Title: The Coma: Recut
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
Developer: Devespresso Games
Publisher: Digerati Distribution
Genre: Survival Horror
Official Site: https://www.devespressogames.com/the-coma-recut
Release Date: September 22, 2017
Where To Buy: PlayStation Store, Xbox Marketplace, Nintendo Shop, Steam, Local Retailer
The Coma: Recut is a remastered version of the Korean horror classic developed by Devespresso Games that pits you against the horrific shadow versions of your classmates and favorite teacher. In order to survive, you must discover a way to appease this terrifying place and then make it to the exit before being hunted down by “The Killer”.
The game has you playing as a high school student named Youngho who has recently been plagued by nightmares, which he assumes to be due to the stress from his upcoming exams. He wakes up late and makes his way to school to discover an ambulance carting away a classmate of his who had apparently committed suicide. Despite this, exams are still occurring, so he quickly makes his way to class. Unfortunately, he falls asleep almost immediately.
The world he wakes up in, and the setting for the game, is a dark reflection of his high school known as “The Coma”. It is here that he finds himself stuck, along with the shadowed reflections of some of his close classmates and the vile and horrifying visage of his favorite teacher, who now appears as a murderer hunting him down with an axe. The longer he stays in this world, the more adamantly she will hunt him down.
While the vast majority of this space is aimed only at killing Youngho, he does find a new friend, Yaesol, who helps navigate him through this newfound space. As it turns out, Youngho’s poor grades are what is keeping him in the Coma, and the only way out is to amend these problems and avoid death along the way. But as you wander through, you realize that some of your close friends aren’t all they seem.
In The Coma: Recut, you navigate the various rooms and hallways of your school, which becomes more and more treacherous as you progress. In each space, you discover more and more notes that detail the occurrences at the school and how the Coma came to be. You also discover ways to fix your grades and move closer to escaping. As you were informed, the longer your stay in the Coma progresses, the more twisted and corrupted each room becomes, and the more difficult it is to avoid The Killer as she hunts you down.
Another major aspect of the game is resource management. With only a select few spots in your backpack to carry things around, you become very aware of keeping the right materials on you at all times. Running away from The Killer takes a lot of stamina, so making sure you have that to replenish is mandatory. If you take too many hits, you’ll need to heal up. Get poisoned or scratched along the way? You’ll need antidotes and bandages to fix that problem.
You’re also stuck saving at whatever working chalkboards you can find, which means remembering what rooms you explored had them available, as well as places to hide. Each of these is actually done very well and you never feel truly doomed if you’re running away, so long as you came prepared. The biggest issue I had with the game is the amount of backtracking required of you. In a game where sneaking and moving slowly is required, crossing the entire campus to go back to where I just came from becomes incredibly frustrating.
The other major issue is how disappointing the ending is. After spending the four or so hours inside of this game stressing over each decision I made and running from a psychotic killer, I hoped the ending would at least give me a payoff that felt like anything I did mattered. Instead (without spoiling), you’re left with a feeling of wasted time and energy all for the promise of a sequel. This above everything else left a bad taste in my mouth.
Verdict: I don’t enjoy many horror games, but I felt like The Coma: Recut did a decent job of making me feel like I was making progress and avoiding danger. Safe zones were never so far away that I felt left out to die, and the few times I was overcome were due to lack of planning rather than poor game design. While the story doesn’t end in a way that makes you feel accomplished or rewarded, the world building the game does gives a dark and intriguing depiction of the harshness of academics in Korea. It’s worth the four or five hours it takes to beat, just don’t get your hopes up too high for the ending.
- Challenging but never too difficult
- Not overly obsessed with resource management
- Interesting world building
- Poor ending with no feeling of reward
- Backtracking consistently through levels
- No real attachment to characters