Remothered: Broken Porcelain Review: A Nightmare With No Escape
The world of Survival Horror is an ever-morphing animal, trying to find a mix between action, [...]
The world of Survival Horror is an ever-morphing animal, trying to find a mix between action, adventure, and bone-chilling terror within the medium of video games, and, unfortunately, Remothered: Broken Porcelain is the latest entry into it. The game itself plays with mechanics that put its players into cat-and-mouse scenarios as they control the young woman Jessica as she navigates an all-female school that treats her as somewhere between a student and a prisoner. Of course, what would survival horror be without the "horror," as Jessica must escape a bevy of blood-curdling fiends.
Remothered: Broken Porcelain is the sequel to 2017's Remothered: Tormented Fathers, and the game itself does give the player a nice recap of the events of its predecessor, but even with this, it's difficult to put your finger on everything that's going on if you're a newbie to this franchise, like I was. The game's storyline is confusing, to say the least, and there are a lot of moving pieces to insert some spooky creatures into the narrative, including one of the big antagonists of Andrea, the current headmaster of the Ashmann Inn who is being influenced by a terrifying entity.
Remothered picks an appropriately creepy atmosphere, establishing an environment that elicits shades of The Shining as Jessica attempts to escape the darkness of the Inn. One of the biggest strengths of the game is the atmosphere and especially the chilling score that combines some unearthly vocals and some well-placed whistling to creepy effect. Unfortunately, these brief glimpses of an understanding of how to put together a dark narrative are where the game ends its strengths and falls hard into its weaknesses.
To start with the many critiques of the game, the controls are simply disastrous, causing me to fight more with this survival horror entry than any other video game that I can think of in recent memory. With mechanics that are not only based around the idea of "hide and seek" where you are given little recourse to fight against the supernatural threats, the game has a "crafting system" that is rudimentary and simply feels like a tacked-on mechanic that is another weight pulling you down. Presenting your protagonist as powerless is one thing, but making the player powerless in the face of shoddy controls is another.
With the ability to grab objects like knives, bottles, flour, and a swath of different household items to play both offense and defense for Jennifer, these items are to be found in drawers and dressers around the Inn, with this proving to be amazingly complicated. In Remothered, the art of simply opening up a drawer becomes an eternal struggle as a dresser will have anywhere from five to seven different latches that the reticle will dart around onto depending on your angle. As your character's arm sweeps over the opening, if you're not looking at your inventory, you might not know what you are picking up because Jessica will normally not change how the drawer looks once she's taken the item out of it. It's a crapshoot for the players and proves to be extremely frustrating if you're under a time crunch to escape a rampaging monster stomping your way.
The controls themselves, outside of inventory management, will sometimes simply not respond to what you want Jessica to do, making it that much more difficult when you're in a scenario where not being seen is essential. There also is no real introduction to a number of the different mechanics of the game, leaving a player to feel like a fish out of water in the early game. There's a balance when it comes to tutorials to help players along and Remothered simply throws you in the deep end and expects you to swim.
The aesthetic of the game works when it comes to the score and the setting of the snow-covered Inn, but the voice acting and models for the characters will rip you out of any sense of tension or dread, simply because the monsters will often look more comical than terrifying. The voice acting itself often runs into the problem of having to quickly unleash a bevy of exposition with little to no time to build up a character, making the proceedings seem rushed as a result. Character models' mouths won't move when dialogue is delivered, things will glitch out of frame, and the game will stall at random times as you feel like you're battling every aspect of it. In order to get to the scares, Broken Porcelain moves at breakneck speeds past character development which makes it impossible to capitalize on the spooky nature that they are trying to convey.
There are also numerous graphical issues, flare-ups, and technical difficulties that show that Remothered: Broken Porcelain could have definitely benefited from more time in the oven. If you're looking for some survival horror for this Halloween season, look elsewhere.
Rating: 2 out of 5
Remothered: Broken Porcelain is currently available for Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. A PC code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.