I do love to get into some new and interesting Indie Games and this week Phantom 8 Studio have one to look out for. Past Cure will be out on PC, PS4 and Xbox One today (February 23) and I managed to get a head start thanks to their team. It’s a 3rd person action-adventure game that promises plenty of features you’d expect of a larger studio. I was immediately interested but, is Past Cure worth playing for someone like you?
Well I hope to answer that and bring you some information on Past Cure through this article. I’ll be going through my thoughts on the game down the page. There is also some of my gameplay and thoughts in a Let’s Play Past Cure video from the MGL YouTube Channel (well worth Subscribing to!).
I’m using the new Love, Like, Leave rating system on the article and video so for more info on that, it’s at the bottom of the piece. I have also done simialr with another indie game Fe, which you can see here.
What is Past Cure?
Past Cure is an action-adventure with a cinematic style story and a psychological twist. The start even boarders a little on horror, as you experience one your character, Ian’s nightmares.
What is remarkable about the game is the way they have delivered this level of cinematic experience as an 8 man team (Phantom 8, see what they did there?). The facial animations and some of the early level design is pretty impressive for a small indie studio and they have certainly had some great ideas with Past Cure.
Your main objective in the game is to uncover what has happened to Ian, help him survive his nightmares and hallucinations. This involves solving some puzzles with your special abilities to float around above your body with “astral projection”. You also have the ability to manipulate time so you can shoot or move at pace while everything around you is slowed.
But these consume “Sanity”, a blue meter which you can replenish with blue pills or just waiting for it to refill somewhat.
The priority in this game is telling an interesting, psychological story. Where the game has some issues is the gameplay a mixture of devent to sloppy. But, considering the size of the team, these are not enough to spoil it for me. Check out my gameplay below and further impressions down the page.
Let’s Play Past Cure Video
Getting Started in Past Cure
When I started Past Cure on my PS4 I was very impressed initially. The game looks great as you begin in an upside down, dilapidated room. It’s all very fluid in terms of movement too as you start exploring this eerie location. The camera is tight over the shoulder in third-person view and the motion was very smooth.
Voice acting and the facial capture for the cut-scenes are really good too. For such a small team, i was really impressed by it all is my game started.
Soon I was trying to escape this nightmare while being attacked by these strange figures coming at me. Shooting them was a little tricky as the right stick was overly sensitive for me. I got used to it eventually, but the aiming could be better.
The sequences early on setup the kind of psychosis level of Ian and the game overall pretty well. My issue here is some of them do go-on a little bit long. But, as a start goes I was happy and pretty impressed.
Later into the game
As I moved forward though the first hours of Past Cure, there were more things to do in Ian’s Dreams. These following on from some more strange visions while he is awake. There is more than a hint at Heavy Rain in the general Past Cure gameplay too, especially with some of the experiences in your home.
It’s not so subtle either, an origami bird shows up at one point. It did make me smile though, even though the message was a bit strange in context with the story.
In a later dream sequence I got to grips with leaving my body and floating above it to unlock some doors. You fly to strange looking switches and activate them as a floating projection of yourself. You can’t be too far away from your body however, so here presented a challenge of getting as close as possible, while being trapped in a maze.
Others involved slowing time and shooting more of those strange figures. It all leads to a rather dramatic conclusion too as you will see in my gameplay towards the end!
A little Cliche
Later, I began a more traditional mission taking out some goons in a parking lot. And here where I worry for the game in some respects. The dream locations are pretty cool, your house is ok for its purpose too. But the parking lot was a little boardeing on cliche for me in this genre of game.
I don’t expect a lush sandbox forest from a team like this, but more inspiration could have gone into this for me. The stealth gameplay was pretty decent however, I enjoyed getting around and taking out enemies, but it was nothing special either.
Still, even after I had finished my Let’s Play recording and needed to write this… I wanted to continue playing after around 2 hours. Mainly because of the story driving me on, but I was having fun overall.
