Recently, I was given the opportunity and pleasure to review title Past Cure by Phantom 8 Studio (Developer/Publisher). Past Cure puts you into the mind of former soldier Ian, being haunted by the ghosts of his past lab experiments and by his mind creating the thin line of what’s real and what isn’t. Past Cure pushes you to face the problems of reality and your psyche while trying to link together what’s missing of your known timeline.
The graphics of Past Cure look really good in the cutscenes, the characters look detailed and fleshed out with care and appreciation. However, once out of the cutscenes, the graphics of Past Cure begin to look grainy, less detailed, and certain stuff on characters either begin to fade out in the camera movement or disappear completely. But I will say that the inner mind sequences are what truly shine graphically. The gritty and dark horror style is great for those Inception-like moments. It’s a night and day difference between what you see from a cutscene to real time as all of the detailing and other notes of what makes Past Cure look good completely goes away over time.
The graphics get a 6.5
The story of Past Cure is confusing and lacking actual explanations for key characters of the story. It leaves you asking questions like “Who’s Sophia?”, “Is Marcus an actual friend or enemy?”, “Where did this person that only Ian sees come from?”. Nothing in Past Cure is properly explained up front. You have to either piece them together via notes from various levels or be completely left in the dark as nothing is explained; not even the nightmares and dream sequences have explanations as to why Ian suffers them. The story doesn’t tell you much of anything at times and will confuse you as much as it did me.
The story gets a 4.
The gameplay of Past Cure has both good and bad elements behind it. The central powers that Ian gets throughout the story are actually nifty to use; from being able to Astral Project to see enemies and disable cameras to being able to slow down time and skew perception, both mid-puzzle and during combat. The powers themselves get utilized really nicely throughout. Although, you learn a new power that’s forgotten about mid-game due to you only being able to use it twice in that segment and nowhere else later on.
However, less stellar aspects of gameplay in Past Cure include the shooting and hand to hand mechanics themselves. They’re clunky and messy. The shooting reticule pops off and leans slightly to the left and generally is too loose as the camera will fly around a lot. The hand to hand combat isn’t good as the timing is off key when hitting both the melee button and the counter command prompt.
The gameplay gets 5.5
The audio of Past Cure is possibly the worst part of the entire game. The voice acting is bland and mediocre, the actors aren’t into their characters and they sound as if they just want to get it over with and be anywhere else at this point. If not that, then the sound generally cuts out during certain gunfights and even in the final boss fight itself. It isn’t enjoyable outside of a good orchestral mix that’s playing in the background at times. But besides that, the audio isn’t anything to cherish within this title.
The audio gets a 4.
Past Cure at first starts off with a lot of great ideas and presents itself in an interesting manner with beautiful cutscenes and a horror like introduction, but once you begin to unravel the full package that is Past Cure, it mainly leaves you with disappointment. However, the powers are cool to both use and see.
The puzzles of this game are mind-boggling and the horror/thriller elements is really good. However, the game has too much bad elements to ignore, from the poor real-time graphics to the clunky gunplay and terrible audio. What could have been a special and unique game doesn’t find its footing due to rushed or simply poor development. If you’re interested in this title, I wouldn’t stop you from buying it, but be wary what you see isn’t always what you’re going to get.