The Inpatient (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 28.01.2018

Review for The Inpatient on PlayStation 4

SuperMassive Games toiled away on Until Dawn for years, with it first beginning as a PlayStation 3 survival horror before it became the narrative-driven cinematic adventure it was on PlayStation 4. It was a pretty popular title that showed off the impressive mocap technology and visuals of the Decima Engine. Stylistically, it harkened back to '90s era slashers but elevated thanks to its cast of superb performers. SuperMassive Games would eventually go on to make two VR exclusive spin-offs, with Rush of Blood and now The Inpatient. Is this prequel to Until Dawn worth putting on the VR headset, or is this just another lame VR tech demo with shallow gameplay?

The PSVR rarely gets a hit these days. This is likely because developers are so sheepish when it comes to making VR games. It is as if they are afraid of making their titles into actual fully fledged games. For every Monster of the Deep, Skyrim VR or Resident Evil 7 there are dozens upon dozens of shovelware releases or VR "experiences." The Inpatient is the latter. Sadly, SuperMassive's prequel spin-off does not join the greats in PSVR Valhalla. Instead, the team chose to create the most pedestrian of VR experiences on the console, where its only saving grace is the visuals.

Screenshot for The Inpatient on PlayStation 4

When The Inpatient begins, it can be easy to assume that this is going to be amazing thanks to its period atmosphere and amazing facial expressions. One might even think there will be some real potential since there is going to be branching paths and butterfly effect choices to make as seen in its parent game, Until Dawn. Where does it go all wrong? Probably the moment control is given. For some reason, something as simple as basic movement in VR is hard for so many developers.

Other VR games get it right, yet The Inpatient is another example of the developers thinking that what works isn't good enough. When smooth turning is active, for some reason the avatar only steps back one step when pulling back on the left analogue stick. Constantly pulling back on the control stick in this manner to walk backwards is incredibly unnatural and no point in a game like this since it is basically a walking-sim with no lose states. This also applies to walking left or right. Movement is just so agonisingly slow and feels like wading through molasses wearing lead snow shoes. The slowness also artificially pads the absurdly short length, which lies around the three hour mark.

Screenshot for The Inpatient on PlayStation 4

Some people may be patient enough to endure the The Inpatient's control scheme and some might even appreciate the glacial movement speed. The core gameplay will be the breaking point for most, though, since for the first 30 minutes the player-character is stuck in a room and must endure scripted events or 'fraudulent cut-scenes' that take forever to end and cannot be skipped. This will continue since it is part of the story and when some freedom is granted to leave this cell, the true horror of The Inpatient rears its ugly head.

The level design is long corridor after long corridor, which are explored in a linear path. There is almost nothing to do except choose between a left or right fork and commit to one because, no matter what, the other path gets locked out. The overall look of everything is just so plain and areas that might be interesting have one or two pieces of furniture blocking it off. It's unfortunate that it had to be this way since The Inpatient can look impressive at times. Character models are easily the most polished aspect of the game and had the most attention given to them, even if they don't always cast shadows.

Screenshot for The Inpatient on PlayStation 4

The Inpatient is borderline nothing. As it turns out, the events that happened over 50 years prior to the moments of Until Dawn are not interesting. It is nothing that anyone who didn't play the original game didn't already know. Contextually, The Inpatient fails because it tells a story that did not need to be told and on its own merits it is so dull and boring that it will be the first VR game to put people to sleep. Much of the horror really gets undermined by the gameplay, which has no threats.

To make an effective horror experience, it is important that there is some threat or gameplay mechanics that services the danger. The Inpatient has nothing in it, so it is never scary, only boring. This had potential to be better than Here They Lie, but it somehow is much less interesting to play since that game had some scarce moments that required real interaction with the world, characters, and even had real consequences on gameplay instead of pointless collectibles.

Screenshot for The Inpatient on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

2/10
Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

The Inpatient is one of the most disappointing games ever made. Even when detached from the excellent Until Dawn, on its own it's a shallow walking sim with glossy production values. This might be okay for a one and done play-through, if acquired for free, and even then it is hard to justify the cost of the time spent playing this husk of a game. This is at best a glorified and expensive demo reel for talented 3D artists and VR programmers - not really a game worth playing at all.

Developer

SuperMassive Games

Publisher

SIEE

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

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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