Is Past Cure worth playing – Love, Like or Leave
So far I am enjoying Past Cure. I think for the studio’s size, they have done a great job in the early stages of the game. Certainly a small studio with big ideas, a lot of them really work too.
Here in comes the personality test in Past Cure.
If you judge this against the Uncharted’s and The Last of Us type titles out there, is it to that standard? Of course not, you can’t do that with a team like this. So, for people thinking this indie title is like that you might come out disappointed.
For me, judging the early stages of the game as an indie title I am frankly pretty impressed, even with some rough edges to the gameplay. The priority in the early stages of the game are telling a story, connecting you to this character Ian and they do a great job of that. The puzzles and dream sequences are good, even if the do go-on a bit too much at times.
The gameplay is ok, nothing spectacular in the action-adventure genre but still very decent. A number of issues are patchable but it will never be perfect. It’s still really good to play, I’m ready for more and certainly happy to give this game a MGL Like verdict on my initial impressions.
Find out more on Past Cure below. Got any questions for me, or will you be playing the game? Let me know in the comments below.
More information on Past Cure
PAST CURE sees you play as Ian, a former special operations soldier unsure of his surroundings, and desperate to make sense of the last few years.
After the victim of experimentation and torture in prison, Ian’s mind has become fractured. His captors left him scarred with unrelenting nightmares, visions and new unstable and largely unexplainable powers such as time manipulation and telekinesis. Drifting between reality and hallucinogenic states, Ian must make sense of the world around him as he sets out on a path of revenge and discovery, uncertain of what awaits around the next corner.
“We’ve been delighted with the positive response to PAST CURE from gamers around the world, and we’re excited to finally see people playing what has been our passion to create for the last two years,” said Simon Gerdesmann, Phantom 8’s Managing Director. “To achieve what we have as a small, eight-person first-time development studio makes us immensely proud. And, we’re not finished yet; there’s more to come from the PAST CURE universe, as we’ll announce soon.
Main Features of Past Cure
A Story Driven Supernatural Thriller – PAST CURE is a cinematic, story driven experience where the player follows the struggle of a broken man searching for the missing pieces of his mind. With intense cutscenes and intriguing story items throughout the levels, the players can unravel a story that will keep them guessing until the end.
Action vs. Stealth – Be bold and engage your enemies with time bending gun battles and brutal jaw crunching combos. Or pick the stealthy approach where evasion tactics and slick stealth takedowns allow you to outsmart your enemies in silence. Choose the right approach to each situation as there are pros and cons to each playing style.
Mind Bending Abilities – Unleash the unlocked power of Ian’s mind against those who unlocked it. To truly master the PAST CURE experience, players must utilise time manipulation and astral projection to gain an edge on opponents and overcome obstacles.
Dreams vs. Reality – Ian’s mind is torn between the gritty real world and the nightmarish horror of his dreams. PAST CURE contrasts between the cold, brutal combat orientated levels of the real world, to the more puzzle solving and survival gameplay in the abstract dreamworlds.
About the developers & release
Developed by an eight-person studio, PAST CURE is Phantom 8’s debut game. It launches globally at digital and retail, echoing modern film making in its cinematic design, and redefining the quality that can be achieved with a small, but focused studio.
PAST CURE releases worldwide on February 23rd, 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC for £24.99/$29.99/€29.99.
Love, Like or Leave
Sometimes you can get a feeling on a game in the first few hours. That’s us here at MGL too! So, rather than waiting 20+ hours to share that in a review our Let’s Play Videos and our article’s sometimes use it to gauge our reaction to a game so far in.
These are one of three simple categories:
Love – We are really enjoying the game so far and can’t wait to play more
Like – The game makes a good first impression and we think it’s decent, but maybe not the best or it’s hard to judge.
Leave – We’ve tried it but would be happy to walk away from it (if we weren’t doing a review!)