PREVIEW: The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters

Dec
12

PREVIEW: The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters

The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters is an exceptional horror title and a sequel with the potential to convert even those who were unimpressed by the original.

Released: Steam Early Access
Type: Single-player
Genre: Horror, Adventure, Action
Developer: Devespresso Games
Publisher: Headup, WhisperGames
Release date: 07 November, 2019

Overview

Although there are plenty who disagree with me out there, I could never really get into The Coma: Recut. The theme was appealing enough, though the gameplay itself was tedious and repetitive. Being that I’m both a horror fanatic and a glutton for punishment, I decided that I’d give The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters a run and see if the formula had been tweaked to my liking. Spoiler: I was awed by how vastly improved this iteration was within only moments of picking up my controller.

This bodes well. I’m sure we’ll be fine.

Can’t Wake Up

The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters starts similarly to its predecessor. You’ll once again get a glimpse of the slice of life normalcy that is Sehwa High, though this time you experience it in the shoes of Mina instead. As expected, one thing leads to another and she finds herself far from the comfort of the Seoul that she knows, even if The Coma is nearly identical in many ways.

Cutscenes detail the events between chapters.

There’s not much more that can be said about the story that won’t spoil parts of it, but there are a number of instances where connections are made between it and the original, and there were never any lulls in the story. For the most part, it’s still mostly fetch quests lined up back-to-back, but I honestly can’t complain as the constant loop of hide-and-seek has been toned down, and I had fun every step of the way.

Even in this chilling world you’ll find allies. Give them a call when you’re not sure of what to do next and they might even be able to keep you on the right track.

The changes in scenery are also nice; you may be starting at the school again but you’ll be exploring several other locations that each offer a unique experience. These environments keep the game fresh and they were clearly designed with a passion for the project. I can’t stress enough that the art and sound combine to create a very strong setting that few other titles in the genre can compete with. In classic horror fashion, you’ll also find notes everywhere that deepen your understanding of the lore and they do so without boring you to sleep; they’re not as needlessly verbose as many in the genre have made them in the past. I found myself increasingly invested in the story and setting as I progressed, and I played The Coma 2 nearly twice as long as I played the original in my first session.

This isn’t even a hostile shade but that doesn’t mean it isn’t unsettling.

Wait, Did You Say Fetch Quests?

Why yes, section header, I did, but they’re nowhere near as dull as that description would make you think. The Coma 2 hits a sweet spot on the complexity spectrum for the experience that is is meant to create for the player. The locations are more memorable this time around as each is not only unique from the others, but each room, corridor, and space within them feels different from others in that same location; no longer will you bounce from classroom to classroom without being able to tell the difference. You’ll also find enemies to be varied as well, everything from the familiar shade of Ms. Song to a disturbing cleaver-wielding butcher will be hunting you as you travel through these locales, though you’ll be able to secure several advantages if you use your head and stay aware.

Game mechanics are explained in detail and are easy to understand.

The number one skill to develop is memorizing your hiding places. If you can do that, you’ll know exactly where to run when the most dangerous monsters show up. You’ll also want to work on your awareness, both in the visual and auditory spheres. Corpses fall from the ceiling while claws lash out in an attempt to rend your flesh, and you’ll learn to notice these before they have the chance to do so, though the game continues to introduce new foes as you progress. This goes double for the monsters that actively hunt you (like Vicious Sister) as you can hear their footsteps before they’re aware of you; it’s best to hide at this point as once you’ve spotted them, they’ve most likely already seen you too.

The atmosphere is fantastic and gives the game that ‘purgatory’ feel.

Health, stamina, and consumables make a return, and you’ll want to manage them efficiently. Health can be recovered via consumables to varying amounts, but you’ll also have to keep an eye out for status effects that can further complicate matters for you, such as bleeding and poison. Other items help with your stamina, which you’ll want to keep at a decent level as it’s integral to your survival. You’ll be burning stamina when you’re sprinting away from dangers, though if it will also increase the difficulty of the quick-time events when you are hiding if it is too low.

Quick-time events are used for both hiding spots and crafting story-related equipment.

Verdict

I can’t praise developers enough for using The Coma as a learning experience and applying that knowledge to build on its strengths while paring down its weaknesses. I was never able to have much fun with that title, but The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters had me hooked within minutes and I had to force myself to break away from it or I may have finished it in only one sitting. I won’t say that this game is the most terrifying one that I’ve ever played, as I never really felt on edge, but the horror elements integrated with the action mechanics to create a thrilling experience, and the story was very enjoyable throughout. If you liked the original, there’s no question that you’ll also find this sequel worth your time. On the other hand, if like me, you were unable to get into The Coma even though you thought the concept was promising, I’d recommend giving this one a chance s the gameplay has been vastly improved. I certainly enjoyed my time with it and I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more title from Devespresso Games in the future.

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