Nothing felt quite so scary as early survival horror like Resident Evil or Silent Hill. Games like that gave you the illusion of control but when something scary happened, fear took over and the tank controls usually sent you right into the path of the beastie. Tormented Souls tries to recreate this feeling and that’s perfect for Halloween.
It’s about this time of year that everyone and their mom starts playing scary games. There’s something special about scary games. While watching a scary movie, there’s a disconnect between you and the story. But when you are the one holding the flashlight and trying to make your way down a dark hallway and you suddenly hear something in your headphones, it’s a whole different ball game.
For some unknown reason, Caroline decides to head to Winterlake and dig into the mystery of the disappearance. Seconds after arriving, she’s bopped in the head and wakes up on a ventilator, totally nude in a bathtub of water and missing one of her eyes. Full nudity alert here for anyone sensitive to that kind of thing. Instead of, I don’t know, cutting her losses (meaning that eye) and just peacing the hell out of there, Caroline still works to try and find out what happened to those girls.
In Tormented Souls, you play as Caroline Walker, a woman who randomly gets a letter in the mail with a picture of a set of twin girls inside. The letter states that the girls disappeared at a hospital (which looks like the Spencer Mansion had a baby with the asylum from Evil Within) called Winterlake.
Off the bat, the story is so hokey but it feels on par with late 90’s horror games. The story and the acting were so melodramatic that it took away some of the fear of playing it. Tormented Souls is SO damn pretty. Granted, the character models are pretty trash but the environmental graphics are stunning and the camera angles are so immaculate that Alfred Hitchcock is feeling a little tingly in his grave.
Along the way, she will meet up several times with a super sus priest (I mean, name one that isn’t) who inexplicably is unaffected by all of the monsters roaming the halls. The monsters in Tormented Souls would find kin in anything from Silent Hill and you will be armed with nothing but a nail gun or a homemade pipe shotgun. What will Caroline find in the Winterlake Mansion/Hospital? Nothing good, probably.
You have no control over the camera angles, so many times you are dealing with static camera angles. Then, there are those camera sweeps that move as you move and the way it happens is magical. One of my favorite moments happens near the beginning of the game. You are walking down a hall and Caroline is walking directly at the camera. As she moves down the hall, the camera begins to do a Dutch tilt, twisting as you walk. It’s such a simple and eerie effect.
Tormented Souls is a fan of the Dutch tilt. Even static camera shots on certain doorways will be tilted, creating an off balance sensation as if you have no control over what is happening. It’s so effective and that’s only one example of all of the tricks and angles Dual Effect and Abstract Digital uses to create this terrifying environment. On several occasions, something happened and I screamed so loud and jerked my body so hard that I dropped my controller.
While the controls are not QUITE tank controls, they are tank controls for a new generation. For every new camera angle, the controls will change a bit, causing you to get confused and panic in certain situations. While they are not as stiff as OG tank controls, they function nearly the exact same way.