I clearly remember when Dani offered me this title and I hesitated to accept it. Since I was my total shit, the lack of time didn’t let me decide through to the end. There are few times that I miss a great game due to simple suspicion or wrong setting of my preferences. Despite everything, I finally accepted the task (thank God!) And took Caroline on a trip through the crazy corridors of the hospital. From Chile, Dual Effect & Abstract Digital, with the mind in Raccoon City, bring us Tormented Souls. A true miracle that reminds us that not every time that has passed has been worse.
As I said before, let’s play Caroline, a young teacher who is shocked after receiving a letter with a photo of two girls. His nightmares prevent him from continuing his quiet life and that’s why he decides to go to the broadcasting site. A gloomy mansion that functions as a hospital on a strange island. Maybe going there wasn’t the best decision of her life because once she gets there she’ll be beaten and knocked out.
We’ll wake up some time later in a dirty bathtub hooked up with a hose inserted into our mouth and to top it all … they took one eye … one bloody eye! There are days when it’s best not to get out of bed, Caroline. Still, we need to know what the hell is going on here, so let’s pack up our things and investigate.
The game is developed with a fixed camera and a chimera of control between free and tank, depending on whether we are using a crosshead (tank) or a joystick (free), something like what is in perhaps the best example of the present see is medium survival genre, Resident Evil 1 Remake. And I warn you that the mythical Capcom saga will appear a lot in these lines, because Tormented Souls is a love letter for the genre. A survival horror that drinks a bit of Silent Hill and a lot of Resident Evil.
Moving around the villa / hospital will literally be a horror. The atmosphere is terrifying from the first minute. With a soundtrack that will surely sound familiar to us (again) due to its similarity to Resdient Evil 2 and with some creepy noises, such as furniture crawling, strange grunts, footsteps … uff bad roll. But the worst will no doubt be our first enemy … the darkness.
Here the darkness literally kills you, gradually driving us crazy and we die. As long as nothing can be seen, we must therefore equip ourselves with a lighter, which means that we cannot carry weapons at these times. So dark more enemies … fun guaranteed. Fortunately, we always find a small area on the stage to light ourselves up and, thanks to this, defend ourselves with gun in hand.
As I said, the game, like any survival worthwhile, is based on the discovery of rooms of the Hospital of Secrets. In the beginning, everything will be moderately easy knowing which doors are closed and which are not, which makes us an explicit roadmap. It gets complicated when we arrive at the main hall as we open more doors each time and it becomes more difficult for us to know which direction to go or how to clear the rest of the streets.
The shortcuts and the puzzles must not be missing and are available. The puzzles are the subject of debate as they are of a complexity that has not been enjoyed / suffered in years. Here you could say that they are cryptic, which in many cases leads to really far-fetched solutions … but … don’t we want that? I mean now I am thinking of my beloved Resident Evil Village and it is evident that it has lost the magic of puzzles that are little more than anecdotal and very simple. So I take my hat off to the macro puzzles in this Tormented Souls.
(And damn it, if someone gets stuck on god level, what happened to me in a certain cash register, because we have the guides and gameplays for that, right?)
Another highlight are their enemies, all of which are terrifying. Not so much for its complex mechanics as they are pretty simple, but for the good work of survival. Here both the healing and the ammunition are noticeable due to the lack of it. This is also reinforced by the inclusion of the classic storage system. We’re going to need tapes to save the game, and be careful we don’t have too many of them.
So imagine you’ve taken a great turn, solved a puzzle, and not saved an hour with the nonsense, now some monsters show up and wow … we don’t have too many bullets … friends, that’s the bloody horror that can be experienced in a video game, a horror that your time is dead and I doubt that we will unfortunately see blockbusters again following these paths. God bless the indies.
Speaking of blockbusters … the latest “trends” in horror games are also present, and to be honest, that’s what I didn’t like the least … By that I mean the typical poltergeists that give you a slight scare with macabre animations on stage. .. which not only contribute nothing, but also break the realism that can be found here. And finally, the invincible enemy could not be overlooked, who happens to show up to annoy. Honestly, that’s not that terrible or overly justified.
Finally, I have to talk about the technical part. And I can’t help but think of my dear Sergio, and every time we’ve talked on the Invisible Movement podcast about how we’re going to see more and more indie games with graphics. And boy was it true. The scenarios look fabulous on PlayStation 5 and every object we look at in detail shows the care and quality on the part of the developers. The only weak point, that of character modeling, my friends will be the Achilles’ heel of these games. It seems like two generations are shaking hands. PlayStation 2 characters overlap with PlayStation 5’s ray tracing. And of course, it’s a bit of a “pop”. But in any case, I would not have opted for any other artistic style, as the realism of the Chilean proposal in all elements is a perfect setting for this macabre adventure. Looking to the future, they should now be more concerned with the short cinematic clips that appear in the game, as the first ones are compressed in a pretty dodgy codec, resulting in poor video quality, this will surely be fixed with the mandatory patch.
Even so, Tormented Souls brutally charmed me and made me remember the afternoons of the 1990s with my brother when I toured first the Spencer Mansion and then the Raccoon City Police Station and hugged his arm because of my young age. For me it is priceless. And I affirm with certainty that anyone who enjoyed survival horror in their day will find in this title a ray of hope in a genre that seems more dead than the creatures who play it. Thanks for this great game.