Claire: Extended CutOverview -
'Claire' was released on PC in July 2014 by Texas-based Hailstorm Games. The PS4/XB1/Vita 'Extended Cut' is now available.
The exaggerated pixel is a controversial format I know, but in this case 'Claire' shows off some decent work. While they may not be frightening in terms of gameplay, some of her shadow enemies have an unsettling appearance onscreen. Shadow pincers and tentacles emanate from the shadows, sometimes sporting glowing eyes to telegraph their location and sometimes being nearly invisible. The 'Extended Cut' deepens the shadows and lighting, but admittedly it's hard to polish up chunky pixels to a noticeable degree. The game is very dark and difficult to raise the gamma, as you can see from our screens.
The game has pretty good audio, especially in the realm of creature sound effects and overall haunted hospital ambiance. Claire's heartbeat rises in volume as she gets scared, which is effective when paired with controller vibration. The dynamic score also helps the tension, such as it is.
Pixelated survival horror is not a bad idea and has been done successfully by games like 'Lone Survivor'. 'Claire', however, has trouble. It relies too much on being lost, both in terms of interaction and narrative drive. Even if it had a more interesting protagonist, the game's inconsistent ability to remain scary holds it back.
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