Amongst the exclusive PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VRs featured in this E3 is a major venue for Supermassive Games, among other titles featuring The Inpatient , a first-person adventure that represents the prequel of Until Dawn, set 60 years earlier in the Blackwood Pines Sanatorium, a location already known to players who have followed the adventure of Mike, Josh and comrades.
Despite the unclear trailer the idea that the creators of Until Dawn could bring an experience of the same tones in virtual reality has intrigued us and the two runs of the demo here at E3 have confirmed to us that The Inpatient has no intention of go in the background. PSVR owners, present and future, are warned.
Back in 1952
According to developers, The Inpatient can be played as a stand-alone title and does not need Until Dawn to be understood, but the Blackwood Sanatorium and 1952 tell us that experience could only get out of the reach.
We awake tied up to a chair, wearing a patient suit, in a dark, bare room where only some hospital and machinery tendons range in the flatness of the walls.
One of the twilight people shows us getting closer, turning out to be Jefferson Bragg , hospital director. The brief session, between bivouac answers and incomprehensible flashbacks, ends with one of the “cardinal” choices of the game, highlighted by the animation of the butterfly effect typical of Until Dawn, and thus confirms the nature of the story where our chose to determine the path of the protagonist.
New scene and we find ourselves in our room where a mini tutorial explains the basic commands and makes us revive another flashback we do not understand much. What becomes obvious though is that Supermassive wants to play with us, making us live a flashback where we were asked to date the calendar next to us on January 14, 1952, and then find another in the room that marks the 5th of February of the same year.
But what does not coincide is all the rest: flashbacks, where the doors, walls and furniture are pretty new, and the actual reality, where the signs of time are obvious, are over three weeks. Not to mention that in the first “memory” the protagonist wears a doctor’s jacket and is hidden in a closet until it is discovered by a staff member, so the confusion is so much and it is difficult to reconstruct exactly what the true setting of The Inpatient, especially taking into account the clues left in Until Dawn.
Not a bad thing, this, as it will allow us to enjoy the plot of the game as it is revealed among choices to take, enigmatic flashbacks and terrifying and disturbing visions of which the protagonist is the victim. But in VR we are also ourselves.
A scary detail
The Inpatient confirms and improves the visual quality of Until Dawn especially in facial animations and knows it well: face to face close to Bragg and the protagonist are clearly valued to astonish the player with a photorealism that in VR makes even more, while the style and direction of the visions are magnanimous.
The jump scareshas not been missed but it was not banal but terrifying and developed within a distressing and disturbing scene as we have seen in the virtual reality of PlayStation. Finally, we wonder if the initial choice related to the sex of the protagonist may have an impact on the history of the story, a question we have received no obvious comment.
The work of Supermassive’s guys is deep, detailed and studied, able to take advantage of the experience gained with Until Dawn and push it to another level thanks to the VR and the total immersion it generates.
As we have seen, this is obviously a few minutes and both of our runs ended in the same way but we did not expect more from an E3 demo; We hope, however, that The Inpatient can continue on this road and that the bivouac structure can give a boost to a VR experience that looks very promising at all points of view.