Inventory, save system and mechanics – these are the ingredients that were selected to create the perfect horror game inspired by the classic Resident Evil games. But professors from Dual Effect and Abstract Digital Works accidentally added one more ingredient to the mix: Compound X, also known as the mass of bugs and underdevelopment! And thus Tormented Souls was born! A little fame game that decided to get promising announcements on the disks of consoles and computers of many players to distract them from other good titles!
And a little more seriously – Chilean studio Dual Effect together with Abstract Digital Works created a horror film, which, according to the announcement, was to be a tribute to such classics of the genre as the first installments of Resident Evil, Alone in the Dark or even Silent Hill. In fact, the inspiration can be seen at a glance… and not much else. But let’s start from the beginning.
The image quality during cutscenes is overwhelming.
The plot in Tormented Souls, i.e. the game stumbles over its own legs from the very beginning
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After starting the game, we see a scene where the main character, Caroline Walker, receives a mysterious letter with a photo of two girls inside. At the same time, an amazing turn of events takes place in the form of the protagonist’s headache. A migraine makes the heroine decide to go to the Wildberger Mansion – a large, abandoned mansion that has been turned into a hospital. Yes, that’s exactly how we get to where the rest of the game takes place. The creators apparently stated that a few minutes of stuttering cutscene is enough for us to understand the motives of Caroline’s actions. The woman, however, is not warmly welcomed in Wildberger, because she is stunned at the entrance, and consequently wakes up after a week in an old bathtub, hooked up to a mysterious apparatus. Caroline had lost all memories during that time… and an eye, by the way. This is where our adventure in a terrifying mansion begins, and our goal is to find out who we are at all, what we are doing here and what secrets are hidden within the walls of this building.
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On paper, it looks not only poor, but also incredibly clichéd. In practice, the whole thing is … tragic indeed. The beginning of the game is, in fact, the only concrete outline of the plot of the entire production – in the later stage, the story is developed through poor dialogues, which, due to technical problems of the game, often like to fail to load or to loop indefinitely. The whole thing does not stick together very well and during the game I had the impression that the creators did not know whether they wanted to make a proper horror story out of it, like the first Resident Evil, or a more ordinary scarecrow with the use of dolls and wheelchairs, a’la Outlast.Sounds familiar, right? Most of these systems are actually working quite well. Equipment management is quite pleasant and after some time it becomes intuitive, the exploration itself is also not the worst, although the game often blocks various passages in a too trivial way. Riddles, on the other hand, can be very different – after the first act, full of interesting and satisfying puzzles, comes the second act, which is simply saturated with them. As Tormented Souls isn’t too quick to give players hints, the whole thing gets annoyingly tiring pretty quickly.
The rest of the game is just… wooden. It is really hard to get scared when our heroine simply shuffles around like a duck instead of running away, when the monster chases us in a wheelchair, hitting the floor with her huge paws every now and then. There is absolutely no dynamics here, and the animations in no way help, because they are incredibly stiff. The same applies to combat – it is difficult to take the situation seriously, when Caroline turns into a children’s spinning top and spins around her axis, the animations each shot look identical, and the monster jumps back comically every time she is shot. However, this is an element that brings Tormented Souls even closer to the first parts of Resident Evil, because during the gameplay, it actually feels like I’m playing a 1996 game with overclocked graphics. It is a pity that we are in 2021. A short compilation of the things I mentioned in the text.
The recording system, which is the source of many problems
In Tormented Souls, in order to save the game, we have to find and use the old tape recorder, of course finding the tape beforehand. During this process, Caroline sums up all the most important information we’ve managed to get from the last save, which is actually a really interesting idea. However, this system means that we can neither save nor load our progress at any time. It’s a pity, because many times the game stuck while watching an item – I simply couldn’t “get out” of the preview of a given item, which ended with a forced restart of the game and a recall to the last tape. Tormented Souls on PlayStation 5 also liked to crash on its own, which was one of the main sources of frustration during the game.
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The audiovisual setting, i.e. Tormented Souls, defends itself with something
The audiovisual setting is the only major advantage of Tormented Souls. The graphics aren’t really crazy, but they’re by no means ugly. I even think that the current graphic style fits perfectly with the gameplay assumptions, and that dynamic shadows and quite successful play with light intensify the dark atmosphere of some locations.In this regard, the developers have provided.
A mine of great ideas that have been moderately implemented
Tormented Souls draws inspiration from the giants of the genre. This game contains a lot of good and proven ideas and a mechanic. The problem is that the developers were not able to take advantage of it. Setting aside the mocking tone of this review for a moment, Tormented Souls is not fun to play. The sense of nostalgia that can accompany the game is not able to cover the story shortcomings, the mass of errors or poor animations, and at a later stage also incredibly frustrating puzzles. The production clearly tried to pay tribute to the dozens of horror movies from the 90s, but I just don’t have what. Unfortunately for Dual Effect and Abstract Digital Works, I also played The Medium from the Polish Bloober Team, which completely outclasses Tormented Souls.
Is it worth buying Tormented Souls?
If you are a big fan of classic horror movies, this is an item that you can check, especially since its price does not exceed PLN 70. However, if you do not miss the first Residentami, better skip this adventure and devote this time to, for example, The Medium. Overall, Tormented Souls is a disappointment, and the way the game works does not help with the overall perception. Good ideas, relevant inspirations, solid audiovisual setting, but nothing more. In all other respects, Tormented Souls simply doesn’t deliver. What a pity ..