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Tormented Souls - Out now on PS5 (coming to PS4 and Xbox consoles in October)


Romier S
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So after my completion of Song of Horror, I'm planning on dipping my toe into the pool of another small indie horror release. This time its "Tormented Souls" which adheres much more to the formula set out by the Resident Evils of the world. That includes an option for tank controls, save ribbons, fixed cameras and utterly cheese ridden dialogue. You can take a look at the trailer here:

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

So I finished this one up last night and posted up my results screen in the "Finished Games" thread.

 

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with the game. If Song of Horror was the more serious "adventure" game horror release, then this is the more classic Resident Evil/ample cheese style game by a mile. That includes the highs and lows that range from fantastic fixed camera usage to laughably bad voice acting. The main character design here is pretty bad. She looks akin to a strange anime doll and it really clashes with the general aesthetic the game is going for. The opening sequence also features nudity and a tube stuffed down her throat and its uncomfortably weird. I just want to get that out of the way as its probably the least flattering thing I have to say about the games visuals. There are only a few human interactable characters in general and those that are here don't look great to say the least. The reason the character modeling stands out is because I've seriously been impressed by the art direction of the environments you're tasked with exploring and the technical acumen on display. The game, more often than not, looks pretty damned great! The real time lighting is generally very good and the hyper realistic and dense rooms of the mansion are brought to life in great detail. It's not a AAA production but for a low budget horror release with a small team looking to capture the nostalgia of classic survival horror? It's a step above what you might expect.

 

Gameplay wise, I really like that the game gives you the option to choose between more modern controls on the analog stick and classic tank controls on the D-Pad. I went with the modern controls, personally as it just felt good to me. I will say that that I would have much preferred that the game gave you this option as a menu selection and not just tied it right to the D-Pad. The game desperately needs a quick switch option for its weapons and lighter. You'll spend a bulk of the early game having to equip the lighter because sitting in the dark will literally kill you. So having to go into the inventory screen to constantly switch between it and the various weapons gets pretty old. Having the ability to disable the tank controls if you're not using them and using the D-Pad for quick switching slots would have been excellent and it would have alleviated my biggest complaint with the game (especially since the inventory screen pauses the game anyways). The same goes for having a quick activation slot for the map as opposed to having to pull up the inventory, click on resources, highlight the map and select it every single time. The way the inventory slides out and gives you access to what you need immediately is otherwise well designed and I prefer it to having an outright pause screen. I really rather like the interactivity of the items you pick up and there's some neat puzzles that require you to be observant, too.

 

One good is example is a late game puzzle that

requires you to write a password onto a 3.5inch disc. However, if you slide the disc into the computer and try to write the password, it will pop up and tell you that the disc is read only. You have to take the disc out, examine it and flip the dip switch on the backside over to read/write first to complete the puzzle.

Pretty cool and a nice attention to detail!

 

Speaking of which, the puzzles in the game are a step above the average horror game these days. I would say they are right in line what we just recently got with Song of Horror. Most make sense and will require some observation and thought to complete them. Some can be a little obtuse and will have you playing a bit of guesswork but I only needed to refer to a guide once in the game for a later puzzle that left me scratching my head.

 

Otherwise, gameplay is very much classic Resident Evil/Silent Hill. Explore the map, grab health/ammo items, complete puzzles to progress and read notes/documents scattered about to deepen your understanding of the events that led you here. The story is relatively cliche and you can guess the outcome right from the start but it adds some nice wrinkles you don't see coming here and there and is interesting enough to keep you engaged. The combat is also clunky and in-line with what you'd expect from the genre. You do actually fight enemies here as opposed to Song of Horror. The weapon selection is pretty limited and you do get a dodge button that will jump Caroline back a step when she's in danger but it never feels responsive enough to be super useful. Enemy variety is also limited but they are designed well enough and that design ties right into the story which is a nice touch. These are not just super random creatures which I always appreciate.

 

There's more I can get into including some of the Silent Hill inspired "other world" stuff and a pervasive monster that starts to chase you later in the game that is absolutely horribly implemented (literally just leave  the room and come back and it will disappear) much to the detriment of the stories impact - but in the end I had a really great time with this. Flaws and all. If these type of survival horror games are you jam I can't see how you walk away not finding a lot to like here. I'm very pleased with my purchase and I may try to return to it and get the platinum on the PS5 once I've gotten through Kena in the coming weeks.

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