On August 25th, 2015, Supermassive Games released a gripping interactive survival horror adventure game titled Until Dawn exclusively for the PlayStation 4. This daring new IP turned out to be a runaway success and allowed the UK based development studio to create several other games including PlayStation VR exclusive Until Dawn: Rush of Blood and Hidden Agenda.
During PlayStation Experience 2017 last month, I finally spent some hands-on time with their upcoming psychological survival horror game referred to as The Inpatient. Below are a few of my thoughts on the game and why this is one PSVR experience definitely worth having.
The Inpatient could be best described as a prequel to Until Dawn that takes place 60 years prior to the events of the first game. Players take on the role of an undisclosed patient at the Blackwood Sanatorium who suffers from amnesia and is slowing trying to reclaim his or her memory. Being that this is a full VR experience, your character’s entire body is visible if you look down and you instantly gain a deeper feeling of being an actual prisoner at the institution. While you can’t speak, you can recognize dialogue by others and make choice based decisions that are clearly illuminated on either the left or righthand side of the screen. The outcome of the entire story is dictated by your decisions after questions have been asked by non-playable characters.
The demo that I played shifted back and forth between spending time in my cell and encountering dreamlike sequences were my character ventured down dark corridors within the Blackwood Sanatorium. During my time in the cell, I was asked questions by a physician, nurse, and my mysterious cellmate. I was also able to interact with several objects and did activities like read letters and eat a sandwich that was provided by the nurse. Every aspect of the narrative is designed to uncover the truth behind your character and surroundings and for the most part, the developers have done more than enough so far to peak my interest as to how the story ultimately plays out.
The other aspect of the demo where I explored the halls of Blackwood Sanatorium was put in place to further illustrate the secretive and creepy nature of the institution. Possessed inmates would appear at random times on the screen to provide occasional jump scares and keep the player fearful of the unknown around every corner. Playing with headphones, it’s also worth mentioning that the development team added 3D binaural audio to further accentuate all of the visuals on the screen. All of the features combined successfully portray the psychological horror theme of the game and it will be intriguing to see how much further these limits are pushed in the finished product.
Graphically, The Inpatient looks absolutely stunning. Character models are incredibly realistic and the use of silhouettes, shadows and dark hue colors really captures the unsettling tone of the environment. Regardless of whether you own a PS4 or PS4 Pro, you’re guaranteed a visually impressive journey from start to finish.
One of the most interesting tidbits about The Inpatient stems from the fact that it has deeper connections to the events of Until Dawn. While the developers on hand weren’t able to disclose any of this information, they did confirm that fans will pick up on certain things within the storyline. I’ll also be very curious to see if this game provides further insight into the future of the Until Dawn series should Supermassive decide to make another sequel down the road.
While my time with The Inpatient was short, I can personally say that this PlayStation VR exclusive looks and feels promising. Knowing Supermassive’s track record for making compelling survival horror games, I can’t help but be excited to check out how this title ultimately turns out. If you are fortunate enough to own a PSVR headset and you enjoyed Until Dawn, then this title should definitely be on your radar right now.
The Inpatient launches worldwide on January 23rd for PlayStation VR. Are any of you planning on picking up the game? Please feel free to let us know in the comments section below.