Success breeds success in the video game world; there are very few new ideas anymore and the best games tend to be those that most effectively iterate on a previously-successful idea. Case in point: Amnesia: The Dark Descent, an indie title from 2010, popularized the idea that a horror game doesn’t necessarily need to allow you to fight back against the monsters. That was a shift from the Resident Evil and Silent Hill-based paradigm that had been common until then, where combat might not be effective but it was at least an option.
After Amnesia we’ve seen game after game with their own take on this idea, some of which were knockout hits like Alien: Isolation. The Coma: Recut takes this well-worn concept and runs with it.
It’s just a regular day at school for Korean student Youngho. You know, the kind where he falls asleep in class and wakes up to find that everyone’s gone and things have suddenly become extra spooky. We’ve all been there: the school’s suddenly gone pitch dark, there’s a horrible monster about to kill us, all we can do is hide if we catch sight of something creeping in the dark and hope it doesn’t eviscerate us. Those were the days!
That basically sums up The Coma: Recut, since it’s a fairly short game and the gameplay doesn’t get shaken up much throughout. Youngho explores the school, typically searching for keys to continue his exploration, and sometimes interacts with other characters to fill in bits of the story. It’s a fairly standard horror game in the post-Amnesia: The Dark Descent world, in other words, and you’ve probably already got an idea of whether you’re into that sort of thing or not.
Having not played the original release of The Coma, I can’t compare the recut version to much, though apparently enhancements include improved graphics and gameplay rebalancing. The game does look and sound nice enough for what it is. The presentation relies heavily on full-screen comic-style 2D art; most of the story beats are presented this way and it looks fantastic. Typical gameplay uses a side-scrolling view with somewhat stilted animations – these might look worse in a game that wasn’t aiming for this sort of art style, but in The Coma it’s not the worst thing in the world. There’s also several endings here, though they each play off one another and the payoff isn’t much greater from one to the next, so it’s not a huge deal.
Again, you’ve probably already got an idea of whether you’re into this sort of stealth-based horror experience at this point. With the runaway success of Resident Evil 7 I believe we’re going to start moving back to combat being present in survival horror games, so The Coma might be the last of a dying breed. If you’re interested in one last terrified “Hurrah!” as you cower in a locker, then The Coma: Recut might be worth a look.