Survival Horror Renaissance In The Hotel
I have been having a lot of nostalgia for the older survival horror genre lately. Not that it ever really wavers. But when I’m sick, to which this flu came back for a harsh round two. I’m okay enough to sit in bed and play some games. Specifically, I like laying in bed running through the first three Resident Evil games. Even the original remake hits these notes. There is something about the old-school tank-controlled survival horror of yesteryear.
So when I went scouring for something new that hit that nostalgic, puzzle-centric survival horror. I was excited to come across this game that just came out on Steam. Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and Alone In The Dark inspired The Hotel. It is not a bad thing when I look at the pedigree those games have and the influence they had on my gaming experiences growing up.
What drew me in at first was its claims of being a survival horror game that sticks to the old adage of that PSX / MS-DOS era of horror gaming. Where ammo and weapons are limited, fixed camera angles are king, and tank controls are the way to get around. I mean, that is all up my alley. Think of the Resident Evil Remake for the Gamecube that eventually, after six years, saw it being ported to the Wii. Thirteen years after its release, it came to modern hardware. Its tank controls were done right. There was a certain amount of fluidity to it, which, thankfully, The Hotel adopts this nature of it. And not its ninety-six counterpart, which was still good but rather stiff when it came to moving Chris or Jill around.
The gameplay is really where The Hotel hit me. With its more modern take on tank controls, traveling around the environment feels good and natural. Definitely not easy, though. This isn’t for its lack of controls but more so the zombie and other monsters’ presence here. They are hard to take down. You are better off conserving your ammo using it to down some zombies temporarily while you make for the escape. After just a few hits, you will be downed. As I mentioned above, it does take its survival horror roots seriously. This is one tough cookie with a strain on healing items and ammo.
The story follows two hotel reviewers, Alex and Judie, and honestly, the story is a little cheesy and goofy. But sometimes that’s what makes it even better. Just look at the intro to the original Resident Evil or its remake and tell me they are B-movie greatness. It really doesn’t detract from what’s really at play here. A fantastic love song to the survival horror games of the past. It does some good work in setting itself apart. By doing things like every item you carry in-game is actually on your character model, and how your character moves when hurt is outstanding. When you are low on health Alex and Judie sway a bit and sometimes even stumble while running away.
Complimenting the story is some fantastic environmental art and some enrapturing audio design. While the puzzles are a little ho-hum, a few stand out as good. But that isn’t to say this game is perfect by any stretch of the imagination. There are a few issues, like when zombies seem to be able to just grapple onto you from four feet away, or when you try and lock on and it doesn’t line up, and the map needs to be well…put in.
Even with the minor gripes I had with the game, there is a fantastic time to be had here for fans of the old-school survival horror genre. Because it was done by such a small group of people, and this is their first release, I’m excited to see what comes of The Hotel as it sees more patches. I hope it gets some attention because it hit the spot for me lying in bed, suffering through what has to be my second or third week of this damn stomach flu.
The creator of The Hotel IL Pala does a fantastic job, and you should go check out the website and, most importantly, check the game out on Steam. It is worth your time, not to mention there is a demo if you want to check it out.
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