Tormented Souls is the most adequate name for the fanbase this game is aimed at, it’s been years since a good ol’ classic survival horror with fixed camera angles, obscure puzzles and atmosphere to boot has come along so let’s see if this one fits the mold shall we?.
Tormented Souls puts you in the dress of Caroline Walker, she receives a mysterious letter containing a photograph of two young girls and an ominous threat, not being one to turn up a mystery Caroline turns up at the dark Mansion turned hospital Winterlake in the search of answers to questions she doesn’t even know she has yet!.
The main mystery of Tormented Souls is quite an entertaining one starting from arrival at Winterlake where Caroline is knocked out then awakes fully naked and missing an eye and no explanation down to the final exposition dump towards the end.
There is a supporting cast of 1 in the Priest who manages to always be ahead of you, cryptic as the rest of the story and some very “interesting” voice acting has been given to bring him to “life”.
The majority of the story in Tormented Souls is actually told through the metric tonne of logs you find around the Mansion/Hospital and they fill in all the gaps and lore you need to get the most out of the story.
Tormented Souls nails horror sound design, it took no time at all to have me jumping at each and every creak and by the end of the game I could anticipate what lay ahead by the scraping and guttural noises in the distance.
Visually Tormented Souls takes alot of inspiration from Resident Evil Remake and Silent Hill, the main area of Winterlake is certainly more than a throw back to the Spencer Mansion which bleeds perfectly into the iconic Hospital setting of Silent Hill and there are a few areas I won’t spoil which have that undeniable feeling of dread and satanism that only Silent Hill can provide.
Character models are a painfully mixed bag in Tormented Souls, Caroline ranges from fantastic to looking like an anime character model hamfisted into the horror environment, the Priest doesn’t fare much better if I am honest.
Enemy designs are lovely and macabre and give me nostalgia for another Horror title long forgotten The Suffering, the shame is that there isn’t that much variation, you have a handful of demonic enemies to do battle with and 3 “boss battles”, naturally the final boss being the most grotesque and nightmare inducing, good stuff here just sadly not enough of it.
So the gameplay of Tormented Souls will be more than familiar to anyone who’s played any 90s survival horror, rather than the hide and seek shenanigans of more modern horror. This is your tank controlled, static camera, awkward combat and obscure puzzle fest much like the games it aims to emulate.
First off the controls are fine, you don’t have to use the D-Pad and the analogue sticks (if using pad) give a fairly generous full 3D control, even when running into the camera which often turned players around in the “olden days”.
Combat is a suitably standard affair, left shoulder button aims, right shoots and pressing X dodges while B (X Box controls) reloads, being it’s a survival horror there is a general feel for not using all your ammo, your being hunted not the hunter remember. This combat is about as standard and usable for a classic horror game as you’ll get, the weapons are ok and the single shot shotgun is a fantastic addition but I wouldn’t want an Arcade mode with this combat by any stretch.
The general flow of the game is you exploring areas of the game to find key items which you can interact with in the inventory menu, something that is shown off very early on. To get further into the mystery you’re going to be solving a plethora of puzzles which range from obvious to incredibly obscure and I feel this section is one of the bigger hang ups, I’m no stranger to the genre by any stretch and a certain door puzzle later on really had me scratching my brain.
Caroline is deathly afraid of the dark, this is represented quite literally by visual dark killing her, fortunately you have a trusty lighter which wards off the night and gives you that delicate ballet of lighting candles around the room while being chased before you can fight back, it was an incredibly unique aspect and one I frankly adored about the game.
One huge glaring misstep with the game is the map system, there isn’t a button to switch to any map you find and unless it’s a map hung up in the corridors you have no marker to show where you are so it relies and reading and memory, I can appreciate why this was done but ideally it should have been a toggle because it was a pain in the arse on first play learning the layout and spending more time than I’d like figuring out manually flicking through maps to get a glimpse of where I’m at.
Performance was smooth for the most part though try as I might I could not get the main hall of the game running smooth, it was either inconsistent frame rate or screen tearing, weirdly this was the only area to suffer such a fate.
The map system really needs a tweak, the pacing of the story is really weak and relies too much on reading logs and the monster variety really could have used a little more, guns are ok and some original designs in some of them add to the appeal, there is a painful lack of replayability which only lies within the 2 available endings and there doesn’t even seem to be extra costumes for the character which often bulked out the others from the genre.
Tormented Souls is very much a product of the genre and time it is aiming to recapture, initial run time is about 6/7 hours and can be polished off much quicker when you know the puzzle solutions and where to go, it does very little to further the genre and frankly it didn’t need to as what’s on offer here while not all gold still represents most of the best of 90s survival horror.
A horrible time in the way you need from a horror game. “Nails” the genre well
The following two tabs change content below.
Straight from the streets of SouthTown, all Dunks Powah'd and ready to Bust A Wolf. Catch me on Twitch/YouTube.