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Friday, September 18, 2020

[Preview] ‘Remothered: Broken Porcelain’ Looks Set to Be a Superior Sequel to the Promising Italian Survival Horror

Thumbing through an old book evokes a peculiar nostalgic longing in me. As if there are grand mysteries hidden between the previous owner’s page folds and wine rings. Remothered: Broken Porcelain had a similar effect. Dusty, wood varnished hallways of the Ashmann Inn house many secrets, and my four hours spent with a preview build barely shed any light on them. It was just enough to stir my curiosity; when I wasn’t bolting from a maniac, that is.  

Remothered: Broken Porcelain is a contemporary take on PlayStation 2-era horror games (and the work of Dario Argento). Comparisons to a particular series set in spooky clock towers notwithstanding, Broken Porcelain looks to accentuate everything good about Remothered: Tormented Fathers‘ frantic chases, while tossing its predecessor’s bad habits like item bloat and awkward stealth sections in the bin. Already, Broken Porcelain hosts a far better game of cat-and-mouse.

You don’t need a Tormented Fathers playthrough under your belt to understand Broken Porcelain‘s story, thankfully. There’s a brief recap initially, one I desperately needed since the overarching plot is bananas. Jennifer, our young protagonist, is stuck in the Ashmann Inn during a fierce winter storm, and this hotel is way out in the middle of bumfuck nowhere. As if being cut off from the outside world wasn’t bad enough, Jennifer has to duck and weave through dimly lit corridors, lest she ends up stuffed and mounted like all the taxidermied critters littering the walls.

remothered broken porcelain 01

Jennifer isn’t alone. Several unsavory characters are sulking about, the first being Andrea, a hostess whose all-work-and-no-play lifestyle has made her a dull girl. Shortly after dishing out some history on the hotel’s proprietors, Andrea tried to stick me with the pointy end of some scissors. It was a mad dash away from her and into the nearest broom closet. A sigh of relief came over me, not just because I’d escaped Andrea’s clutches, but also upon realizing Broken Porcelain ditched an annoying minigame from Tormented Fathers. In that game, you had to keep a floating ball within a circle while hiding, and failure to do so meant stalkers would be alerted to your presence. It sucked. This time, thankfully, you’ve just gotta get out of a stalker’s line of sight and hopefully pick a hiding spot that isn’t too obvious. 

The Ashmann Inn is ridiculously tangible, making the sinister hide-and-go-seek affair that much more fun. Shower stalls and clothing closets make for good (if not obvious) hiding spots, but even innocuous bed chests are great camouflage. I often got a nervous snicker out of Andrea’s desperate search for me. Furiously yanking cupboards and dressers open, yet brazenly ignoring the chest where I stowed away. Hopefully, the final release has a difficulty slider because Andrea isn’t the brightest cookie. Kind of kills the tension when your assailant is so easily bamboozled. 

In fairness, though, getting caught in Broken Porcelain means you’ll likely eat dirt. When my back was against the wall, Andrea would wail on me into oblivion. Her blade lodged firmly in Jennifer’s skull when all was said and done. With so little room for error, I made use of every defense item. Be it kitchen knives to shove in Andrea’s chest when she grabbed me, or tossable wine bottles to crack off her skull from a distance–there’s a lot to work with here. Better yet, there’s a new crafting system for stitching doodads together. Defensive item slots were sparse in Tormented Fathers, which lead to a lot of swapping out or leaving items behind entirely. Now, though, most junk can be macgyvered together into better gadgets rather than be stuck gathering drawer dust. My favorite was a devious mixture of laundry detergent and booze, which stunned Andrea something fierce when I lobbed it at her. Fisticuffs devolve into endurance tests quickly, though, since stalkers have thicker hides than Jennifer. So avoiding confrontations is vital. 

remothered broken porcelain 02

Stealth in Broken Porcelain is much better than Tormented Fathers, or at least it’s up to modern standards. Peeking around corners in the first game irritated me to no end. You couldn’t hug walls, resulting in stalkers spotting my butt hanging out from the opposite side of door frames. In Broken Porcelain, though, Jennifer can poke her head out for a lay of the land while glued to cover. A tiny addition at surface level, but it brings some much-needed depth. During one section of the demo, Andrea was toiling away at a sewing machine, mumbling about how everyone in the hotel had pianos tied to their asses. I was beside a doorway to her right, waiting for a window of opportunity. Then, when her peripheral vision wasn’t on the door–I peeled off the wall, circled the desk she was at, and crept on by while she was none the wiser. 

A telephone was in the back of the room. “Jackpot,” I whispered–time to call for help. Unfortunately, outgoing calls were a no-go, but I could ring-up guest rooms throughout the floor. Finally, I got a taste of puzzles in Broken Porcelain. There was a locked door at the end of the hall, Room 213, and Andrea had the key. So I punched in the room number, did my best mannequin impression as she ran by, and watched her open the door. Bingo, I could now access the hotel’s next wing. Without a doubt, this was my favorite moment of the demo. Despite how simple it is, there’s a systematic logic to puzzle solutions. Think Resident Evil‘s approach, minus all the rooster-keys.

remothered broken porcelain 03

I finished the demo for Remothered: Broken Porcelain in under an hour, but that was enough to get me excited. Maybe the nods to Stephen King’s The Shining are a smidge too strong, yet I couldn’t help be feel like this was a much more confident game than the first regardless. The environments are wildly interactive, stalker showdowns are clever, and puzzles are dripping with creativity. I can’t wait to uncover every dirty secret of the Ashmann Inn when Remothered: Broken Porcelain releases in time for Halloween. 

Remothered: Broken Porcelain preview code for PC provided by the publisher.

Remothered: Broken Porcelain is out on October 20 on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/video-games/3632347/preview-remothered-broken-porcelain-looks-set-superior-sequel-promising-italian-survival-horror-remothered-tormented-fathers/

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