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I ran into Kholat during my daily excursion into PlayStation Youtube channel. The trailer piqued my interest, and in no time at all, I was going through the internet learning as much about the game as possible. A survival horror game based on a Real Life incident, narrated by Sean Bean. Kholat was right up my ally.

After spending 4-5 days into the game though I both begrudge and appreciate Kholat . Its very limited in what it offers to the player. Running is your only option, exploration is completely based on your sense of direction and the story is abstracted to say the least. And yet Kholat tries and succeeds in creating desperation, anticipation and thrill in an open world.


Detailed Kholat Review

(+) Based On a True Story

The game is based on Dyatlov Pass incident. You are put in the shoes of the investigator who has decided to find out what happened to the 9 students during that fateful time. The game involves you exploring the Dyatlov pass around Kholat picking up notes and information about what “truly” happened. The game focuses on supernatural causes and soon you find yourself running from monsters while trying to find the truth.

(-) I Walk Alone

Kholat does not believe in hand-holding. Right from the opening sequence where you find yourself in train station in an (what looks like) abandoned town, you need to find your own way. The real game begins when you arrive at your first camp. But it does not become easier from there. Exploration and navigation is the back bone of Kholat and the game trusts you to find your own way. You have a map with some co-ordinates and some landmarks marked on it, you have a compass and you have a flashlight. The map doesn’t even show your current position, so its all upto your sense of direction to navigate the map and move the story forward.

Every time you reach a landmark. A recreation of the original event is shown with some crazy filters
Every time you reach a landmark. A recreation of the original event is shown with some crazy filters

While I did enjoy this new kind of challenge in the beginning of the game. It got tiring in the middle, when I was constantly losing my way. However the open world is not particularly huge and soon I was recognizing landmarks and paths by habit.

(+) The chills of Davloy

This is Kholat ‘s way of drawing you in, of having you at your full attention so it can spook you at the most opportune moment. The actual spooky moments are few and far between, with super-natural monsters chasing you from time to time. But Kholat ‘s strong point is in its environment. You are utterly alone in the mountains. The howling of the wind and your own movement the only source of sound. Any disruption and you find yourself looking around to see if someone is following you. Its even more tense when you are walking up or down ridges, or crawling under crevices and into tunnels. Kholat creates the feeling that your alone, re-enforces it until your are immersed in navigation, and then makes you doubt it. Kudos!

The camp. About the only place you feel safe in Kholat
The camp. About the only place you feel safe in Kholat

(-) One does not simply hire Sean Bean

As is well known, Sean Bean voice the narrator in the game. His monologues though are few and sudden. So much so, that they surprised me a few times. Also I am still not a 100% if we are Sean Bean or are we following Sean Bean who was following the students; and at this point I am too afraid to ask.

The progression of the story is based on how much exploration is achieved by the player, and is not sequential in any way. There is no other mode in the game, so it offers very little on the replayablity front. The visuals are okaish and the use of minimal colors let the game run smoothly. You can’t see your feet or hands even when you are running, but you can hear yourself panting. All of these are artistic licenses though and I do not hold them against the game at all.


Unlike most survival horror games Kholat is best played with a friend, who can help you navigate the map. Kholat walks a fine line between a Walking simulator and a survival horror game, and to a lot it may appeal as the former. The open world and the directionless naviagtion does dilute the effect of the game a bit. Though its compensated in part with the setting, the sound-design, and some very creepy voice over. Ultimately though Kholat holds your interest because its picks a very interesting event and weaves a story around it. Play it for that.

(+) Excellent Envoirnment
(-) Navigation is difficult
(+) Interesting Story
(-) No Replayability
(+) Sean Bean Voice


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