Until Dawn can be considered an experiment atypical, that, in the end, it turned out to be a success for Sony and PlayStation. So much so that its developers, the team Supermassive Games, has decided to settle permanently in the universe that have been created and, in fact, they returned with one of the titles that accompanied the launch of PlayStation VR: Until Dawn: a Rush of Blood. Now, again, are installed in the format to continue the story of the franchise, this time with a prequel entitled The Inpatient.
The Inpatient recovers the formula of Until Dawn, because it is linked to the original narrative form, but set in the 50’s. However, the experience is also related to level of structure. We refer to an adventure linear, in which the core mechanic is the interaction with other characters and elements. As is the case in the first title, the course of events is marked by the player’s decisions, something that allows you to make some changes in the story and vary the end of the same, always in accordance with the principle of cause and effect –or the butterfly effect– that represents the hallmark of the series.
Back to the sanatorium Blackwood
The events of The Inpatient taking place sixty years before the narrative in Until Dawn , and take place in the interior of the sanatorium in Blackwood. Anyone who has played the original you already know what happened at the institution during those years. But with the intention not to disclose any event to those that did not end Until Dawn so we shall only point out the place as one of the epicenters of evil in the first episode. Virtual reality will take us to get to know him first hand, since in The Inpatient the player takes the role of a patient who does not remember how she ended up in the mental hospital, apparently due to a mysterious amnesia that, according to the doctors, it would be the reason for your hospitalization. But there’s something weird in the atmosphere, and soon, our treatment and the recovery of memory no longer the only concern. Quickly will begin to happen strange events within the sanatorium, putting to test our trust in the medical staff, which seems to hide some secrets.
The character presented to us by Supermassive Games has no name or identity, a condition, contextualized in the game as amnesia, but that even has connotations precise. In fact, the player must select the gender and skin tone before starting the “treatment”. Although it may give the impression that so save to offer the background of the character, however, this feature, along with the opportunity to play with our own voice, carry the simulation and immersion to a higher level. Of course, we can always play the classic mode by selecting a response with the remote control, but it’s much more evocative to choose voice commands.
Your decisions, your voice
So, The Impatient adjusts to the levels of immersion that should provide this kind of experience. Let’s start with the feeling of ‘existence’ (something that philosophers germans called “Dasein”, being (sein) and there (da), as the meaning of “existence out there”), which provides the virtual reality system. Supermassive Games has done a work above the standards that we currently, based on a graphic section is remarkable that, thanks to the darkness and the treatment of effects of light, is able to mask flaws and highlight the virtues of the technical work. The story is the most important aspect of the production, and revealing too many details could spoil the game experience, but we can anticipate that the plot is so interesting as it is unsettling.
As in Until Dawn, here also the set will develop according to our choices: some of them involve only small changes in the dialogues, while others will have repercussions on the whole of the story, and even in the way of putting an end to the nightmare. The experience is divided into two basic parts. The first has a cut more introspective and static, mode of research. The player will deal with some of the characters, remain tense dialogues within the logical confusion of the moment, and will suffer some nightmares, very well managed and able to make you jump, literally from the seat and leave the heart in a fist for a few minutes. The second stage brings something more of movement, action and exploration facilities. Without revealing nothing of what we expected, this stretch will take us until the end of the nightmare between unexpected encounters and twists of the last hour. In fact, The Impatient raised a large amount of situations really interesting using virtual reality in a concise way, but adapting to the experience that you want to provide.
The visit to the sanatorium Blackwood falls short
The experience has the right pace if we consider a type of suspense story or thriller, and manages to do so with a framework as simple as it is effective. The problem of the last production of Supermassive Games, is that the experience is short and after 3 or 4 hours, at the end of the rule of feeling left large parts without the face. Unfortunately, the duration of the game has not allowed us to develop the trajectory of the characters. In this sense, we have covered the essential thanks to the dialogues. So, once you start a conversation we have the opportunity to choose among multiple responses and, as we set out, we can do it through our own voice, reading the text of the answer selected and displayed on the screen. In The Impatient, as in Until Dawn the consequences of these decisions have a variable range. The above positively affects the longevity of a title is not especially extensive. But the fact is that the game explodes with strength the possibility of using the microphone, and everything in a correct English. A feature that seems marginal, but that in addition to being perfectly functional, in the context of the virtual reality complements greatly to the sense of identification with the character and his situation.
As all the works born in the universe VR, the movement has the danger of causing a sensation of nausea, even though the developers have included, as usual, the ability to adjust the change for free view or rotating to different degrees, this way there are a multitude of possibilities to avoid any feeling from enjoying the experience. Otherwise, the interaction is limited to a minimum: in addition to walking, in fact, we can only interact with certain objects to continue the story, you unlock flashbacks that we can revise later from the main menu and provide us with more information about the background narrative of the game. In terms of plot technique, positive evaluations range from the configuration of the environments and characters, until the suffocating treatment of the light, who despite suffering the technical limitations of the PS VR manages to convince greatly. They also deserve separate mention some of the modeling and the performances of the cast, compelling and puzzling.
With The Impatient, Supermassive Games creates a structure interesting, this atmosphere, is undeniable, and, above all, a story to live in first person with all the necessary ingredients to keep us in tension until the end. This is a new step forward in the treatment of this technology, but beyond that, the adventure that proposes definitely deserves to be experienced. It has made a good use of the PlayStation VR, and can only regret that the story does not spread over time, with more possibilities of exploring the sanitarium, or to explode, with more depth, each of the distinct parts that compose the work. A pity, because when most of these enjoying the experience is just as it ends and The Impatient is a work that inevitably becomes short and leaves you wanting more, much more.