Sometimes he caught himself listening to the sound of his own voice. He thought that in her eyes he would ascent to an angelical stature; and, as he attached the fervent nature of his companion more and more closely to him, he heard the strange impersonal voice which he recognized as his own, insisting on the soul’s incurable loneliness. We cannot give ourselves, it said: we are our own. – James Joyce, Dubliners
Ireland. A country full of history, dark and mythical. Where under the shadow of imperialism lies one of the more ancient surviving cultures to this day. It’s here where Montague’s Mount takes place and though the location is stunning and unique, the game however, lacks in many things that its granular film filter cannot simply hide.
A first-person exploration horror game, the feeling is most similar to the recent remake of Dear Esther. Waking up on a stormy beach front, amnesiac and alone, you wander forward in search of some vague truth. This is not my attempt at poetry, the game remains vague for a good portion of the beginning turning curiosity into banality around the 3rd mysterious voice-over that still has yet to explain anything about my character’s motivation. It is such that the amnesia aspect of the character is less a narrative element than it is an easy and annoying replacement for actual story telling.
The game looks fairly interesting with small details, like reading text in real-time, is always appreciated. To clarify, you can only read by approaching the text and deciphering it in close proximity. This is all fine and well except the game includes this grainy film filter that makes the game look like an old, black-and-white film. It’s cool except it cuts visibility by like 60%. Turning it off is literally night and day. The game looks pitch black with it on, while the world is illuminated by moonlight with it off. It’s outrageous how much the filter hurts the game in terms of visibility that it almost becomes a handicap at times.
Other aspects of the gameplay are similarly hampered with puzzles that remain glorified fetch quests at times and the pace in which your character walks (slower than a snail) makes backtracking the most dreaded aspect of this horror game. Also the auto-save checkpoint system makes particularly long puzzles a mandatory slog lest you lose all your progress.
The most interesting thing about the game is and remains the setting. With voice-over done with authentic Irish accent, and Gaelic the default language (with subtitles underneath), the game lovingly tries to weave an Irish narrative.
Montague’s Mount tries and succeeds in regards to locale and atmosphere. However on a technical level that actively hampers enjoyment, I can’t find it in me to forgive a game that so thoroughly captured my interest then tried its best to make the experience as difficult as possible.
[+Beautiful atmosphere][+Authentically Irish, if that doesn’t sound too touristy][-Granular filter only hampers the experience in the long-run][-Your pace is slower than running paint][-Puzzles aren’t very fun or logical][-Narrative begins dragging early in the game]