Review: The Inpatient (PSVR)

Review: The Inpatient (PSVR)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 Optional (1)
  • Move Recommended (2)
  • PS VR Aim Controller None
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Title: The Inpatient
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (20.76 GB)
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Supermassive Games / Sony XDev Europe
Original MSRP: $39.99 (US), £34.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 18
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 559 of the podcast.

Gameplay:
Set sixty years before the events of the brilliant, award winning Until Dawn, The Inpatient expands upon the universe’s lore in a much more personal and unnerving way.

The immersion of PlayStation VR puts you directly into the story in a way that wasn’t possible before.

Because of this, you’ll also be playing in the first person as a single character rather than jumping all around the story with all different characters as in Until Dawn.

To really cement that immersion, I highly recommend you play with the voice response option and the Move controllers. Using Move controllers in a first person VR experience will almost always make you feel more “present” but the voice response really takes things to the next level.

As you’re asked questions, emotional responses will appear to either side of the person doing the asking. Staring directly at either of them will bring up a dialogue response. All you have to do is read the one you want and the character you’re talking to will immediately react. It’s magical.

Everyone was upstairs asleep while I played so I was trying to be quiet when speaking my responses. I could only imagine my wife or kids waking up to the noise, coming to the top of the stairs only to find me sitting alone in the dark with TV off, bathed only in the glow of the VR headset and Move controllers, spouting off odd sentences. I may have quickly found myself in a real institution.

Seriously though, I’ve never felt that deeply immersed in a game and it made the entire experience much more intense. The voice response only failed one time and that’s because I was speaking so softly it didn’t hear me. When nothing happened, I immediately said the line again in a normal voice and it was fine.

Graham Reznick and Larry Fessenden, the writers of Until Dawn are back to craft a wonderfully creepy tale that expands and fleshes out the universe a bit. You don’t have to play Until Dawn to enjoy The Inpatient but you’ll definitely get more out of it if you have. You could also play the two games in either order but I’d recommend playing them in the order of their release.

Just like in Until Dawn, key moments in the game are highlighted just after the fact as “Butterfly Effect” moments, where decisions made can have bigger ramifications down the line.

This worked on a really deep level in the previous game and while this is a shorter experience, the potential changes are still enough to make the experience worth playing through multiple times.

At the start of the game, you wake up in the Blackwood Pine Sanatorium and hotel on a snowy mountainside strapped to a chair with no memory of who you are or how you got there. You’ll spend the rest of the game trying to figure that out so buckle up for a wild ride.

Visuals:
Set in a medical facility/hotel in the early 1950’s, it’s everything you’d imagine it to be. The attention to detail in the environment is what sells it. This is clearly the next generation of VR games and you’ll recognize that right off the bat.

In the first scene when the doctor gets right in your face it gets really uncomfortable. All I wanted to do was get away. The character models look amazingly detailed and it really puts you in the moment.

You will get to wander through disturbing dream sequences and eventually out of your room and around the grounds. You’ll start to feel like you’re really there taking part in the story.

Audio:
When it’s done right, the audio in a horror game can set the tone, complement the action, and terrify you – sometimes all at once. The audio in The Inpatient excels at this. Put your headphones on and enjoy the experience.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
The Inpatient expands upon the Until Dawn mythology in a brilliantly frightening way. Even having played Until Dawn, I still wasn’t prepared for what this experience threw at me. It’s a fantastic horror tale that’s been brought to a new level of immediacy with the immersion of PlayStation VR.

The voice response mechanic is pure magic and it brought me into the world in a way I’ve only seen in science fiction. Sure, other games have used voice control in the past, but to me, it’s never felt as seamless or real as it does here.

Fans of Until Dawn need to play this game, just trust me on this. This is a huge leap forward for the medium and it’s one that I hope both gamers and other developers are paying attention to.

Score:
9.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Josh Langford

Josh Langford

Josh has been gaming since 1977 starting with the Atari 2600.
He currently owns 26 different consoles and 6 different handhelds (all hooked up and in working condition) including all consoles from the current generation.

Josh is currently the US PR & Marketing Manager for Fountain Digital Labs and has recused himself from any involvement on PS Nation arising from posting or editing any news or reviews stemming from FDL.

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