If you’re a fan of the survival horror genre and notable games like Silent Hill, Parasite Eve, or the original Resident Evil games, then Tormented Souls will be right up your alley. A collaboration between PQube Limited, Dual Effect, and Abstract Digital Works, Tormented Souls draws inspiration from the classic survival horrors of yesteryear and brings it to the modern world of fear. For me, it is a modern take on the fixed-perspective adventure, with a much-needed, improved control scheme and a more dynamic camera angle, while retaining everything that made those games so beloved by fans to this very day. This is a title that has the same ability to keep you up late at night, playing with the lights on.
To give you a slight idea of how the horror in this game works, think of the worst possible thing you can imagine to take place in a hospital setting. Maybe it’s a rusty but razor-sharp scalpel. The cold hard table that you wake up on that you are strapped to. You can hear the creaking of the old and worn-out mattress that your body makes and scream as you wiggle to try to break free. The copper smell of blood around you as the darkness of the void makes it hard to see and then a bright operating light blasts you in the eyes. Then you realize the scalpel is about to cut you open for a surgery you do not need or want. Tormented Souls seeks to bring us—and the genre—back to our most primal fears.
You are Caroline Walker and while you are investigating the disappearance of twin girls at Winterlake, something terrible happens to you. You wake up in the dead of night, in a bathtub without any clothing on and hooked up to some medical equipment that was placed in your body. Now you must fight to stay alive as you explore the abandoned mansion which also is now a haunted hospital and all you have are your skills, sharp reflexes, and hopefully the brains to solve the puzzles.
As you make your way through this dark and horrid environment, you will need to search the environment for anything you can use to your advantage. Use your wit to combine items in order to solve puzzles and use every resource available to explore the secrets of the mansion and its grounds. Nothing is ever what it seems at Winterlake Mansion though. Mirrors provide a path to an alternate reality and another place in time, and you need to unlock them to try to figure out the whole story of this wicked hell you are faced with. By crossing these shimmering gateways, she can manipulate the very fabric of reality in surprising ways – turning the situation to her advantage, hopefully.
Although Winterlake Mansion seems to be desolate of anything living, as Caroline investigates its secrets, dark forces and unspeakable horrors will do everything in their power to stop her from discovering the truth of this place. Be sure to always stay alert. I do mean this, as your fate can be sealed quickly, and you can become a permanent resident at the hospital if you are not alert. Most importantly, use anything and everything you can find to fight off the encroaching terrors of Winterlake.
With all that said, there are a few nit-picking things that I will discuss. The graphics of the game look amazing, however, the main character is out of place it seems. First off, her facial expressions do not match up at all with her interactions with others in the game. I know it sounds like a petty thing, but they put so much effort into giving this game that dark horror movie feels, and Caroline feels like she is an anime character they dropped off into a Silent Hill game. To me, this was a little distracting. It didn’t pull me from gameplay but occasionally, I just sat there thinking why she looked like this. I think they could make improvements on the character and the game would be flawless.
Secondly, some of the puzzles took longer to solve due to the fact they were not the correct or complete instructions on how to solve them. I think I spent like 20 mins on a puzzle near the start of the game because I was trying to solve it and I was missing a detail. I became very frustrated at it and almost quit the game but then I solved it and moved on. So far in my 5 hours of playing Tormented Souls, I only came across 3 puzzles that gave me an issue like this.
Finally, the melee combat for me at times was extremely annoying. The backstep was an issue for me. I had to fight a monster who was not walking let’s just say and I was using a crowbar to bash at it. When I tried to backstep to try to stay alive longer, I was still dying. It took me over 30 mins to kill a single monster. Some monsters take like 10 hits to die, which I can understand at times, but some of these hits should put down hardcore monsters in other video games. Then some of the rewards you get are just not worth the effort.
Tormented Souls is a great start to bringing the horror genre of video games back to the forefront. I was extremely pleased with my overall experience and so wish that moving forward that PQube Limited, Dual Effect, and Abstract Digital Works makes a few tweaks to keep this amazing game moving forward. I still have a bunch of the game to finish and I am excited to see where this goes and who knows maybe down the road, we will see Caroline Walker in a franchise of games. Tormented Souls is due to release this year on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Series S. You can play the demo now on Steam.
This preview was written based on a preview key of Tormented Souls for PC provided by PQube Games.