Past Cure Preview
Past Cure Preview
Indie developer Phantom 8 Studio brings us a mix of stealth and combat
Posted: 02/07/18 | Category: Preview | Developer: Phantom 8 Studio | Platform: Windows, Playstation 4, Xbox one

This represents a preview of Past Cure from Berlin-based indie developer Phantom 8 Studio. It's the studio's debut tile.

The preview offers demonstrations of two different sets of gameplay mechanics. Few details about the game's backstory or narrative are revealed.

I played on PC (mouse and keyboard). I'm left-handed, and there appears to be no way to remap control keys. As a result, getting around in the preview was awkward for me.

There are four difficulty levels -- Easy, Normal, Hard and Nightmare. The game is played in 3rd-person perspective.

As the preview began, I found myself in a dark maze-like prison. Well actually, I think I might have been beneath a prison, in a secret facility in which experiments had been carried out on human subjects.

I had one objective: to escape. I was compelled to proceed using stealth, as I had no weapons.

I received guidance from the game concerning actions to be taken. Further, player-character Ian spoke to me, making observations and suggesting courses of action.

I was also able to use Ian's supernatural abilities (time manipulation and astral projection with a hint of psychokinesis), which he gained through involuntary experimentation.

These skills must be employed judiciously, as each use causes some of Ian's sanity to slip away. The game provides blue pills to help with this problem. There are also adrenaline syringes for dealing with injuries. These items are scattered throughout the game world.

As I explored, I discovered I wasn't alone. Nasty-looking humanoids patrolled the halls, and I got the distinct impression they wanted to kill me. Also, I found disturbing words and drawings on the walls.

There are several puzzles to be solved in this part, among them a logic-based riddle and a rudimentary slider puzzle.

After finishing up in the prison, I was taken to a hotel (also a maze-like structure). Here, I was tasked with finding a specific room and stopping the sale of Nexus, a drug Ian badly needs.

Here, action and combat (including melee attacks) are highlighted. The hotel's corridors are crawling with armed guards. Time manipulation comes in handy for dispatching them. It's fairly easy to hit someone who's moving a lot more slowly than you are.

I found this part of the preview, which is shorter than the first one, to be somewhat repetitious: sneak/hide-shoot-kill, sneak/hide-shoot-kill. After the creepiness and subtlety of the first part, it was sort of a let-down.

I'll admit that I'm partial to psychological horror -- "kill everybody" scenarios, not so much. Once I killed everybody and reached the hotel room in question, the preview ended.

Past Cure is a good-looking game. The graphics are crisp and detailed, and the character models are lifelike, having been created using motion capture. Sounds -- particularly those in the prison -- are quite effective.

The music is unobtrusive. It's suitably atmospheric in the prison, and goes well with the action in the hotel. For those of you who like Beethoven, there's some of that as well.

I found Ian's voice and delivery unusual and appealing. It's calm and low-key rather than loud and hysterical. I like that.

I actually feel bad for Ian now. His life has been ridiculously messed with, leaving him tormented. I don't blame him for seeking revenge.

It's my hope that the final version of Past Cure will contain more of the kind of atmosphere presented in the prison and less shoot-em-up stuff. I will say that the game is an interesting mix of genres that could appeal to a wide variety of gamers. We'll find out what is actually what when the game is released February 23rd on Windows (Steam ), PS4 and Xbox One.


Specials from Digital Download
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