Review – Past Cure
The year has barely started, but I’ve already seen a lot of other gaming outlets “nominating” Past Cure as a potential candidate of being the worst game of 2018. And I can’t deny the fact those allegations sparked a morbid sense of curiosity within me. In a year which saw the release of the offensively awful Sword of Fortress or the misogynistic garbage that is Super Seducer, another game was trying to steal its feces-covered crown? I just had to play said game and see it for myself, and that’s exactly what I did. I played Past Cure and was disappointed with it. No, I wasn’t expecting it to be good, I was actually expecting it to be a complete train-wreck, but it simply wasn’t. It’s just a massively mediocre title with a few good intentions.
Gaming’s first cross-eyed protagonist!
Past Cure can best be described as this year’s Troll and I. It’s an indie game trying to look like a AAA game, trying to implement as many ideas from AAA games as possible without exploding. And ultimately failing due to unnecessary amounts of ambition from a team that, sadly, couldn’t deliver everything it promised.
The game tries to emulate stealth mechanics from games such as Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell. It features the same functional but unimaginative third-person shooting mechanics you can find in an Uncharted game. Some of the superpowers have previously shown up in other games like Geist and Beyond Two Souls (they’re actually pretty cool but very rarely used). You can use a Max Payne-esque bullet time mechanic. There are psychological horror segments that are obviously influenced by games like Silent Hill and The Evil Within. You don’t see AAA developers trying to mix so many elements from other games into their titles, so one can only imagine the results when a smaller independent team tries to cook this confusing recipe.
Is this the one where he fights Vivan Braggo or Lubber Clang?
The obvious result: the game borrows elements from a truly nonsensical amount of games and, unsurprisingly, never manages to fully implement any of them. What’s more, none of them manage to actually standout. The two superpowers are indeed cool, but you rarely need to use them. The horror influences aren’t scary. The stealth mechanics are borderline basic, and something the PS1 version of Metal Gear Solid even managed to deliver with a lot more depth. The game never fully descends into a pit of abysmal quality with its excess of poorly executed influences, but it never manages to impress. As previously mentioned, it’s mediocre and forgettable.
While I can maybe overlook the failure in execution due to ambition, I can’t exactly say the same about its visuals and its sound department.
I have to give the Phantom 8 Studio’s a little bit of credit for trying to emulate the visuals of a AAA game with the (most likely) limited budget they had. Past Cure‘s still pictures look nice because the game isn’t exactly ugly, it’s just poorly polished. There are two massive problems: the framerate is inconsistent, ranging from 30fps to much lower numbers whenever there’s any excessive action onscreen. The other problem is the way characters were animated. You can clearly see there was no budget for motion capturing, given the fact every single human being in the game has the same robotic and borderline zombified animations you can find in the game’s supernatural undead enemies.
The biggest offender of them all, however, is the sound department. There’s not much to say about the soundtrack, it’s mediocre, passable at best. The voice acting on the other hand, oh boy. Remember when I said that Troll and I featured terrible voice acting? I take back what I said. Compared to this game, Troll and I sounds like a Metal Gear game. The voice acting in Past Cure is bad. Really really really bad. Not only does everyone feature extremely heavy German accents, even though they’re supposed to be Americans, but the entire cast sounds dead inside. Your main character, Ian, is voiced with so little effort, it made me play the game on mute during some segments. Instead, I had my computer play some random metal playlist I had just so the game’s sound department could sound exciting for once.
Dude, he IS pretty far away…
Bear in mind, this wasn’t me trying to defend Past Cure. It’s by no means a good game, but all those “worst game of the year” nominations are an exaggeration. Past Cure is, at the very best, an extremely mediocre and forgettable game that tries to take itself a lot more seriously than it should. It’s a victim of its own excessive ambition that shouldn’t have had the 15 minutes of fame it eventually got. While I see the potential hidden somewhere inside this game, I simply can’t recommend it to anyone for the egregious price the publisher is asking for it.
Past Cure‘s visuals wouldn’t be so hard to digest if the animations weren’t so robotic and the framerate wasn’t so inconsistent.
Everything works fine, considering the inconsistent framerate. The controls are basic but mostly serviceable. The special powers are nice but rarely used.
The soundtrack is mediocre at best, and the voice acting is so lazy it’s offensive towards people who make a living out of it.
There are some neat ideas, and the combat can sometimes be fun, but Past Cure never fully delivers in either of the gameplay and (especially) story departments.
Final Verdict: 5.0
Reviewed on Xbox One.
Also available now on: PS4, PC