The survival horror genre has seen a resurgence in recent years. There’s a particular itch genre fans have that very few games are scratching even now, and that’s the itch for a classic moody old-school fixed-camera survival horror game with a focus on exploration, puzzle solving, and resource management like the Resident Evil and Silent Hill games.
Tormented Souls was developed by Dual Effect and Abstract Digital and was released in July 2021, with its closed beta version later in August coming out with its initial release. Tormented Soul lived up to the genre it claimed to be a part of, against all odds.
It seems like we finally have a traditional survival horror game to play that isn’t old enough to legally join the military, and holy hell, that feels wonderful to say so now that we know what we’re working with, this game is a genuine artifact from a bygone era so, why don’t we take a look and see what kind of story it’s trying to tell.
Tormented Soul is singularly focused on the idea of creating a modern old-school survival horror game, and that is this game’s biggest strength, but at times also its biggest weakness. The game evokes the original Resident Evil and its remake in a lot of ways, from its fixed camera angles to its haunted mansion setting or part haunted mansion, at least to the moody atmosphere.
Quiet dread it so successfully builds, making your way through the dimly lit creepy halls and rooms of a hospital that once used to be an abandoned mansion is done exactly the way you’d want deliberate exploration, and carefully searching environments are encouraged.
- Release Date: 2021
- Creator/Developer: Dual Effect, Abstract Digital
- Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X, and Series S
- Ratings: 9/10 (Steam), 7.4/10 (IMDB)
- Genre: Puzzle Video Game, Adventure game, Shooter Video Game, Adventure
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Tormented Soul Story And Gameplay Review
Tormented souls as horror aren’t about sudden spikes of fear as much as it is about maintaining a constant foreboding atmosphere, which is the perfect way to utilize its setting solid lighting and well-crafted decrepit environments with blood splattered across the wall and unsettling objects or paintings scattered here and there contribute a lot to that atmosphere.
The pace is kept slow to put plenty of emphasis on resource conservation and management right off the bat, which means running. Gunning isn’t always advisable, like in Dead Space-type games. The story starts with the main character Caroline chilling at home when she receives a letter in the mail. It was sent from a Canadian hospital and included a picture of two twins.
On the back is a message about someone being abandoned, and when Caroline looks at it, she gets this weird feeling of sharp pain, wondering why she would react like that and who the hell’s out there in Canada just sending out pics of twins. Caroline heads to the Wild Burger hospital. Upon arrival, before getting a chance to file a health and safety complaint, she is smacked upside the head and knocked out.
Moments later, she wakes up from a head injury naked in a tub and with a tube plunged down her throat, which is not a desirable scenario even in the best of times. Still, if there was one worse fate, it would be doing all that, and then she realizes her eye had been taken out while she was unconscious.
So now that Caroline is awake and lacking some real depth perception, the mission must continue, and so you, as the player, start the game. The story could likely be described as relatively slow in any other context, but this genre is sort of built on the practice of keeping the player as unaware for as long a period as humanly possible.
There are going to be those of you who aren’t down for that kind of slow burn, and honestly, that’s fair, but I would say the eventual reveal is definitely worth sticking with it, much like the games that obviously inspired it a good chunk of the story here is going to be delivered through notes journal entries and random documents.
Without spoiling anything, the story will put its pieces together with artifacts, letters, and drawing throughout the mansion that you will discover, thus revealing the big picture. Throughout Tormented Souls, you’ll be reading what seems like random maintenance reports or medical journals, but key events and characters will get further resolved in the process.
This is yet another anchor firmly keeping this title in the realm of survival horror, but it’s also a method of storytelling that always just sort of spoke to the fans of this genre throughout the years. The story beats are great. It might be a little predictable, but it’s an interesting story concerning barbaric occult religious practices.
So without giving too much away, let’s just say the game is basically played like a product of mashing Silent Hill and Resident Evil together in equal parts. Well, let’s just say the story and subject are 100% Silent Hill. From the exploration point of view, the hospital seems very small at first, but as you find more items and solve more puzzles, the map starts to reveal itself to the player, which is the real draw here.
Now, do you need many skills to play this game? Of course not. Like all games in this genre, a title like this is not about being mechanically skilled at the game, that is to say, pushing the right buttons at exactly the right time.
But instead, it’s about planning and execution. It’s not about following a waypoint on your map to an enemy encounter and then having your skills be the only determining factor for whether you proceed.
So the only thing that might make you want not to play TS is the sheer horror and spooky factor that this game manages to uphold throughout the entire journey and even scaring the player with a couple of jump scares and chase scenes that will make you sweat and breath heavy.
Tormented Souls: Conclusion And What We Think About It.
Without going into more detail, I think one of the best things about playing a game like this is that no one can really ruin that first experience for you, so you’ll just have to take my word when I say that this game does a lot to make sure fans of old survival horror games feel right at home.
Typically, you’d expect something like that to be said about gameplay or graphics, but as a fan, you will appreciate that these guys made sure the story also felt accurate to what you would have likely seen in the genre back in its heyday.
The total playtime of this game if you want to finish just the story is 8+ hrs, and if you are a completionist, the game should take about 10+ hours to finish; overall, it’s a short and sweet combination of classic old-school horror and modern storytelling like The Quarry. The game is clearly a small-budget production, and it’s made with a lot of love for the classic days of survival horror games.
You can get the game for just $20 on Steam, which is a very low price to pay for what the game gives in return. In my opinion, it’s not even worth it to have second thoughts over it, so if you are on PC, definitely buy it and also put in your review and how-to felt about the game, as it helps the developers a ton to figure things out.
Tormented Souls is completely dedicated to its vision of delivering a hard-boiled old-school experience. Honestly, that’s why it excels when it comes to its focus on exploration and resource management and its palpable atmosphere.
Tormented Souls gets a big 4.5/5 from us on gameplay, 3/5 on storytelling because of the mentioned reasons above, and 4/5 on mechanics because although the game does very well with everything, the camera work feels choppy at times. Overall, we happily give it a 3.8/5 on ratings and encourage you to give it a try for yourself.
But there are plenty of rough edges, too, all of which do add up in the end for fans of the fixed camera era of the survival horror genre. The game is a solid trip down memory lane, but even so, it’s got a lot of room for improvement.
Our Rating: ⭐ (3.8/5).