Fobia St Dinfna Hotel is a new Survivor Horror FPS game developed by Pulsatrix Studios and published by Maximum Games. You play as Roberto Leite Lopes a reporter traveling to Santa Catarina after a tip from a friend brings him to the hotel to investigate missing persons and reports of strange occurrences within.
Let’s talk about the Elephant in the Room
Knock off Resident Evil? Fobia’s presentation takes a huge chunk of its inspiration from the old and new styles of Resident Evil games and mixes the best of both worlds. In a lot of aspects, the mechanics between Resident Evil and Fobia are almost identical. Even to the point that my wife was watching me play and even asked me herself if it was in fact a new Resident Evil game altogether.
Which is a fair assumption to ask. When looking at Fobia you can instantly see how these two can be compared. These similarities are both what I like about the game and what I dislike about it. Fobia loses a lot of its own identity being too similar to the likes of the new Resident Evil games. From the combining system. To inventory management screens. Even the item box and the Save Room music. All are heavily inspired by Resident Evil.
How does Fobia St Dinfna Hotel Play?
Fobia’s gameplay is heavily based on exploring the environments. Seeking out clues to complete different puzzles to advance the main story. One of the key items that stick out in Fobia is the camera that you find. When using this camera it gives Roberto the ability to see an alternate reality. With it, you’ll find paths that were once blocked now open, items restored from the past, and much more.
There are dozens of puzzles all with unique twists to them and it’s one of Fobia’s highlights. Whereas Roberto is not advanced when it comes to combat. It makes sense seeing as Roberto is a reporter and not a warrior. There are upgrades that you can find for your arsenal to help you be more proficient along the way.
The combat is simplistic, the best comparison I can give it is to the likes of Resident Evil 7. But the enemy variety is one thing that Fobia is lacking. There are only a couple of main enemies that you’ll find yourself fighting in between the few boss fights that the game has to offer. Outside of a few encounters, you will face, the rest of your time will be spent exploring every little corner finding the next item needed to complete the next puzzle you face. A lot of the puzzles presented in Fobia are really unique and challenging as well. Completing each puzzle always gave me that sense of “YES” I figured it out moment and chasing that feeling again is what kept me intrigued and going for the next puzzle.
Isolation Looks so Good
Fobia runs off of Unreal Engine 4 and looks absolutely stunning. There were multiple times through my playthrough that I had to stop myself momentarily to really take in the world that the devs built with this here. The hotel is massive and there is no detail spared in making it feel eerie and that the player is stuck in isolation. Minimal contact with any other character in the game heightens this feeling even more. Fobia excels in making the player feel like they are on this journey all on their own with little to no help.
The Highlight of Fobia
The biggest appeal to me for Fobia would have to be the lack of hand-holding that it presents. You really have to search all through this beautiful big hotel to figure out the puzzles and figure out how to advance to the next stage in the story. It requires you to learn the layout of the hotel as you may have to backtrack to past locations with new items acquired to then go and unlock other areas that were once blocked off to the player.
As recent Resident Evil games have moved away from complex puzzle solving, this is where Fobia excels and captures the best.
Is Fobia St. Dinfa Hotel for You?
While there is a story here. I found that to be another weak spot for the title as there is a lack of cutscenes to spell it all out. The player mostly gets the backstory through collecting letters and notes left around the levels that go more in-depth with the story than what is put out there right in front of the player to grasp.
So this question depends on what you as a gamer enjoy. If you love survival horror games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Absolutely!
If you don’t like heavy puzzle-solving or like self-driven exploration then maybe not so much.
Logan Spent 11 hours exploring Fobia St Dinfna Hotel unlocking 23/29 trophies along the way to the game’s conclusion. The game was purchased on the PlayStation 5 by the Reviewer themself. Come check him out on Twitter here!
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