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Kholat Review

 CHEATfactor Game Review by:  Joe Sinicki Reviewed on: PC 
 

Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Kholat. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.

Kholat is playable evidence to the fact that one thing can't make a game great. Developer IMGN.PRO went out of their way to craft a unique and thrilling setting for their survival horror game that they seemingly forgot to add anything else of merit to the game, in fact it almost becomes the game's undoing. Kholat is like talking to a friend who wants to tell you a story but all it can remember is where it took place and just starts trying to piece it together while talking to you. It's a shame too because there are some great ideas at play here.

 
...based, at least on theory on a true story.
Kholat Review Screenshot
 

Kholat is based, at least on theory on a true story. In 1959 nine out of ten hikers were found dead in the Northern Ural Mountains in Russia. Though it's never been proven what actually happened, the hikers reportedly ran from their tents in the middle of the night to escape a threat. Though the bodies of the killed hikers showed no signs of struggle, some had injuries as serious as fractured skulls and broken ribs and what's perhaps most strange about the incident is that no tracks were found in the snow. The area where the incident occurred has been renamed Dylatov Pass after the group's leader Igor Dylatov. It's this area, the Dylatov pass that is by far the biggest star of the game as it's dark and snowy paths make a great setting for a survival horror game. You'll wander through trying to guess which way to go and the map isn't much help either since it doesn't tell you where you are and it's just a static map - you see the general area and are making guesses on which way to go based on the landmarks you see.

It's an interesting idea and adds realism to the game but the lack of an interactive map soon becomes a major part of the game's downfall. Kholat takes a lot of cues from games like Dear Esther and you're spending a lot of time just wandering through the environment and you're bound to get lost, the game wants you to but combine that with the fact that you're only able to save the game when you reach a campsite or find a journal entry and you can start to see the problem. I spent a lot of time retracing my steps and walking down the same paths I was just going down, which loses a lot of it's luster once you know where you're going. The only real threat in the game is this random spirit that shows up every once in a while. It just starts to take form in front of you and then starts to head towards you. A few times in spawned directly in front of me, causing instant death.

That's the main problem with Kholat - not much really happens at all. From time to time you'll stumble across some evidence and you'll see a vision of one of the killed hikers running from something but you're just kind of walking...to walk. You're supposed to be trying to find evidence as to what happened to the hikers themselves but that all feels few and far between. Why not throw in some real survival mechanics? Games like The Long Dark implemented this very well and it added a huge amount of drama to the game but nope - you're just walking. The entire time I was playing Kholat I felt like I was watching someone's home movies on repeat, there was just no point. The game's narrator tries to deliver the ending as if it's it's some sort of big reveal but it ended up being a big whimper more than anything else.

 
...the question of exactly who you're playing ...
Kholat Review Screenshot
 

Then there's the question of exactly who you're playing as in Kholat. You're not playing as one of the hikers that's for sure; so my initial thought was that you're playing as the investigator that went to the site to try to piece together the mystery, nope - the game makes it very clear that you're there after that investigation. So you're playing as...some...other...guy? It's more than bit confusing and feels completely unneccesary in the grand scope of the game. You're literally playing as the random guy who has nothing to do with the incident or the investigation, you're just a guy who happened to be there. If you're worried that this would take a lot of the drama out of the experience then you're right, it does and the game suffers heavily as a result.

When you boil Kholat down to it's core experience it just doesn't add up to anything it's trying to be. It's too boring to story based and lacks too many features to really be considered a survival horror game. What's left is an experience that tries to be too much to everyone and as a result becomes something that not many people will find use in. Khoalt could have been a remarkably well paced and driven game but instead it's an experience in how not to make a game.

 
Overall:  5/10 Presentation: 7 Gameplay: 4 
Lasting Appeal: 4 CHEATfactor: 0 
 
 
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