I love the old-school Resident Evil games, so everything about Tormented Souls appealed to me. The fixed camera angles, the cryptic puzzles, the eerie setting… it ticked all of the right boxes. With plenty of releases inspired by Capcom’s famed series that varied heavily in quality though, I was a little dubious going on.
Thankfully, I’m happy to report that Tormented Souls is the perfect love letter to the series, even if it does have some little kinks that could do with ironing out.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Tormented Souls puts players into the role of Caroline, a young woman who finds herself drawn to the seemingly abandoned Winterlake hospital after receiving a photograph of two missing twin girls. Her investigation gets off to shaky start when she ends up attacked by an unknown assailant, with her awakening in a bathtub with her eye removed as a result. It doesn’t deter our hero though and what follows is an investigation to find out what’s going on in the hospital, where the girls are, and what exactly the strange yet deadly creatures that are wandering the hallways are…
I was a big fan of Tormented Souls’ narrative. Sure, the dialogue was cheesy and the voice acting a bit naff, but it had enough little twists-and-turns to keep me invested throughout. It’s a little bit predictable, but there were enough neat ideas and interesting characters within the tale to make it feel worthwhile. There are plenty of documents to find that flesh out the tale too, with the backstory of the game going surprisingly deep.
Gameplay-wise, Tormented Souls feels just like an old-school Resident Evil game. Players will explore the seemingly abandoned hospital, solve a variety of cryptic puzzles, and shoot away at the enemies lurking around, with fixed camera angles showcasing all of the action. The idea of fixed camera angles might be enough to put some gamers off immediately, but they’re well executed here and complemented by the game’s modernised control scheme.
“Players will explore the seemingly abandoned hospital, solve a variety of cryptic puzzles, and shoot away at the enemies lurking around, with fixed camera angles showcasing all of the action.”
The game also has its own equivalent of ink ribbons when it comes to saving, adding an additional old-school twist to the formula. Again, this won’t be for everyone, but there were more than enough around to leave me with plenty of well-spaced checkpoints if I died. And hey, at least the game modernised its inventory system to leave players with unlimited item slots, so there’s no running back and fore to item boxes in your time of need. Swings and roundabouts, right?
The puzzles of Tormented Souls were the highlight of the experience for me, with some brilliantly designed conundrums on offer that bring with them plenty of variety. Much like Resident Evil, it’s often just a case of using the right item in the right place, but there are a lot that’ll also demand a bit of logic or observational skills from the player to solve. Interestingly, the game also introduces a mechanic that sees Caroline moving between different time periods within the hospital, which is a clever idea that adds a twist to a selection of puzzles.
Be warned though: some of the puzzles can be a little too obtuse and will require some clever thinking to solve. There were one or two that caught me off-guard for some time, with one music-based puzzle proving especially frustrating to solve. Still, there’s a lot more good than bad with the puzzles, withmost proving to be both clever and diverse in design.
“The puzzles of Tormented Souls were the highlight of the experience for me, with some brilliantly designed conundrums on offer that bring with them plenty of variety.”
On the other hand, the combat of the game was a little bit lacking. Caroline will only get access to three different weapons throughout the game, but more than enough ammo to defeat every monster that she comes across. An auto-aim function makes taking enemies down feel trivial too, with players only having to be wary of the distance between them and the creature. It wasn’t that combat was necessarily bad, but rather that it felt a little uninspired and easy by survival horror standards.
At least there was a decent variety of monsters to face off against though, with some proving especially intimidating. I won’t spoil anything here, but there was one foe late in the game that felt like Mr X or Nemesis with its persistent presence, with Tormented Souls keeping the player surprised right until the very end.
There was plenty that I loved about Tormented Souls, but it did have some issues that stood out. It was difficult to make out items in the environment, it lacked a quick-button to access the map, whilst I noticed the frame rate stutter on a few occasions too. I even suffered a couple of crashes, whilst some documents had ‘dummy’ text as their titles. These are minor issues that could be fixed with a patch, but they were noticeable during my playthrough.
In all though, I had a REALLY good time with the game. It looks fantastic too, with the gothic-style locales packed to the brim with little details to give them a real sense of individuality. They’re all brought to life by some brilliant lighting with really adds to the sinister atmosphere, whilst the soundtrack fits the vibe of the game perfectly. Admittedly, the character models were a little sketchy, but everything else looked great.
Tormented Souls Summary
Tormented Souls is a fantastic love letter to the Resident Evil series that features excellent puzzles, great environmental design, and an intriguing narrative. The combat of the game is a little simple and it does have a few technical flaws that could do with fixing, but they’re small issues in what is otherwise an impressive horror escapade. Believe me, fans of the survival horror genre will NOT want to skip this one.
– Brilliant puzzles
– Eerie environmental design
– Old-school Resident Evil-style gameplay
– Uninspired combat
– Technical issues
Developer: Dual Effect, Abstract Digital
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PC