If you had to define the '90s by naming just one gaming genre, chances are you'd pick survival horror. With Capcom and Konami leading the way, Resident Evil and Silent Hill became instant hits, not only for gamers but pop culture in general. Although these were not the genre pioneers, we can't deny we're talking about the most popular examples of a formula that quickly became the new standard for horror games. Nowadays, however, most horror games seem to be either action shooters or psychological affairs with heavy narrative and a few puzzles here and there. If you feel like these games are not your cup of tea, then we have something for you; Tormented Souls is an upcoming title trying to bring back good ol' survival horror!
They Said You Like Abandoned Mansions and Hospitals?
Tormented Souls is a love letter to games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, so of course, it comes with as many tropes as you can imagine. We have a reckless female protagonist in a sexy outfit, we have an immense abandoned mansion full of trap doors and tight corridors that also doubles as a hospital, we have cheesy and poorly acted dialogues... everything. And that's a good thing, obviously. While some games try to push the envelope and are all serious about reinventing the wheel, Tormented Souls is a homage to a decades-old genre that died as soon as they tried to evolve it. Since they never try to hide their intentions, it's easier for the player to accept there's nothing new here and just go with the flow, especially given that nostalgia plays a big role in this.
Everything Feels Eerily Familiar
It all starts when Caroline, the protagonist, receives an anonymous letter—unless you really think someone called John Doe is behind all this—from Wildberger Hospital with a creepy photo of twin girls and a rather threatening message. Instead of going to the authorities or looking for help, she has the great idea of visiting the now-abandoned hospital.... but this is a horror game so, upon arrival, someone hits her on the head from behind, and Caroline falls unconscious. When she finally wakes up, she's naked in a bathtub and connected to a ventilator. And that's not all; apparently, they have been experimenting on her, and they removed her right eye...
From there, everything plays out like it would in a classic survival horror game. Our objective is still to find clues regarding these twin girls, but we're guessing Caroline won't leave the hospital without finding either the kids or the person behind this mess she's in. Oh, but Caroline's mission won't be easy with all the "shadows" lurking out there! In a nod to Capcom's Resident Evil and Dino Crisis, Tormented Souls also warns us about violence and gore.
The Demo Is Okay, but We Need Answers
Gameplay-wise, Tormented Souls' demo lasts around 40 minutes, but that's more than enough time to introduce us to Caroline and the other main protagonist: the Wildberger Hospital. From exploration to puzzle-locked doors, the core mechanics are there and are pretty easy to understand if you ever played any survival horror game before. You can pick up and use or combine items from the inventory, and both the forced perspectives and tanky controls make everything feel a lot more stressful and slow-paced. We have to praise the detailed environments and perfect use of music to create a tense atmosphere. On the other hand, we wish the dialogues and the characters' design and animations were a little bit more refined. All in all, Tormented Souls shapes up to be an interesting homage to classic survival horror, and we're looking forward to its full release!
If it piqued your interest, Tormented Souls releases on August 27, and it will be available on PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox One Series X/S. After playing the demo, we're not expecting any changes in terms of graphics or animation, but we can say the gameplay seems okay, and the hospital is definitely spooky. We do hope the plot is resolved satisfactorily!