truth about the events of 1959. For this purpose, I had to collect scraps of notes scattered around “Martwa Góra”. Their content constituted the plot of the game, which is not of the highest caliber. I’ll even risk saying that it doesn’t make much sense. However, I can praise the navigation system, which forces the player to learn to use the map and the compass. This is an element that can be useful in reality, and there are not enough of these in today’s games.
Before updating to 1.01, I would have given Kholat (PS4) a rather low rating. Fortunately, the patch corrected shameful shortcomings such as monstrous animation dips that turned the game into a slideshow, and the bushes, stones, and texture details reading right in front of me. Some, less glaring, shortcomings still persist. These include long loading times for a saved game, even after death, and environmental textures reading after loading the game. Poles still have to work on this a lot.
The team from the IMGN.PRO studio had good intentions, but apparently they lacked the skills and time to polish the product. There is no horror here for a penny, and a “walking simulator” on snow-covered mountains and caves is not something that you can interact with for more than a dozen minutes. The Kholat (PS4) crossing takes about five hours and this is perhaps the longest five hours in my life.