Say what you want about Call of Duty and its many iterations, but the franchise’s success is unparalleled in its genre. After all, there’s something in human nature that finds it somewhat comforting to be able to purchase a reliable, mindlessly entertaining shooter every year. But sometimes people do crave something a little less formulaic, something of the more stylish and cerebral variety, something in the mold of say, a Max Payne or a Splinter Cell. Fortunately, Past Cure bucks the trend in a similar fashion. Developed by the small, Germany-based Phantom 8 studio, Past Cure is a gritty and intense cinematic experience that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality and offers an intriguing mystery plotline that will keep players guessing till the end. It also blends both traditional stealth and combat gameplay elements with a supernatural twist.
To start with, we play as Ian, a former super soldier who struggles with memory loss and the other repercussions of the military experiments he was forced to endure. In an attempt to harness the hidden potential of the brain, his captors imbued him with unstable mental abilities such as telekinesis and time manipulation, leaving him with constant hallucinations and nightmares in the form of ghoulish creatures that aim to murder him. Driven by a desire to return to normalcy and an insatiable thirst for revenge, he sets out on a thrilling hunt, with the support of his brother, for the conspirators who did this to him. However, as Ian delves further into the criminal underworld in his quest for truth, his health and sanity become increasingly frail with every use of his cursed powers. Past Cure is primarily of the psychological thriller genre, with some dream-like sequences bordering on horror. It is truly a gripping narrative experience not recommended for the faint-hearted.
Past Cure’s gameplay mainly consists of cinematic, interactive cutscenes followed by third-person shooting sections that frequently involve stealth mechanics. There are your basic evasive maneuvers and slick stealth takedowns that allow you to eliminate guards on patrol without eating a storm of bullets. Your mind bending powers are what spices things up and gives you a variety of options to get past obstacles in each area. For instance, you can use your Time Perception power to slow all enemies around you so that you can neatly shoot them in the head one by one, or you can use your Astral Plane ability, which activates a freaky, out-of-body sensation that allows you to quietly disable security cameras. Or you could, you know, just waltz out in the open and go guns blazing. There are definitely pros and cons to each playing style but sometimes being able to identify and choose the right approach for a situation is key to solving it without much fuss. Overall despite the quirky premise, Past Cure is rather mechanically simple and the control scheme should be familiar to anyone with some experience with the shooter genre.
It must be noted, however, that Past Cure is a monumental achievement for a brand-new studio consisting of just eight people, bridging the gap between what is perceived as triple-A and what is treated as indie. The impressive facial modeling and motion capture on display in the various cutscenes of the game speaks to the increasing accessibility of these advanced technologies. Past Cure will be released for PC via Steam on February 23rd for what seems like $30, which is a reasonable price for roughly 8-10 hours of gameplay. Admittedly, it’s not the most graphically stunning nor is the voice acting always the most professional-sounding, but the engrossing tale it presents, along with the way it switches effortlessly between gritty reality and nightmarish horror, is truly something to be admired and appreciated.
Check Out the Past Cure Release Date Teaser Trailer
PAST CURE will release worldwide on February 23, 2018 for Windows PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for $29.99/£29.99/€29.99. Wishlist and follow the game today on Steam for updates. The physical retail release of PAST CURE for consoles can be pre-ordered now at a wide range of retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop and Target.