I’m trapped in here. I don’t know who I am or why I’m here. I tried to escape before but this place gives me the creeps. It’s a world I can’t trust, a world filled with monsters and visions that aren’t always there. It’s a hard task but if I want to make it out alive, I’ll have to figure out my identity and purpose in this Sanatorium.
Before Until Dawn
The Inpatient is the prequel of Until Dawn, a popular horror game that released on PlayStation 4 more than two years ago. The Inpatient takes place 60 years before the events of Until Dawn. If you haven’t played Until Dawn before, there’s no need to worry, you can perfectly enjoy The Inpatient since it’s a prequel and it clears some mystery that’s found in Until Dawn. In fact, it might be a better idea to first try this one before you jump into the crazy world of Until Dawn.
If you have played Until Dawn before, you have noticed the references to the incidents of the Blackwood Sanatorium. In The Inpatient, you’ll play as a patient that’s locked inside this crazy Sanatorium, clearing a lot of the mysteries that have remained unsolved before. You start the game genderless but once you’ve decided your gender, you’re free to go on probably one of the scariest adventures of your life.
Decisions are crucial
Your adventure starts with some explanation of the important mechanics that make this game into what it is. Making decisions is crucial if you want to make it out alive. From time to time, our nameless character has to decide where to go or what to answer. Not all of those decisions are important but some are, those are indicated by a fancy butterfly. Decisions like that will set the so-called Butterfly Effect in motion, meaning the events that follow can be different from those of a different player. Whatever you decide finally leads to one of the multiple endings, one being better than the other one. You can easily see the difference in your choices if you decide to go for a second run and answer or decide differently. Since it takes you a little less than three hours to complete the main game, replaying it to score a different ending is certainly a nice addition.
With this in mind, you’ll venture through the Sanatorium, looking for clues to your identity. Of course, this game isn’t a walking simulator but a horror game, so be prepared for some intense VR moments. Some items will trigger a memory or brutal nightmare segment filled with monster and other supernatural things, all designed to scare you. In all honesty, I must say I jumped from my chair multiple times. The tension is extremely high and since the action is right in your face, there’s no escaping your faith. It’s a bit of a shame the focus shifts in the middle of your adventure but that’s up to you to discover.
Some technical issues
So far so good, right? Well, this still is a PSVR game and we know that creating a game like this is rather hard. Virtual Reality always seems to struggle with controls and pacing, the Inpatient is no exception. First of all, you can play this game using your DualShock or Motion Controllers. The DualShock has the advantage for movements, those will feel more natural and you won’t get sick too fast if you’re sensitive to that. Tilting objects in your virtual hands using the DualShock looks and feels rather strange however? This is something that works a lot better with the Motion Controllers but those in turn struggle with movement issues. There’s no perfect controller available right now but for me, I preferred playing this with the DualShock since moving was more crucial than investigating the objects in a room.
Talking about moving, the pacing of the game is extremely low. Our character walks at a slow pace, even when he just met a monster face to face. Of course, this pacing has been picked to eliminate motion sickness but in a game like this, it’s a bit strange the character won’t run. That being said, the environment is worth checking out for sure.
A thrilling experience
Although the game has its technical issues, it’s still one of the more impressive PSVR games I’ve played, all thanks to the incredible atmosphere. The game is created with a lot of love and eye for details. Walking around will give you the chills and entering a new room will always have you wonder what kind of horror is waiting for you on the other side. It’s amazing to see how the music and graphics work so well together and manage to create one of the most unsettling atmospheres I’ve ever encountered in a horror game.
Using the PSVR only enforces this feeling and you’ll truly feel immersed in the wicked world of The Inpatient. There’s no way that I would spend more than a minute in such a place if it was real but there’s no escaping when you’re wearing a VR headset. The atmosphere is without a doubt the game’s biggest accomplishment.
The Inpatient isn’t the best game out there and struggles with some technical issues that are standard for most Virtual Reality games. Although it’s not perfect, it’s a game you won’t forget that easily. The story is filled with mysteries and scary moments, forcing you to stay concentrated every second of your journey. It also helps that the game sounds and looks this good, enabling you to truly accept this virtual reality as your own reality for a couple of hours. Definitely worth playing if you own the PSVR and aren’t easily scared.