Remothered: Broken Porcelain (PC) Preview

By David Lovato 25.05.2021

Review for Remothered: Broken Porcelain on PC

Italy-based Darril Arts aims to take survival horror back to its roots with Remothered, a new series whose first entry, Tormented Fathers, garnered some impressive awards. Inspired by series like Clock Tower, but in a 3D environment, the premise behind the sequel Broken Porcelain is simple: hide from the baddies, called Stalkers, while searching for clues, items, and ultimately, a way out of the Ashmann Inn.

Remothered: Broken Porcelain in its current state is a shining example of how great ideas can be sunk by bad execution. The graphics aren't terrible, but they're definitely not good. Animations are short and choppy, and idle animations never seem to stop; two characters in a deep conversation will writhe around, glance all over the room, turn their heads, look around for scary monsters (even before the horror segments of the game have begun), and just don't move naturally at all. Mouth movement is minimal if it ever happens, and watching blocky characters move around and talk without moving their mouths looks less like a video game and more like watching someone make-believe with their action figures.

Immersion is especially important in horror games, and while these problems are mostly hidden once the horror sections start, they're very off-putting in the quieter, more intimate parts of the game. The voice acting and dialogue make the animations look world-class, with flatly delivered lines and dialogue that serves more as story exposition than realistic conversation, but somehow still seems to miss the important bits; the game opens with Jennifer arguing with her "best friend" but one would never know the two girls ever liked each other, because they spend basically all of their in-game time together calling each other names and slamming doors. What should be an emotional moment before Jennifer is ripped away into her new nightmare is instead confusing and emotionless.

Screenshot for Remothered: Broken Porcelain on PC

Pretty much all of this can be fixed through patches, and even if it isn't, these issues are in no way dealbreakers. Far more pressing are the story and gameplay problems. On the story front, it just doesn't seem to make any sense at all, but this is very difficult to gauge without having played Tormented Fathers, and certainly a lot of questions raised in the preview build will be addressed in the final release. The over-arching plot may be confusing to a series newcomer, but Broken Porcelain does a good enough job holding itself up—likely most of the things that seem nonsensical now will make sense later, and in the end, the story does have a lot of originality and creativeness to it, even if it's not all immediately clear why anything is happening.

That aside, the story and environments so far are creepy and atmospheric, and while Broken Porcelain isn't exactly a gorgeous game, it's certainly solid enough to create and carry a scary overall tone. Stalkers will often switch between seemingly normal conversation or insights and their murderous desires, which creates a very unsettling dynamic between the player and the enemies. A lot of horror games that involve once-normal people turning bad tend to sort of phone this one in, but being constantly reminded that the "bad guy" stalking Jennifer is, underneath, someone she's known for a long time and possibly even cares about is one of the things Broken Porcelain does very well.

Screenshot for Remothered: Broken Porcelain on PC

Gameplay is where Broken Porcelain shatters and comes apart. Bad hitboxes and lazy controls actively work against the survival horror aspect of the game. It's hard to be scared watching your character open and close the same cupboard six times because pressing the action button to pick up the item inside the cupboard keeps activating the cupboard door again and again, and trying to position the camera in the pixel-perfect way that finally makes Jennifer grab the item is beyond frustrating. Now picture struggling with the controls while sneaking around trying not to get caught, or while being actively chased by a Stalker, and it tiptoes toward put-down-the-controller-for-good territory. Something as simple as running down a hallway turns infuriating quickly, as Jennifer will get within a few inches of furniture and completely stop, or worse, turn around. Bumping into the wrong game architecture shouldn't spin the player around and start them running toward what they were just running from.

Crafting is also a mess; pressing the item menu button brings up a horizontal list of every craftable item in the game, whether it can be crafted presently or not, and none of the items have names. Most have generic descriptions, but otherwise, the item menu is just a really long line of pictures of possible item combinations on one page, and then a list of items Jennifer actually has on another. There doesn't appear to be any way to access the collectibles, the odd items or random notes and pictures found throughout the inn, but it's also possible there's just no prompt for this.

Screenshot for Remothered: Broken Porcelain on PC

And that leads to the main problem with this game: it offers no guidance whatsoever. The first mission is "get to the lobby." Well, if there's a map, this reviewer wasn't able to find it, and it really doesn't make sense not to have one from the gate; Jennifer lives and works at the inn as a maid, so why would she not know the layout of the place like the back of her hand? Despite the game's best efforts, this reviewer eventually stumbled upon a door marked "Lobby." It was locked. This was after continuing to wander around the game space for about an hour, dying repeatedly, with no idea how to progress and no help offered by the game or its characters. At one point, trying one of the locked doors caused Jennifer to say something like "I have to get her to unlock this door." So she lured the Stalker toward the door, hid nearby, and then watched the Stalker repeatedly enter and exit the room beside the one Jennifer wanted her to unlock, stop to just stare at the locked door a few times, and eventually get bored and wander off somewhere else.

Sometimes, when attacked by a stalker, what one can only assume is a quick time event appears, with an on-screen button prompt. This doesn't appear to do anything; pressing it, holding it, and repeatedly tapping it were fruitless and the Stalker eventually just finished the job. The settings allow players to turn on a sort of "highlight" mode for interactive items, which is basically a must, as the interactive items often blend in perfectly with the static meshes in the scenery, and sometimes it's difficult to tell if an item can be picked up, is part of the scenery, or should be able to be picked up but requires that pixel-perfect camera positioning.

Screenshot for Remothered: Broken Porcelain on PC

Final Thoughts

Remothered: Broken Porcelain has the foundations for a fantastic survival horror experience and the skeleton of a solid game, but all the wrong things have been fleshed out while all the genre staples feel like they're sitting on the backburner, still waiting for the developers to get around to them. A lot of these issues will undoubtedly be solved in the final release, and even some of the more egregious problems can be fixed with a quick tutorial or pop-up or prompt, but others, like the controls and hitboxes, are more concerning. Still, players willing to poke around in the Remothered world are going to find a creative story with some striking themes and imagery, and fans of stealth horror games like Outlast, Siren, and Alien: Isolation have to check this one out, though it might need a patch or two before it gets to where it needs—and absolutely deserves—to go.

Developer

Stormind Games

Publisher

Modus Games

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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