Past Cure is one of those games which looks very interesting with all the trailers and little tidbits of info on the story. However the game turned out to be too ambitious for it’s own good, which has been the fall for many games that have come before it. Past Cure is a third person shooter, stealth based psychological thriller that has been developed and published by Phantom 8 Studio for the PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. And yes, the game is a mish-mash of all those genres in case it sounds like it isn’t, so lets get right to what the game set us up for and how it delivered.
Past Cure tells the story of Ian, a former elite soldier who was held against his will and tortured and experimented upon in an attempt to tap into and learn about the hidden powers of the mind. This led to Ian being pretty scarred with nightmares, weird visions and even powers like telekenisis, time manipulation and astral projections. But, due to these experiments he lost his memory so now he sets out on a journey to search for the masterminds behind his torture and get revenge while learning about his powers.
The premise sounds great and has an amazing set up for a dark psychological thriller that delves deep into the pysche of the human mind to give us nerve-wracking moments, however the game really struggles to do that. It sets up mysteries and plot points so quickly that whatever was set up previously is thrown into the back burner to either be resolved in a very bland manner or not at all. A good story would slowly build upon the mysteries and by feeding the players with little information to make invoke more questions in their mind. Past Cure just doesn’t do that and really fell flat in story telling which made me lose interest.
Another big let down of the game that tries to be cinematic, especially with the letterboxing is the voice acting which is so monotonous, especially the voice actor of Ian. His dialogue delivery and reactions make it seem like he is just as disinterested in the story as you are. And in it’s quest to be provide a good cinematic-gaming experience, it tries to cram in various elements from different genres. While this isn’t a bad thing and can help keep games fresh, Past Cure’s execution in this aspect is also mediocre at very best. Sometimes it’s a third person shooter that is nothing special and lacks variety, due to which much like Ian, it can get monotonous and boring.
The psychological thriller-esque gameplay is interesting when it is introduced and features some really good concepts like popping sanity pills to stay sane and various ways of tackling a puzzle but after the tutorial bit, it isn’t explored as much as I’d liked it to have been which again was a let down. The stealth sequences were fun and did provide a lot tension, more-so than the thriller levels. It is fun to play around with the various powers Ian has to navigate through these levels and was one part of the game I actually enjoyed for a change.
Past Cure is a game that was too ambitious for its own good. While attempting to add in so many different elements and genres, it didn’t really feel well intigrated into the game and just felt shoe-horned in for the sake of it. The story suffers the same fate as the gameplay and has a few postitive glimpses of what could’ve been but in the end fails to provide the cinematic and engrossing experience it goes for and I really would not recommend this game.