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Horror is a fun genre. So much can be done with it; it can be psychological, it can be gory, it can be funny…the list goes on and on. However, the effectiveness of horror really hinges on it being done right (and yes, that even goes for silly B-rate horror flicks), the execution, if you can forgive an easy pun. And unfortunately, Remothered: Broken Porcelain gets it wrong. Very wrong.
Remothered: Broken Porcelain is the sequel to 2018’s survival horror themed Remothered: Tormented Fathers. It follows the story of Jen, a girl who has been expelled from her school and shipped off to the Ashmann Inn to serve as a maid. The hotel is a bit old, one wing is crumbling and dusted with soot, and, unsurprisingly, there’s some shady figures lurking around, and they’re far from friendly.
Jen is desperate to escape and figure out what is happening to the people in the hotel (and outside of it) and how it relates to the experimental trials of Phenoxyl, a miracle cure for bad memories that cause PTSD and anxiety.
Broken Porcelain is mostly a run-and-hide game, meaning you’ll have to – literally – run and hide from enemies in a gruesome game of hide-and-seek where, if and when you’re discovered, you get a pair of scissors to the neck. As you explore the areas you may find weapons like knives, screwdrivers, and scissors, as well as noise-making items like radios and talking dolls. These give you the ability to fight with enemies and distract them.
You can also collect moth keys, which allow you to level up your ability to transfer your consciousness to a moth to reach places you normally can’t. Not that the ability is incredibly useful, because the moths are difficult to control and you spend most of the time running into things and getting stuck in corners. Also, the game neglects to tell you that the ability exists. I just held those moth keys like an idiot through most of the game.
The game play is rather clunky and annoying. It takes a while for things to load between scenes, there are times where you can’t run until you reload the game, there are items in cases and drawers that are impossible to pick up due to shoddy action prompts. More than once, I ran to another room to hide, only to have an apparently omnipotent enemy find me from a completely different area. There were times that enemies weren’t stunned by my noisy distractions or when the QTEs while fighting someone didn’t work. Ultimately, this is a buggy game, and it’s frustrating to play in all the wrong ways.
The story isn’t much better. It isn’t even clear if Broken Porcelain is supposed to be a prequel to Tormented Fathers or a sequel. It’s narrated by an elderly woman (not Jen) who is recalling the events of Phenoxyl’s creation and the disease it caused, then we get pulled directly into a story from Jen’s point of view. There’s an overwhelming amount of flashbacks from more than one character that often just give you whiplash instead of plot. It’s barely intelligible, and it all feels a little pointless after a while.
Remothered: Broken Porcelain does have nice graphics and a decent soundtrack, but it isn’t enough to save this bug-riddled and confusing attempt at a proper horror title. Between longer than average loading times, random glitching that made it impossible to escape enemies, little game play beyond running and hiding, and a story I could barely wrap my head around, playing this game was more of a chore than something enjoyable. Get your survival horror fix somewhere else.