I’m a big fan of horror games, but there’s no denying that releases can get a little samey. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially since a lot of the typical first-person horror experiences can be super scary and full of frights, but we don’t always see too many fresh or original ideas come from the genre.
The Coma: Cutting Class changed that up with its enjoyable manga-stylised side-scrolling escapade back in 2015 that managed to offer a disturbing and undeniably spooky experience despite its unconventional appearance. Well, developer Devespresso Games are back again with the sequel The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters recently releasing on consoles, which doesn’t only bring more of the same top quality horror action that the first game did but also expands upon it with a larger world to explore this time around.
The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters takes place three weeks on from the events of the first game, with a new protagonist introduced this time around in the form of Mina Park. Youngho, the hero from the previous game, is still present, though he’s been left bedridden and unconscious following everything that he went through. I mean, a terrifying showdown with a murderous teacher in a horrifying form of your school would be enough to leave most folk in a rough state, right? At least Mina got to keep the mysterious amulet that he left behind, because OBVIOUSLY that wasn’t going to lead to anything bad happening to her…
Well, Mina ends up making the same mistake that Youngho did and finds herself in ‘The Coma’ – a nightmarish world that doesn’t only consist of a high school this time around but also its surrounding areas. It’s up to you to solve the mysteries of this world, survive its many monstrosities, and make your way back to safety.
Like the previous game, the tale of The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters is tied up in South Korean folklore with plenty of grisly and horrific myths making their presence felt throughout the game. It’s something that I actually appreciated a lot the first time around so I’m happy that it’s expanded upon here, especially since you get to venture a bit further than the school and see how ‘The Coma’ affects the other areas of the world. It’s good stuff and strengthens the already engaging narrative, which will certainly keep players hooked in with all of its creepy twists and turns.
The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters might not feel like a conventional horror title at first glance thanks to its side-scrolling setup, but it features plenty of the typical hallmarks that are so commonly associated with the genre. There’ll be plenty of running and hiding from all sorts of gruesome monsters (including the titular Vicious Sister who is a one-hit killing machine), a lot of exploration as you navigate each environment and scour every nook and cranny for items, and even a bit of puzzle-solving as you look to progress and bypass anything that’s in your path. The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters certainly ticks all of the right boxes when it comes to offering an enjoyable horror experience and those who are familiar with the genre will find that it manages to capture the vibe perfectly regardless of its side-scrolling setup.
As is the case with a lot of other horror games, you can’t actually fight off the creatures in The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters but instead have to run and hide from them or try to dodge their attacks. This manages to feel incredibly suspenseful throughout the game and I never found a single encounter to feel boring or forced, even if I was doing a lot of the same things when trying to avoid harm during them. This is something that’s owed to the game’s design, with each encounter proving to be increasingly more dangerous as you progress through the game and forcing the player to be warier in their approach. Whilst early encounters can typically be bypassed by simply running away, you’ll soon find yourself carefully looking out at what’s ahead of you, listening for the footsteps of anything that might be out of sight, and then making sure you’ve got an escape route planned in order to survive. The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters does a really job of making players fearful for what might be lurking in the shadows, but it never makes it overwhelming or unfair – especially since you can dodge attacks, use defensive items to avoid death (if you’re lucky enough to have some), or even complete quick-time events to remain safe from an enemy’s clutches.
Outside of encounters with enemies, you’ll spend a lot of time looking for different items in the environment; some of which are basic consumables that can recover your health, stamina, or status effects, and others which are required for puzzles or to progress through the game. The consumables are straightforward enough and are used on the fly when you need them – you can also purchase these from the many vending machines that are found around you or craft them, so you shouldn’t find yourself short of healing items when you need them. Key items on the other hand are a bit more hidden, though if you make a point of exploring every floor and room of an area you should find them with ease. Your progress will typically be blocked off if you don’t have the right item, so if you find yourself stuck with no way to move on through an area you’ve obviously just missed something and need to back track a bit…
You won’t mind too much though, especially since the world of The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters looks so damn impressive. The manga-style visuals were already great in the first game, but they’ve been improved upon here to make the world even more vibrant and eye-catching in design. The expanded selection of locales is impressive too, with areas like the local market, the police station, and the hospital all managing to feel eerily delightful to explore. The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters took a little bit of a risk with its expansion in scale over the original game, but it has really payed off and makes the whole experience feel more fleshed out in the process.
I’ve got a lot of praise for The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters and certainly enjoyed my eight-hour romp with the game, but it isn’t perfect. For one, despite having varied locales on offer, it’s mostly a change of aesthetic that comes with each one as opposed to adding a new dimension to the gameplay. Sure, you might be in places such as a hospital instead of just a school, but you can still expect to find yourself wandering corridors, exploring rooms, and hiding from monsters. I wasn’t expecting a massive change to the gameplay with each location you visit, but a couple of additional dynamics here and there would’ve added a welcome flair of variety to the experience – especially since the core gameplay cycle of running, hiding, and completing quick-time event can get a little repetitive the longer you play the game.
The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters offers an eerie and gruesome horror experience that doesn’t necessarily redefine the genre, but offers more than enough scares to keep gamers looking for some spooks hooked in. Sure, it is guilty of being a little repetitive in places, but the suspenseful showdowns with monsters and stellar visuals more than make up for it.
If you’re looking for a slick horror fix on your Nintendo Switch, you certainly won’t want to miss out on The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters – ESPECIALLY if you enjoyed the previous game.
Developer: Devespresso Games
Publisher: Headup Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC