independent

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Past Cure - A mediocre game with a major identity problem

Past Cure (PC), 4/10

Chris Hayes - Game Review

Past Cure is a surprisingly bland game that never really does anything special, despite raising your hopes many times
Past Cure is a surprisingly bland game that never really does anything special, despite raising your hopes many times

Past Cure's sedentary 6 hour campaign plays out like a rushed essay that you hashed out the night before it was due - unfocussed and a myriad of good but underdeveloped ideas. Its difficult to pin down exactly what genre the developers were going for, is it a third-person shooter, a psychological horror, or a ham-fisted puzzle game?

To Past Cure's credit, there are moments of genuine intrigue peppered throughout. The tutorial level, for instance, is a nice exercise in mind-bending geometrical transformations and the first blossomings of the story do show a great deal of promise. Everything beyond these two saving graces, however, never amounts to anything more than narrative muddiness and confusion. To say this game as an identity problem would be a huge understatement.

The voice acting is perhaps the worst I've ever had the displeasure of experiencing outside of Far Cry 2. There is one particularly memorable scene where the protagonist finds himself suddenly asphyxiated. The gravity in his voice when delivering the line "why can't I breath?" was somewhat similar to what you imagine someone's voice to sound like when saying "why is there only one sock here when I put two in the wash?".

Graphically, this game flitters between looking like a showcase for the next Unreal Engine, to looking like a PS2-era Splinter Cell title. Some scenes are genuinely beautiful, while others - particularly any involving identikit parking garages and strip lighting - are almost hilariously bland.

Oddly, some of the better mechanics in the game only see the light of day once, never to resurface and seemingly forgotten by the developer's.

One such instance is the appearance of porcelain humanoids - ones you had seen previously only in nightmares. The protagonist must swallow some pills to restore his sanity and make them vanish, but only once. Inexplicably, this mechanic never resurfaces, and is one of a few examples of gameplay features that would have invigorated this lifeless game.

Past Cure is a surprisingly bland game that never really does anything special, despite many suggestions throughout the game that it is about to. This is the type of game you would have expected to see fifteen years ago, something just mediocre enough to slip off the shelves and into the consoles of kids who were yet to discover online reviews.

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