E3 2017 – Past Cure Preview – Psychotherapy Needed (PS4)

While a lot of megaton games have been covered at E3 2017, there are some smaller games, built by smaller teams, but with as much passion as those larger games/teams, that you may have missed. Past Cure by Phantom 8 is one such game. We sat down with the developer for a short demo of their upcoming psychological action/thriller game, and have our initial impressions ready for your reading pleasure.

Hidden E3 Treasure?

Past Cure was a game tucked away at E3 2017, which many people at the show might have missed. Indeed, independent developer Phantom 8 didn’t have a proper booth – we met at the Meet@E3 booth, used specifically for smaller publishers and more intimate meetings. Phantom 8 had a beefy laptop at the ready, running a new build of their game, though since it is being developed using the Unreal Engine 4, it will release on the PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam.

That Unreal Engine 4 can produce some wonderful graphics. Phantom 8 is a small developer, and thus they have latched onto this engine and have created some impressive graphics and presentation. While the regular world was believable, it was the alternate nightmarish world that we saw main character Ian visit that showed off some of the more creative talents from the developer. While the story wasn’t elaborated on too much during our meeting, we do have some details to share.

In Past Cure, you play as Ian, a hardened veteran who was unwittingly turned into a telekinetic super soldier capable of such things as mind control. However, every time he uses these powers, he loses a piece of his mind, or at least loses grip on reality a little. Naturally, like anyone going insane at the hands of others, Ian is out for revenge, and to hopefully put his mind back together when all is said and done. As he goes further and further down into madness, the world of the real and his nightmarish world begin to meld into the same thing.

Familiar, But Different

If this sounds like a bit of Alan Wake, we got the same vibe during our demo as well, but Past Cure did appear to maintain a much different look and feel throughout. The nightmare world that Ian found himself in every now and then was presented as a maze of sorts, with these creepy, all-white mannequin-like enemies chasing him. They were surreal and freaky, much like the world itself during these sequences. Phantom 8 claims the movie Inception as a point of inspiration, so hopefully they will incorporate that into their level designs as well as the concept of overlapping realities.

Past Cure is a third-person action/adventure game. Controls are fairly standard for a third-person game, and you do have a gun, though as mentioned it appears ammo may be scarce. Enemies include cartels, secret organizations, unethical scientists, and perhaps supernatural foes as well. In some sequences shown to us during our demo, stealth was an option to get by a larger group of patrolling enemies in a parking garage. This would be the best option to get by, because often times you’ll find yourself out-gunned against a group of enemies. So you’ll have to plan your tactics and be aware of all enemy locations before going in.

Phantom 8 Studio is a very small team of 10 talented individuals who have an interesting game on their hands. Promising to meld two very distinct worlds into one surreal adventure, it remains to be seen if Past Cure can find an identity of its own in a sea of games with psychotic protagonists, but hopefully the game can get the exposure it deserves, and we can see more of the bizarre nightmare world and those haunting white bodies. Past Cure is tentatively scheduled to release sometime in 2017 on the PlayStation 4 and PC platforms.