Past Cure is an ambitious and unique game by Phantom 8 Studios that came out a short time ago. The game is a psychological thriller following the main character who is missing the past few years of his life from his memories. He woke up on a freeway in London and has been tortured by nightmares ever since. The nightmares often have him fighting or outsmarting these creepy white statuesque creatures. Those sequences are paralleled by his daytime adventure where he tries to figure out what happened to him as well as piece together events happening in the world.

Intrigued, To Say The Least

For what it’s worth Past Cure delivers on its claim of being a thriller. Never once during the campaign did the game disconnect and feel stale, a little frustrating at times but never boring. The transition between the main character’s dream sequences and the real world events were well done. The puzzles were pretty solid often having players think outside the box or use the powers at their disposal to accomplish the puzzles endgame. The story managed to stay entertaining throughout the game. That feels like such a run of the mill thing to say but it is true for Past Cure. Ian’s story weaves an interesting narrative that blurs the line between dream and reality. It’s been awhile since I was so into a game that I was trying to guess the ending and constantly trying to find the tiniest inkling that I was right or wrong about the outcome. Was everything all in Ian’s mind? Was it a coma? That sense of wonder mixed with the decent foundation of gameplay is what kept pushing me through to the end of Past Cure.

Combat

In general, the combat felt okay. It worked in the context of the game but had aspects that didn’t feel fully complete. For instance, when fighting in melee combat the main character didn’t seem to lock on to his attacker he just sort of flailed around and players had to hope they could hit the enemy they intended. It didn’t always work out. Gunplay felt like it relied a little too heavily on the main character’s time powers. I frequently found that if I did not slow time in firefights there was almost no chance of hitting my intended target with a kill shot. Worse yet multiple targets would easily riddle me with bullets if I moved from cover without hitting the button to slow time, allowing myself to pop up shoot them in the head and then return to cover.

Combat with the monsters also seemed to have inconsistencies. While fighting them the first few times they died with one shot to the body. Later on, those same monsters only went down with shots to the head. Later still the main protagonist couldn’t fight them at all. The best explanation I could come up with was the developers wanted each “dream sequence” to feel unique so they changed it around on the player in an attempt to keep the porcelain looking monsters feeling like a threat to the player.

A Little Rough Around The Edges

My biggest issue with the game was the fact that it crashed every two to three hours which made streaming it a hassle as it would stop the stream entirely. Moving to the mechanic’s side of the game, there were an array of problems that plagued this game. Weapon aiming wasn’t as tight as it could have been I felt like it was insanely easy to miss shots on enemies. The AI was easy to trick and sometimes would get stuck on itself making stealth sections all the more troublesome. Case in point, there is one section that requires players to steal a key card from a manager and get to the elevator. The first three enemies (including the manager) were easy to pinpoint and dispatch accordingly. The latter three individuals seemed to have been acting in a matter they shouldn’t have been. At any given moment two of them were looking at each other and still had the third person in the line of site. Making matters worse two of them frequently walked into each other and would then start doing circles around one another like they couldn’t decide where to go. It ended up making the whole sequence take way too long and was the only time I thought about putting the game down.

Room for Improvement

Past Cure isn’t perfect, not even close. The voice acting feels flat at times, and Ian, as well as a few other characters, are monotone when speaking. I mentioned the issues with combat already. It felt like the meter for Ian’s sanity/powers melted way too quickly when initiated, which is nearly every few seconds in combat. Couple that with the AI issues I mentioned earlier and this game should get an obscenely low score. But that’s not true, despite the flaws this review has talked about I wholeheartedly think this game has a solid foundation for a number of reasons and can be used as a learning platform for the studio going forward. Phantom 8 had a lot of brilliant aspects to Past Cure that I think don’t get talked about enough. Take for instance a later level involving Ian inside a dream, the atmosphere to that gives off a top-notch horror vibe. It felt straight out of the older Silent Hill games. The monster cycling around the area made the player pause and survey the area to get their pathways memorized. The game also put out a few scares here and there, jump scares mind you but scares nonetheless. Except when monsters snuck up behind players, that was always a legitimate scare. All of the felt like a nice counter when put against the real world’s constant gun blazing gameplay style.

To Put It Plainly

Phantom 8 studios have put out a rough cut gem with their (as far as I can tell) flagship game Past Cure. Despite all, it fumbles with Past Cure shows a ton of positive aspects that I believe give the less than ten person team at Phantom 8 a solid platform to grow and build upon. The game had some awesome atmosphere, a well put together story (even with the whole amnesia angle). Not to mention the wonderful parallel of dream and reality world’s that forced players more often than not to switch up their play styles. Seeing the lines blur between those worlds helped push the compelling narrative that Phantom 8 tried to tell. Past Cure deserves the flak it gets, but it also deserves praise for what it gets right, and that is why it gets the review score below.

Past Cure Review
The Good
  • Wonderful Atmosphere
  • Blurs Reality and Dream Really Well
  • Delivers on Claims of Being a Thriller
The Bad
  • Inconsistent Gunplay
  • Relies Too Heavily on Ian's Powers in Combat
  • Monotone Character Dialogue
7Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

Allen S
Editorial/Reviews Team, Manager

I started gaming when I was seven years old. I started my own game studio when I was twelve, went to school for game design. Now I work here and also on my own YouTube channel