H.P. Lovecraft fans, prepare to feel the love. The folks over at Asmodee Digital and Artifacts Studio have worked out a nice little RPG game that takes you deep into the heart of the mechanics of madness. Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace takes the boardgames made popular by Fantasy Flight Games and places a well-executed tactics based RPG in your path.
In Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace, you begin by selecting a pre-made character from a cast of 12. Each comes with a complete backstory already set in place. Each of these characters have their unique abilities, strengths and weakness’s.
When you arrive at a mansion on a dark and stormy night you discover the dead body of a famous Professor of Astronomy… a woman with her toes deep in the occult. You are joined by a detective that sets out with you to find out who… or what was behind the death of the Professor. Murder most foul and all that!
Each level leads you deeper into the familiar niches of madness and fear. The levels are also undeniably H.P. Lovecraft. You will visit mansions, Universities and asylums each location’s architecture screams Lovecraft. As human assailants soon becomes monstrous, tentacled beasts from another world, your mind starts to slip. Each interaction has an effect on your sanity and trauma. These have long lasting effects on the narrative down the line.
Combat is done in classic turn-based tactics. The game has a classic feel. The atmosphere is undoubtedly the 1920’s and I like that the combat reflects that, it has a vintage feel about it. The turn-based combat is very stripped down to its roots. Melee attacks with bare fists and blunt instruments make up the close quarters combat. While, the long ranged combat is reserved for firearms and magic spells that are executed by way of magik manuscripts. It’s also exciting that if you’re character isn’t the very best at casting magic their spells sometimes have unexpected results. Sometimes these end up being beneficial to your party.
As the game goes on your party begins to grow in number. Each level calling for a different number of character allowed in level. This forces you to choose the characters best suited for the the particular level.
Arkham Horror does a great job with its resources and keeping them very scarce indeed. It really amps up the finality of the game and turns the otherwise plain RPG experience into survival horror outing.
Your sanity meter plays a large part of your survival. It becomes a matter of walking on eggshells since, even things like trying to find a way to unlock a desk and failing leads to an added notch in your insanity. The game plays it mostly fair with this as long as you are smart and resourceful with the items that you do find in the levels. Play it too brash and you will not be successful in your quest.
Graphics are descent on their own but the games suffers from stutters when the action gets moving too much. If there is too much movement, the resources that are pulled from an Xbox One Series X shouldn’t be enough to pull from the games graphics but it does, and it even managed to outright crash my game totally a few times. Luckily, it didn’t happen too much of the time but its definitely something that needs to be repaired with a future patch.
There is something relaxing about playing Arkham Horror. Even if its a survival horror, tactics RPG there is still something about the exploration parts of the game that are just nice to sit down to, sort of like getting comfortably wrapped in a good book.
Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace is a rich world full of Cthulhu mythos. It manages to keep you on the edge of your seat with its all too tense forced survival horror mechanics. The addition of classic turn-based combat in a game that undoubtedly has a classic feel to it takes the horror experience to the next level. The game takes the supernatural and the psychological and melds them into a nightmarish thing. A classic nightmarish thing.
Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace is available on Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.