The Coma: Recut Review
Before I originally came across The Coma: Recut I had no idea what the game was about. When I did some research into the gameplay, story and art-style, it quickly reminded me of another game called Corpse Party on the PlayStation Portable. Corpse Party was a horror game I truly enjoyed and it really interested me as a fan of anime. A bunch of school kids act out a friendship ritual in their classroom and are suddenly transported to another dimension that bears a resemblance to their school. In this dimension, they must find their friends who are scattered throughout the school while trying to survive the frightening entity chasing them. The Coma: Recut has essentially the same concept but nothing as mysterious or nefarious to tie into the story. You assume the role of Youngho, an average Korean high school student, with normal worries such as exams, girlfriends and other teenage worries. Whilst on his way to school, he unexpectedly finds a pendant on the floor. With little concern of who is belongs to he makes his way to his classroom to begin his exam. As he begins his exam, he abruptly faints. When he comes to, he finds himself in a twisted alternate version of his school with malformed figures roaming the hallways. Confined within the ghoulish halls of Sewha High School whilst being unabatedly hunted by a macabre being, you will have to run, explore and hide while trying to unearth the mystery of why you have been teleported here.
Great Webtoon Art style and Animation: The art style employed in The Coma: Recut is, without a doubt, the most striking aspect to the game. It utilizes a Korean webtoon art style which is both intriguing and pleasant to look at. This art style is consistent throughout the whole game as it is also present in the comic styled cutscenes. Additionally, every character, room and hallway are all meticulously detailed. Even though the rooms and hallways are sometimes quite repetitive, the art and detail makes it enjoyable to explore and look at. The killer and the bully look very displeasing and creates a sense of uneasiness within the player. The character art is always on point. Furthermore, the animation is also eye-catching. Although they are jagged, I believe this was intentionally done to mirror the web comic aesthetic. Everything from the character portraits during dialogues to background details is well crafted and possible the best part to the game.
Atmospheric Music: The music takes a more atmospheric approach like most horror games tend to do by employing foreboding thumps and off-key notes to impart a sense of uneasiness. These musical effects and uneasiness makes you plan your course of action in the event that the killer ever does show up and to always have a back up plan if things go awry. When the inevitable happens, the music escalates to a more frantic pace as you try to escape from the clutches of the killer. When you get to a safe room, the music will change to a more tranquil one reminiscent of supermarket or elevator music. Ultimately, the music is utilized and executed tremendously well alongside the game.
Horrible AI: The AI is horrendous and is the most pertinent drawback to the game. When getting chased by the psychopathic killer, she just chases you until you either hide or get caught. To hide from her, you will have to enter a room that houses a locker or enter the toilet stalls in the washrooms. The mechanics are pretty primitive as the only options available to you in escaping from the killer is to either hide or get caught and restart the checkpoint/save. There is a forward tumble feature with a stamina gauge but these aren’t as useful as you might think. You cannot fight back. The drawback is that once you find a safe room to hide in, you will have to wait until she goes away. The music will change from a frantic one to a more calm one, signaling that she has gone away. However, 99% of the time, she will be camping outside the room you’re in. When you leave the room, you will start getting chased again, resulting you to enter the room you were just in to hide again. This endless loop happened way too often to the point of it being rage inducing and annoying. Moreover, the killer would always appear out of nowhere when roaming the halls of the school thus beginning the inevitable loop I mentioned previously. I found myself having to wait more than 5 minutes for the killer to completely disappear. Most of your play time will be from idling in toilet stalls or lockers.
Lackluster Story: As previously mentioned, the story follows Youngho’s trials and tribulations in a sinister version of his school. As you explore the eerie hallways, you will come across grotesque versions of some of your friends and classmates. The mystery girl whom you meet at the beginning of the game also aids you in finding your way out. To escape this frightening reality, you will have to find your report card and try to change your grades in 3 subjects: Math, Art and Social Studies. The manner in which you go about doing this will determine whether you get a good ending or bad ending. For example, whilst following the quest for remedying your Math grade, you will come across a computer and will be given the option of changing your grade in the system. Doing this will give you ‘bad’ karma. Whereas, actually solving the math equations legitimately will give you ‘good’ karma and thus the good ending. The story and dialogue does try it’s best in creating a foreboding and spine-chilling atmosphere but falls short. Not a lot is explained in the game as to why you’re in this sinister reality and who sent you here. Who is the mystery girl? Who does she speak to at the end? The game acts as more of a prequel and leaves a lot to be desired. The premise is intriguing but poorly executed and has a lot of potential.
Too short: Each playthrough can take anywhere between 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on what you do and how lucky/unlucky you get. There are only a few sidequests to allow you to go off and explore with only 2 different endings. The aforementioned AI can have a big impact on how quickly you can complete each playthrough as it is random whether the killer will disappear or just wait outside the room you’re in. There are also 4 achievements related to playthroughs which can increase the amount of playthroughs needed but is not necessary. All in all, you will most likely play once and this does not justify the $14.99 asking price.
The Coma: Recut oozes with potential and talent but, sadly, this potential has not been captured. It boasts great webtoon art style and web comic animation with tremendous utilization of music to help create a sinister and uneasy version of high school. The art also has meticulous attention to detail for both characters and the school itself. However, the game suffers from a myriad of drawbacks. The AI is horrible and becomes monotonous very quickly. Getting chased is frightening for the first few times but the effect wears off when you experience how long you will have to hide before you can play again. Most of the time spent playing this game will be idling in toilet stalls. Moreover, the story leaves a lot to be desired as it doesn’t explain anything, acts more like a prequel and is too short. Ultimately, The Coma: Recut has cemented itself as this year’s disappointment for me. My initial excitement quickly dissipated after the first playthrough of the game.
The Coma: Recut was developed by Devespresso Games and published by Digerati Distribution. It was released for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One [reviewed] on September 22nd, 2017. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels. Many studios submit copies for site review but this is in no way factored into our review scores. Games are scored on their individual merits and our rating system is explained here.