STAFF REVIEW of Claire: Extended Cut (Xbox One)


Thursday, September 29, 2016.
by Brent Roberts

Claire: Extended Cut Box art It's been said many times before but it's true, survival horror games are a dying genre (see what I did there?). You can see many examples where plot and character development are switched out for increased gore and over the top killing sequences, which many people now see as the staple for a horror game. Hailstorm Games recently released their own survival horror game called Claire: Extended Cut on the Xbox One. Now let's grab our flashlights and see if it is worth the $14.99 + tax price.

The game focuses around your main character, aptly named Claire. This emotionally distraught young woman seems to be battling her own emotional and internal demons while caring for her sick mother at a hospital. Right from the beginning, the story takes a twisted turn and immediately you think you're in for a wild psychological thrill ride that you'll never want to see end.


Seeing as you're taking care of your mother in a hospital, that is where you spend the majority of your time. Shortly after, everything goes upside down you'll be accompanied by your trusty dog Anubis, and it's up to you to venture through the possessed and slightly demonic hospital as Claire tries to unravel her past through her dreams. Along the way you will come across various strangers, each of which require a choice to be made as to how you can help them. Be forewarned though, each action carries with it a consequence, so choose wisely.

Unfortunately, the game seems to hit a point that leaves you full of questions with very little answers. This is one of the things that got under my skin because if we're honest, when we get really frightened it's because we have invested ourselves into the story. When you don't have that emotional connection to the audience, why even tell the story then? This is just one of several flaws that really set this game back in my eyes, and it's a shame because demonic hospitals are a horror cliché that, if done right, can be incredibly scary. Sadly, though this game wasn't done right.


This is in part due to the gameplay. While it's customizable as it allows you to select varying pre-loaded controls that are already mapped out, that doesn't stop the fact that the big problem with the gameplay is the guidance, or lack thereof. Claire: Extended Cut is laid out in a 2D map with a 2D side scrolling display, and that sounds fairly simplistic and straightforward; however, when you take into account that doors and passage ways are hard to decipher, you will find yourself constantly bringing up your map trying to figure out not only what direction you're going, but where you're trying get to next. This really detaches you from the game, breaking any sort of hold that it tried to have in the first place. Earlier you read about those strangers that you have to decide on how you help, and to do that sometimes you'll have to use items in your inventory which you can see are almost ripped straight from Resident Evil. While some items can be used to help others, they can also heal you and keep your sanity in check, so you'll need to make some hard decisions.

In the midst of all the terror within Claire: Extended Cut, the developers have decided to put puzzles within the game. These are presented with very little to no guidance, or clues as to how to solve them, but thankfully they weren't too difficult, and seeing as how Claire seems to be running from unkillable shadow monsters, time is literally the most important thing you have. Another gripe is the game is not that clear as to how to equip your flashlight or even just change its batteries. Since the game only tells you this one time only, you get the feeling that something so simple would have provided a great deal of assistance, especially coming from the basic lighter.


Even though Claire: Extended Cut is a pixelated 2D game, the graphics aren't that bad. If you enjoy a retro feel to the multitude of different areas within a hospital, then this game is right up your alley. Sadly though the soundtrack leaves a lot to be desired, but the sound effects really helped pull the game's sound through. When you are close to an enemy you'll hear your dog growl, your heartbeat pound, and the music will swell (which is what you would expect from any horror media); however, the music is what gets the big thumbs down. They could have stripped the soundtrack down to literally just ambient background noise and let your mind run wild with the various noises and it would have been far superior to what is there now. Thanks to the execution of the sound I'm actually quite thankful that there is no voice acting, just text input.

Should you plunk down $14.99 + tax for Claire: Extended Cut? Unfortunately dear readers, the answer is no. Claire: Extended Cut sadly takes an iconic horror setting and tries hard, but it fails to deliver a quality survival horror experience. Sure, there are some good points, but the negatives far outweigh any good you can find. This is truly a saddening because the potential was there, but the execution was not. A few slight improvements, should there be a sequel, would make a world of difference in making a sub-par survival horror game turn into a pants-wetting fright fest.




Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.5 / 10
Sound: 6.5 / 10

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