Halloween 2020 was always going to be a tumultuous time. With a global pandemic effectively canceling everyone’s favorite spooky holiday, the best, and most safe, way to spend Halloween this year was always going to be spent inside with a surplus of horror movies and, of course, horror games.
Anyone familiar with my writing will know that my experience with the first Remothered game was not a very pleasant one. While I had heard mostly good things about it, playing it on the Nintendo Switch, where it was not at all optimized for the system, severely undercut any potential scares the game might have had. I had hoped that jumping into the game’s sequel, now on a competent PC, I would finally be able to experience the thrill of a stalker-based horror game.
But unfortunately, Remothered: Broken Porcelain is surprisingly worse than the Switch-port of its predecessor, albeit for several different reasons; and I’m beginning to wonder if maybe these games just aren’t very good.
As Remothered: Broken Porcelain begins, players find themselves in the shoes of Jenn, a rebellious girl living in the Ashmann Inn after being expelled from an all-girls boarding school. Much like the previous Remothered game, some mysteriously spooky happenings begin to occur and now Jenn must escape the hotel with the truth, and her life!
The plot itself is fine, but where I find myself at odds with it is how poorly it is told in almost every conceivable way. As the game begins, after a lengthy re-explanation of the first game; gameplay begins and you find yourself locked in a pitch black room, receiving narration from some unknown source, until a hooded figure enters the room and promptly kills you. Why is this section playable? Who knows! Is this a flashback? A premonition? The game doesn’t seem keen on explaining it to you.
Afterwards, as the story proper begins, we find Jenn in the office of Mr.Ashmann, being reprimanded for apparently committing larceny and apparently having a gun on her person. It is an incredibly bizarre interaction where Jenn seems to think she’s done nothing wrong, despite first admitting to having done something wrong. Afterwards, we find her taken to her room—although I believe she was supposed to have been given chores as a punishment but the game seems to completely forget about it—where she’s startled by her friend Linn, whom Jenn immediately berates for supposedly having injured her arm and whom Jenn claims apparently told Ashmann about all the bad things she did. Then the scary stuff starts happening.
I sat there, mouth agape as all this transpired. This was the first 10 minutes of the game and I was already beyond lost in this paper-thin plot. The game wasn’t off to a very good start, and I wasn’t about to play for the required time to get wrapped up in the spooky mysteries since the game itself is a broken mess and not very fun to play.
I think that might be my biggest problem with the game—aside from the bugs, but we’ll get to those momentarily—Remothered: Broken Porcelain is just boring, and genuinely not very scary. While in theory, the idea of having to move through a spooky location, solving puzzles while being beset upon by a merciless killer, should make for an intense horror experience. But in this game, it’s so easy to run away from them, and the AI is so pathetic, you can just hide in the same cupboard over and over and pretty much always be safe from harm.
That is unless the game decides you’re having too easy a time, and decides to break on you to contrive a sense of difficulty. I played Remothered: Broken Porcelain even after it released a couple patches, and it was still a broken mess. This presents itself in small ways like the way contextual button prompts either don’t appear, or only appear when you position the camera in the exact, down to the decimal-point position needed to interact with an object; or in big ways, like on one occasion, I was trapped in a room with the Stalker, and given all of three seconds to hide in a closet. Unfortunately, Jenn is coated with Super Glue, and she got stuck on a table, whereupon the Stalker spotted me, and it was a pointless run around a locked room until I was murdered.
My favourite glitch though, came from when I tried to save the game, only to be locked in place at the save station, unable to move. As I frantically pressed buttons to try to break free, I stumbled upon one that calls out to the Stalker as a way of luring them to my position. The Stalker swiftly descended on me, knocking me away from the save point, although I was still unable to move. As the game went into the Stalker kill animation, since I was still locked in place, the animation decided to play out without Jenn; and the Stalker stabbed thin air, although the blood still squirted out from nothing.
And while it’s not a terrible looking game, it’s not exactly pleasing to the eye as well, as everything has a certain murkiness to it that just makes it look dull. Also, much like with the Switch version of Remothered: Tormented Fathers, the audio seems kind of imbalance—as the musical sting that plays when a Stalker sees you seems incredibly loud, and the way enemies repeat the same three lines of dialogue is wildly disproportionate to their position, again blasting loudly through walls and not really giving you a clear sense of where they are.
In the end, Remothered: Broken Porcelain lives up to its name in spades. It’s a completely forgettable experience that left me feeling frustrated and drained every time I had to play it. Like I said at the top of this review, I’m starting to get the feeling that these games just aren’t very good and whatever possible way a third installment is going to tell a different version of the same story, can probably just be skipped.