Reviews - Updated on April 3, 2022

Arkham Horror, or Arkham Horror, is a board game inspired by Howard Lovecraft that has been around since 1987. The latest, most recent versions of the rules were released by the Fantasy Flight Games studio. She also owns the spin-off of the main board game – Mansions of Madness, where stories connected by a single scenario are told. That’s what the video game from Asmodee Digital was originally called, but eventually it turned into Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace. In any case, this is one of the rare computer adaptations of the popular desktop system. Naturally, questions arise: how exactly did the authors transfer the rules and how interesting is it to play?

The dashing 1926

Let’s start with adaptation accuracy. Mother’s Embrace, like the original, is dedicated to the investigation of the mysterious and terrible events that happen in 1926 in the city of Arkham, Massachusetts. And there, among other things, gates to other worlds open and there is a danger of the arrival of one of the ancient gods from the myths of Cthulhu. In this case, we are investigating the murder of an elderly lady and part-time professor of astronomy.

As in the original, the gameplay is a mixture of turn-based battles and the most detailed exploration of locations in search of key items, consumables and clues. The investigation is conducted by characters of different professions. At first – only one, then more and more join, and we choose who to take on the next mission. Someone is good at shooting with firearms, someone is better at using knives and fists, someone is strong in magic or starts to act faster than anyone else in battle (initiative bonus).

Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace: Обзор

At the start of the game, choose your first detective.

Plus, each has a branded amplification. For example, the federal Roland has an increased chance of inflicting critical damage, the gravedigger William, for obvious reasons, is especially resistant to various negative influences, and the parapsychologist Agatha gives everyone an increase in initiative.

Detectives also differ in available skills, such as logic, physical strength, search, social and others. They will be needed when studying some subjects and situations. For example, you came across a closed cabinet, and if there is a person in the group with the skill of searching or physical strength, then we will be prompted how best to open it.

The same is true if we meet a frightened character, and there is a lady in the group who is experienced in social interaction – she, for example, will offer to calm him down. Everything is about the same as in the original desktop. But if there are no people with such skills, then you have to guess the option; in the desktop, the system is more honest and deeper – there is a skill check all the time and there is no guessing game.

Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace: Обзор

Here we will act randomly.

Are you out of your mind or not?

But in Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace, regular sanity checks are in place. Each character has a stock of this very sanity and an indicator of resistance to the impact on the mind (Mental Resistance). And this is very important, because every time they see something terrible, for example, corpses, find photos or books that are not of the most pleasant content, then a sanity check is activated. And if the character fails it, then the “mind reserves” also decrease. And when they end, a person receives psychological trauma – his initiative in battle drops, or the chance of critical damage decreases. Or he becomes addicted to cigarettes – these items in the game increase sanity, but harm health.

Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace: Обзор

Heroes constantly see blood, corpses and monsters.

Injuries can stack up to three per character, and then they become more severe. To remove the same injury (only one at a time) is possible only if you do not take a person to the next task and let him rest.

But that’s not all. As in the board game, Mother’s Embrace accumulates a “Mythos Clock” – it is increased by unsuccessful actions both in combat and in other cases, such as the wrong choice of how to open a box or communicate with a character. And if this level reaches the maximum, then the whole group will receive a negative effect. It’s especially frustrating if it’s an increased chance of failing the next sanity check when the characters are already on edge. As a rule, only once per investigation it will be possible to find a pocket watch with which you can reset the counter of myths.

Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace: Обзор

But such an effect does not seem fair at all …

Not exactly the same, but still interesting

As you can see, it seems that all the main components are transferred from the original. Only they still have less depth – this applies to skill checks and turn-based battles. In fights, by and large, it doesn’t really matter which character and what is stronger – everything mainly depends on the weapon used. And the set of tactical functions is rather banal – attack, movement, observation mode, and a few more.

Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace: Обзор

Overwatch is naturally useful if someone has a gun in their hands.

Therefore, connoisseurs of the desktop “Arkham Horror” are likely to be not very pleased with the computer adaptation. But the rest and those who first encounter such mechanics can enjoy. The plot is intriguing in a good way – there are sects here, and you have to visit the Arkham mental hospital, burn the corpses of monsters, protect students, and rescue friends from a trap. That is, everything is according to standards and according to the canon, but still the story and characters are well written – I want to know how it all ends.

Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace: Обзор

There are also boss battles.

And in the gameplay itself, tension is felt all the time – mainly due to constant sanity checks and threats to increase the myth counter with their actions. There are, of course, many conventions, which, for example, make it much easier to ignore frightened or injured people – they have a bad effect on our sensitive wards. Nevertheless, the game is challenging and stimulating to carefully examine the environment in search of items that would alleviate the situation.

Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace: Обзор

Weapons in battle gradually wear out, and then break.

Some people still complain about performance and interface problems, but I did not notice anything like that. Yes, the graphics here are not the most modern, but the environment pleases with an abundance of details and a seasoned atmosphere on the verge of aristocracy and madness.

Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace: Обзор

Every room is full of “points of interest”.

In fact, there is nothing surprising in the fact that in the video game adaptation of a complex desktop system, developers go for simplifications – that’s what it is and adaptation, in computer versions it is almost always the case. But the authors of Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace managed the main thing – to captivate the story and characters, convey the atmosphere and make us feel the tension that people would feel investigating terrible events in the city where one of the Ancients is about to appear.

Pros: interesting plot; intelligent gameplay; an amusing system of sanity checks and psychological trauma maintains tension; an exciting process of exploring locations in search of useful items; atmosphere of the original; detailed study of the environment; expressive voice; suitable music.

Cons: in comparison with the desktop, there are simplifications in the gameplay; the combat system is simple, although not all battles are simple.

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