Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t psychological thrillers meant to be….ya know thrilling!?. I have a soft spot for games that really gets into my psyche and truly makes me feel like turning each corner could result in something shocking something with unfortunately can’t be said for Past Cure. Developed and self-funded by German company Phantom 8, Past Cure is advertised as ‘An intense, cinematic, story driven experience’ which can be true in some sense with the intensity sprouting within its rigid characters, a narrative that’s as cliched and predictable as they come and gameplay that some may perceive as unoriginal, repetitive and sluggish with rare moments of intrigue.

Upon being greeted by the world’s most awkward main menu and starting your game you meet Ian (the illegitimate love child of Ethan Mars and Tommy Wiseau), a former military man who is missing 3 years worth of his memory and suffers from extremely vivid and lucid nightmares that may point to what happened in that time, along with unexplained special abilities. Because of this, he has begun to rely on special black market pills to help sustain his mental stability. With the help of his allusive, helpful and somewhat sketchy brother Marcus, Ian finds a lead to a company that has been peddling a similar sort of medication. With this new found information, Ian infiltrates the hotel they have commandeered to discover the truth of his lost memory and the people he sees in his nightmares. This weak narrative is simply one part of Past Cure’s downfall, as the game progresses it doesn’t feel like its growing into something bigger with the climax being as unfulfilling as I suspected, hits with very little impact, answers none of your questions and leaves things pointlessly open ended. Having a lead character that has about as much charisma as a sack of wet sand complete with monotonic voice acting that sounds like the actor was falling asleep at the sound booth and varies in volume (this goes for every character sadly)doesn’t help things and being paired along side antagonists that hold about as much intimidation as a wild pack of pugs, this sets a precedence that makes Past Cure forgettable in terms of connecting with its player.

Past Cure presents an art style that can only be described as drab and uninspiring. Bland textures, a dull and lacklustre palette and environments that are about as memorable as they are shoddy, with Ian’s home jutting out of the ground like an American Psycho wet dream and the hotel where a bulk of the game takes place looking like it has been copy and pasted directly from pictures on Trip Advisor, it even includes a wonderfully hackneyed underground car park for ‘epic’ fire fights, very rarely does this title show genuine atmosphere which is all lumped into one section which for a brief moment gives this game promise before being hurtled back to a different yet all too familiar sort of environment. However, the character models fit in perfectly with the surroundings with facial expressions that look like they have received discount Botox, movements that are about as graceful as a ton of bricks and look like they have a mouth full of toffee when they talk. The immersion is lessened even further by the music which adds next to nothing dynamically thanks to the continuous looping of unimaginative scores that last only a couple of bars each time.

Though a little sluggish in movement and targeting, Past Cure’s gameplay works pretty standardly if not extremely repetitive and it being riddled with tedious button commands and unstable models, and features mechanics that have been tried and tested in other titles , which to be fair isn’t much of a con but where Past Cure fails in this respect is the inability to make good use of them in intriguing and creative ways. Astral Projection – an ability that causes Ian to have an outer body experience and travel around the surroundings freely (reminiscent of Beyond: Two Souls) is only really used to hit switches that are out of reach and a couple of times to see into peoples minds which is a good addition but like I said its only used sparingly and isn’t treated like a big deal and is forgotten about nearly as quick as its introduced!

You also have the ability slow down time around you and I’m not gonna lie shooting people in the head in slow motion feels pretty badass! but this can be spammed completely as it doesn’t run out completely you can only diminish the amount of time it is effective making downing foes and dodging the nightmare mannequins that move like the T-1000 and are about as scary as a Scrappy-Doo mystery an absolute breeze. This is detrimental to your sanity metre, which could have been a nice touch and takes me back to playing Eternal Darkness but could be used much more imaginatively like it, instead of your vision turning into an inebriated blur and your aim going to sh*t. Despite its basic point A to point B style of gameplay, Past Cure does broaden itself into some nice head scratching puzzles in the latter parts of the game before throwing you back into a cover-based shooter. Past Cure is also pretty linear, even going as far as having blockades glitching out of thin air in the last chapter just to drive home the fact that YOU CAN’T GO THAT WAY!!! And to top things off Past Cure won’t take you long to finish at all, with a run time of about 3 hours at most at most (which you won’t get back trust me).

Past Cure is available now on PS4, Xbox One and Steam