Thursday, June 14, 2018

Unbelievable

Is it possible for a game to do almost everything wrong and still be somewhat playable? I mean commit cardinal gaming sins and yet still function as a game? Almost.

Past Cure is a 'game' by Phantom 8 Studios. Phantom 8's resume includes not have a functioning website, having no mention of Giant Bomb, and Past Cure. It a wonder that they ever got a game published, much less on PC and both major consoles. It is an absolute train wreck of an experience that makes decades old mistakes, turning it into the most unpleasant history lessons possible.

Right off the top it does not know what game it i trying to copy. The first stage is a nightmare sequence that makes the bad Silent Hills look like master classes in horror. It is a loop of about five rooms and populated with one enemy, copy/pasted over and over. They all die in one or two hits and nothing actually happens.

Then the protagonist wakes up, takes a few pills, answers the phone for some plot (and I use that term loosely) dump and sleep walks through a house for a few minutes. That's the whole level.

Level three takes on Max Payne, right down to the slow motion mechanic. It's terrible. Half way through it turns into a stealth game - the worst kind of stealth game - in which being spotted by the enemy is an instant fail and there is no way to tell what the enemies can see. Later there is more shooting, another two nightmare areas, and then the game is done.

It was so terrible that it was surreal. I could not believe that what I was playing was final code that was released on purpose and that could be purchased with real money. It was easily the worst game that I have played in the last several years, right up there with Alekhine's Gun in 2016. It was an experience that I wish on no one else.

Wait, forgot a few stolen plot points and other problems. There is a literal 'take the pill' moment, ala The Matrix. The one female character is placed directly into a metaphorical refrigerator moments after she is introduced. The second level consists of a dozen identical floors of a parking garage followed by a dozen identical floors of an office building. There are a total four enemy types, four weapons, and a single melee combo. The subtitles do not always match what is being said and what is being said makes zero sense.

Past Cure is the perfect storm of shitty game tropes held together by delusions of developer grandeur. It was jaw dropping in the same way a bad car accident is jaw dropping: you feel bad for looking, but you keep looking, because holy shit did you see that, that guy is fucking dead.

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