Now that Kholat comes to Steam, we have been surprised at the thought of the few games based on real stories that come to us. This independent title is based on the so-called The Dyatlov Pass incident, a mysterious event that took place in early February 1959 in the Ural Mountains, where nine hikers were killed in mysterious circumstances in the "Death Mountain" for reasons yet they have managed to be explained. This event is particularly known for paranormal enthusiasts who link it with possible alien encounters or the elusive yeti.
Apparently, hikers fled in terror, slitting the tent in which they were staying from the inside, and trying to escape from this mysterious entity running barefoot and unsheltered 30 degrees below zero. All their bodies were frozen, although two of the dead showed signs of violence, including broken ribs and skulls, and four of the bodies had significant levels of radiation. You see, this is a case of the strangest, and ideal atmosphere for a title of this nature.
In Search of Truth
Kholat is a survival adventure game in first person with a significant component of terror, but quite timely. In the game, we dive into the said Death Mountain, several years after the Dyatlov Pass incident, in order to try to find out what really happened there. We stress that, although the basis on which work is real, the story told is an invention of developers.
This title presents an open mountain environment in which we orient ourselves only with a compass and a map is updated to find key points. As we say, we aim to discover the history, so the progression system relies on notes spread across the stage, usually related to some kind of evidence that illustrates the truth that lies behind the mystery. At first glance, we see some highlights in the environment that are clear candidates to hide a track, even if we explore in depth will find rewards in other not so obvious.
After a short introduction that serves to introduce the subject and transport us to the scene, began to survive. Our recommendation is that you get used as soon as possible to work with the map and compass from the beginning, because eventually they will become something essential to waste no time turning around. Something Kholat does very well is to create that feeling of being lost, can quickly lose the route almost without realizing it.
Another thing Kholat does rightly is to create the feeling of paranormal, creating tension both with different events that happen around us as sounds we never know where they come from. There are also much more intense shocks, ranging from slamming behind us others who obviously prefer not to reveal not to spoil the surprise. In Kholat much emphasis is to discover, and we thought it would have more of a disservice to its prospective users.
Now that we mention the discovery, something that we liked is that Kholat not take us by the hand in no time, and let the player discover its possibilities. Certainly there are some details would have appreciated the explanation that at least mention (as the quick trip, which would have saved more than a walk), but overall we think rightly bring adventure that component so important to the experience.
We also want to make clear that is focused primarily on exploring game where terror plays a secondary role. Moreover, being an open stage, it is difficult to maintain constant tension, and often simply we had a lost time, looking at the compass and the map and nothing particularly frightening happens. This also plays against the development time because it can not successfully measure your pace and can offer the tedious stretches rubbing, breaking its setting.
Finally, note that is quite demanding with save points, and until we find a camp we are fully exposed to lose our progress. The game can be completed between 5 and 6 hours on average, but it is not uncommon to lose half an hour of progress (if not more) by random or, of course, be a victim of one of the dangers of adventure fall. We understand that is part of survival, but occasionally it has made us somewhat annoying.
Kholat is based on the Unreal Engine 4 for providing very competent visuals, with some pictures that reach even impress. Everything is recreated with confidence, and find locations that are rumored, would have been present on the Mountain of Death, as a secret government military installations in which they have been tested. And it works well, with proper optimization and fairly free of bugs.
With sound, Kholat highlights even more. As we told you, one of its voices is provided by Sean Bean, the famous English actor known for his roles as Boromir in The Lord of the Rings and Ned Stark in Game of Thrones. It also features the voice of Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, voice actress and known to be responsible for many of the songs from the soundtracks of the Silent Hill saga. The narrative is not particularly bright, but it certainly is more than up to it.
We also really liked the use of sound effects and music. Those are vital for the development of the game, even, at times, to be our eyes on the adventure, so we recommend you enjoy with volume and, if possible, with headphones or a good sound system. Music also accompanied rightly know, always appearing at the right time.
A Recommendable Adventure Game
The truth is that Kholat seems attractive and only by the setting you have chosen, but other hidden a correct and solid game, without being particularly bright, get amuse and entertain, besides giving us a scare. Not going to take place history, but if you want a simple way of exploration, with a touch of survival horror and more, Kholat is emerging as a good choice.