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‘Useless House’ hands-on: Ugly sci-fi horror has by no means felt so comforting

The Useless House remake needs to be higher than Useless House. The unique got here out 14 years in the past and imploded frequent concepts of what a horror recreation ought to be: It decreased the facility of the headshot and stripped away all on-screen icons to immerse us within the ravaged corridors of the Ishimura, the place we had been stalked by half-human monsters with freakishly elongated limbs. Useless House was terrifying and thrilling and stunning, and these feelings have solely made the sport shine brighter in our recollections. That is the model of Useless House that the remake has to compete with — the one which lives solely in our heads, filtered by nostalgia. It looks like an unattainable commonplace to succeed in. However I feel the Useless House remake nails it — principally.

Motive Studio and EA held a demo occasion for Useless House final month, and I bought to play the primary three chapters of the remake, stopping simply after Isaac restarted the centrifuge. This was the complete recreation in pre-beta type and I performed on PC with an Xbox controller. It was instantly spectacular by trendy requirements: The metallic rooms of the Ishimura had been crammed with crisp, horrific particulars, and the well being indicator operating up Isaac’s backbone was clearer than ever. Tense instrumentals and mechanical buzzing noises rose and fell as he explored the ship, and sharp audio cues saved the sense of impending doom alive. A few of the sounds tapped immediately into my nostalgia neurons, significantly on the save stations and whereas selecting up objects.


The Useless House remake has contemporary voice performing, puzzles, storylines and mechanics, and an AI-driven director that maximizes the horror of every scene. This technique doesn’t randomize the habits of enemies, however it units off environmental options like steaming pipes, harsh whispers and flickering lights. Regardless of the horror director was doing throughout my playthrough, it labored — I used to be suitably scared in each setting.

Within the demo, Useless House adopted a well-recognized cadence of darkish hallways and towering necromorphs, however it additionally supplied a handful of surprises. For one, the heartbeat rifle had a brand new different hearth that threw out a small proximity mine, reasonably than a 360-degree spray. (Nothing in regards to the plasma cutter was modified as a result of the plasma cutter is and at all times has been good.) After which there was the revamped zero-gravity mechanic — as a substitute of clinging to surfaces and leaping off of them in an prolonged soar, the Useless House remake let me swim by means of the air, opening up new puzzle and exploration alternatives, particularly at the side of the stasis and kinesis skills. All of it felt completely pure, as if this was what builders needed to do with Useless House the primary time round, however our 2008 {hardware} simply couldn’t deal with it.

Dead Space


Truthfully although, in the present day’s {hardware} can’t deal with this model of Useless House, at the least not in its present preview type. There aren’t any loading screens within the remake and this function triggered essential issues throughout my playthrough. I encountered important and chronic framerate points all through the demo, significantly after strolling by means of doorways, as background loading kicked in. My recreation crashed as soon as and I voluntarily restarted it one other time, after slogging by means of a number of scenes of stuttering animations. The framerate points had been extraordinarily irritating. Isaac additionally felt sluggish at sure factors, inflicting me to misfire my weapons or waste time stomping on already-dead enemies. I wasn’t the one participant within the room to expertise these issues, although some demos appeared to run simply positive from begin to end. Builders at Motive made it clear they had been conscious of those points and promised they’d be resolved earlier than launch day, however my preview expertise was lower than seamless.