DYING: Reborn tries to recreate the classic puzzle-solving experience that can be found in titles like The Room and The Talos Principle, but it simply falls flat on its face when attempting to do so. There are plenty of puzzles to encounter but the game does such a poor job of trying to provide any direction that over time, you’re more frustrated than fascinated by everything. DYING: Reborn also tries to throw in a horror experience which unfortunately doesn’t provide any scare whatsoever. You’re so annoyed by the end that you often ignore everything that’s taken place, and just want the pain to come to an end. It’s more of an atmospheric game than it is anything else and takes reference from movies like SAW, to create an experience that’s meant to scare you along the way. Sadly DYING: Reborn doesn’t really scare you at all, but it sure knows how to get under your skin and irritate you with its bland layout. There’s nothing really mature about the game either since a lot of “gruesome” scenes are mostly walls covered in blood, etc.
What to Expect
Expect there to be plenty of headaches as you play through DYING: Reborn because it simply doesn’t feel very fluid at all, and it just throws you into a random room expecting you to solve whatever puzzles you encounter along the way. You’re a man named Matthew who has been thrown into a room and for some reason, has no recollection of why he’s there. So now you must guide him through this house and save his friend Shirley before it’s too late. All of that, however, is very poorly explained and you don’t even really know who Shirley is, and pair that with an odd antagonist known as “The Guide” who doesn’t even come off as evil or menacing at all. It all feels more like a joke than a horror story, but we’ll get into more of that in the gameplay section.
It’s hard to place my finger on where the premise of the game starts because everything is just thrown at you, without there being some sort of guide to explain things. If any new player were to pick up this game and start playing, they’d have such a hard time because there’s literally no way to understand how things work. It’s like DYING: Reborn expects you to know how to play puzzle games and so you’re spending so much time trying to exit just one room, and not know how to. The game starts you off in a room that has bolted windows and the exit is locked off until you can somehow decipher what’s happening. It literally took us almost 30 minutes just to leave the first room because nothing was explained, the puzzles were poorly created, and things just felt so rigid. One of the puzzles had you trying to play a melody on a piano but there were no hints as to what the melody could be. The only real hint you’re given is the number 14 which means that the melody to be played has 14 notes, but once again who in the right mind is going to somehow come up with the right song on the first try? That’s what really turned us off.
The pain kept coming as we scoured the room looking for clues and had a difficult time doing so. It would’ve been nice if the game provided some sort of direction to help guide you, say if you run into a bit of trouble. Sadly you run into trouble so many times throughout the entire ordeal that you simply just want to stop playing and move on. For the sake of review we had to endure the entire experience which wasn’t very pleasing because DYING: Reborn just doesn’t feel like a complete package. It feels more like a demo than a full game and the visuals don’t really do a great job of selling the game either. Sound effects sound archaic and remind us of the PlayStation 2 days, while the voice acting could use a bit more polish. The controls felt a little stiff along with the in game camera that struggled to keep up with everything. The steps needed to solve a puzzle in this game are taxing, and don’t even reward you in any way. Had the game given us some sort of reward other than a PlayStation trophy maybe we’d feel a little more cheerful after the ordeal. However, after spending so much time trying to figure out where a battery was for a toy truck, or somehow trying to unlock a briefcase with numbers we have no clue how to find, our brains slowly started to melt.
The only true horror in DYING: Reborn is in its gameplay and story, because neither of them do a good job at anything. Nothing lines up correctly and so you’re trying to wrap your head around why you’re stuck in a hotel, but at the same time you’re so wrapped up in trying to progress through the game that all the pressure just gets to you. It’s not a relaxing experience at all because how is one supposed to enjoy solving puzzles when the puzzles themselves are abysmal? We’ll ignore the many typos we found in the game’s dialogue, but we can’t ignore how primitive this game feels. It doesn’t belong on PlayStation 4 nor does it belong on VR, DYING: Reborn honestly belongs on previous gen systems like PlayStation 3 or something because the whole flow of the game felt lacking, and wasn’t well constructed.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Will we ever play DYING: Reborn again? Most certainly not. The game served its purpose and while we were curious about how things would progress the further we dived in, we only ended up feeling robbed of our time because the game just doesn’t provide the experience it promised. Some would argue that perhaps the puzzle solving experience is meant to be challenging and of course we agree, but there are so many annoying steps to go through just to open a single lock on a safe that it’s not even worth it. You’re so mentally exhausted that you don’t even feel the motivation to continue and the story isn’t worth seeing through to the very end. If you want to try a new puzzle-solving title then venture at your own risk, because DYING: Reborn doesn’t do a good job at executing those puzzle-solving elements to make playing it entertaining. Sadly we have to be honest and let you all know that this isn’t worth picking up, unless you’re truly looking for something fresh to play because you’ve somehow run out of every option there is. There needs to be a lot more work put into this game before it’s even worth recommending, so perhaps if the team were to release patches and updates it may change our minds. Until then, DYING: Reborn is another game that will go into the completed bin and will never reemerge to see the light of day. Whatever you do, don’t revive it.
It’s a puzzle-solving game.
Poor camera movement.
Bland voice acting.
Honey's Final Verdict:
DYING: Reborn should’ve tried to be either one or the other, a puzzle game or a horror game. Perhaps if it were the latter it may have done well, but when you try to mix two of them together and do a poor job on both you get a game that’s a horror to play. The game isn’t very long at all either so you’re not really getting an immersive experience, but rather a quick little demonstration. You have about 7-8 chapters overall but they only feel like an eternity if you don’t use a walkthrough (which we recommend you do to save yourself the agony). Have you tried DYING: Reborn? If so what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below, and of course be sure to follow us on social media to know when Honey’s Gaming goes live with more gaming action!
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!