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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The main character is chasing a story by investigating the hotel. While part of it is a search for the truth, his primary motivation is originally fame. This quickly changes to a simple matter of surviving. This carries over to the secondary character as well, whose experiences with the hotel are shown through the player's eyes.
Positive Role Models
The characters don't get too much opportunity to develop as they're generally more concerned with figuring out how to survive or figuring out what purpose they serve for being drawn into the hotel's secrets.
There's no option for choosing your protagonist and most of the characters you face are monstrous creatures, cult members, or other assorted foes.
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Ease of Play
The action portions are pretty straightforward first-person shooter mechanics. The difficulty lies in the puzzle solving and inventory management. Oftentimes, you might not have enough firepower to fight your way out of danger and will be forced to try and hide to survive.
Violence & Scariness
Everything about this game, from the initial set-up to the plot developments to the environment and, obviously, the monsters, screams horror. It's meant to terrify the player. There's also plenty of violence, including lots of blood, viscera, gore, and dismembered limbs. Some of the cutscenes also feature close-up, graphic depictions of brutal violence.
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Profanity, such as "f--k" and "s--t," is frequently used, whether spoken aloud by the characters or read in letters or other clues uncovered throughout the story.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Bottles of alcohol and the like can be found around the hotel as a sort of set dressing, though they're not actively used.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Fobia: St. Dinfna Hotel is a survival horror game available on Xbox Series, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Windows based PCs. The game's atmosphere and environment are meant to scare the player and include graphic scenes of violence, including dismemberment, as well as brutal depictions of violence, blood, and gore. Players also use a small arsenal of realistic weapons, such as pistols and shotguns, throughout the game to fight against grotesque monsters, human cult members, and other enemies. The game also makes frequent use of profanity, both in spoken dialogue and onscreen in subtitles and in text from different letters and other items discovered as part of the story.
Is It Any Good?
Fear is a primal emotion, which is true whether you're a fan of getting chills up your spine or someone who cringes at the slightest bump in the night. And a lot of the fear that comes from the horror genre has to do with atmosphere, something Fobia: St. Dinfna Hotel isn't lacking. From the opening prologue to the final chapter, the game manages to frequently build an overwhelming feeling of dread alongside some imagery that will serve as nightmare fuel for players. It's in these moments that Fobia is at its best. The problem is that what seems like a great horror story tends to get tripped up in both its gameplay and its identity.
Fobia is, at its core, a great horror story. Unfortunately, the delivery of that story tends to get muddled by trying to be a little bit of everything else as well. There are puzzles stacked upon puzzles that the player needs to solve to advance the plot. Many of these feel contrived and forced, like players are trapped in a string of escape rooms with tidbits of story offered as a reward before moving on. These sections of the game aren't remotely scary and kill the building sense of terror. In between these puzzle filled areas are some basic action sequences, with players shooting their way through or hiding in the shadows from the creatures, cultists, and other dark forces hunting them down. The shooting feels basic, but at least there's tension as players have to choose between fight or flight, risking being ill-equipped for what may lay in wait around the next corner. Finally, layering all of this over a strange time-hopping framework makes it all the more difficult to follow any flow to plot. None of this keeps Fobia from giving players a good scare, but the thrill doesn't linger for long.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.