Join us down in the funk-bunker as we get vigorous, personal and brief with German developer Phantom 8’s new third-person story-driven action game, Past Cure.
Third-person action, you say?
For the most part, yes, though Phantom 8 do also shoehorn in some puzzle solving and survival horror elements as you play out sequences both in reality and in Ian’s dreamworld. The bad news is that everything fails: the third-person shooting is naff, the puzzling is as dull as an Ed Sheeran tune, and the telekinesis/sanity bending mechanics are just utter dross. Every aspect is a rip-off of a better game, or a story element taken from a better film.
So it doesn't play well?
Honestly, it’s clunky, gutless and devoid of fun - voice acting notwithstanding, but we’ll get to that - quite the killer triple-threat. It’s obvious that Phantom 8’s intentions were well placed on paper, but the finished form falls well short of modern standards.
What about the presentation?
Once again, it’s plain to see the minimalist chic that Phantom 8 are aiming for, but it just looks flat. The frame rate doesn’t help matters, chugging along whether you’re in the thick of an action sequence or just walking around.
The real winner, however, is the wondrously bad voice acting. Every cast member appears to have attended The Kevin Costner Conservatory of Thespianism, spinning all manner of emotionally charged lines in a vacuum-bag of monotonous drivel - we do hope Phantom 8 didn’t pay them much...
Well, all sounds swell thus far… Anything else to be wary of?
Endless, vacuous cutscenes. Seriously, where a standard narrative-focused game allows the player to explore environments and discover information for themselves, Past Cure instead slams in a non-playable sidebar. Want to see Ian walk across a path for three seconds? You’ve got it!
Also: The main character’s name is Ian. Ian!
Hard to recommend, then?
At its current retail price of £24.99, it’s simply impossible to recommend. Whilst it’s almost commendable that Phantom 8 tried to mash all these different styles together, it just never works. If you’re a real sycophant, wait for the price to drop to around a fiver and dive on in.