August 2, 2017
Daniel Kizana
Rocket Chainsaw / Feature

It’s never easy, being the new kid on the block. Particularly in an industry like gaming, where a less-than-stellar debut can seal the fate of a new company, relegating them to the ‘Under $5’ section on Steam and inevitable collapse.

As such, I’m very excited to have come across Phantom 8 and their upcoming title, Past Cure. Having started out in 2016 with only 3 people on the team, Phantom 8 have grown to a staff of 10, with a goal of further growth and a mission to make high quality, cinematic games. They have a commitment to self-publishing, which they believe will ensure reasonably priced, high value titles, without all the financial and creative pressure being heaped on by AAA publishers.

This is an up and coming developer who’s not only got a decent game on the way, but is saying all the right things and clearly focusing their energy toward growth through quality game design, rather than worrying about how soon they can implement micro-transactions without public backlash. Phantom 8 is proving there is hope for smaller devs.

Their debut title, Past Cure, is an action/horror blend with stealth elements and a strong focus on the intertwining of plot and gameplay mechanics. The protagonist, Ian, is the victim of some past trauma that resulted in gaining psychic abilities, such as mind control and astral projection, and is on a mission to uncover the true nature of his transformation and punish those responsible.

Death will be frequent; in fact, it is an expected part of Ian’s journey as he re-lives a recurring nightmare and struggles against its inevitable, fatal outcome. In both the real world and the ‘nightmare’ world, Ian’s sanity will fragment as he abuses his newfound psychic abilities, with hallucinations and other consequences as punishment for the unreserved use of these powers. His journey has been made intentionally difficult, with many scenarios weighted heavily against survival, in order to force the player into a calculated, considered approach to progress.

Inspired by films like Inception and John Wick, Phantom 8 have put enormous effort into the motion-capture of their combat system, which is a slick blend of martial arts and stylised, Hollywood showmanship. Whether hacking a camera, mind-controlling a guard or going all out with the brilliantly animated hand-to-hand combat, gameplay challenges in Past Cure will reflect the overwhelming odds stacked against a single man taking on an enormous conspiracy.

Past Cure is shaping up to be a complex and artful experience, and Phantom 8 have certainly got my attention due to their passion and commitment to quality in all aspects of the game. At $29 on launch (most likely USD), there’s little reason to skip what could be one of the most ambitious games of 2017. I’m even more keen, though, to see what comes next from an emergent Dev with their heads screwed on straight.

The post Past Cure Preview appeared first on Rocket Chainsaw.

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