Tormented Souls PlayStation 5 Review

Tormented Souls has everything a survival-horror fan could want.

By Grayshadow, Posted 27 Aug 2021

Tormented Souls attempts to capture the classic survival-horror experience, often using titles like Resident Evil and Silent Hill as a reference. The result is a well-executed horror title that provides chilling moments and complex puzzles to solve while exploring a beautiful yet dangerous mansion. But due to the developer's over-reliance on these classic games, Tormented Souls has a difficult time establishing itself, instead of remaining in the shadows of the titles it draws inspiration from. Despite this Tormented Souls has everything a survival-horror fan could want.

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Tormented Souls stars Caroline Walker, a young journalist who is sent a mysterious note. The letter has a picture of young missing twin girls and advises Walker to come to the Wildberger Hospital to find answers where she is knocked out. Walker wakes up connected to old medical equipment, naked, and her left eye surgically removed. Worse is that she’s trapped inside the hospital with humanoid monsters and can somehow travel through time using mirrors.

Instead of having escape be her focus, Caroline intends to find out what is happening and to find the twins. This means traveling through the decaying mansion, locating key items, defending yourself against the humanoid monsters that roam the area, and even travel through time. Much of the game is about locating key items and finding where they must be placed. Usually, a puzzle blocks these areas and requires a moderate degree of critical thinking. Fortunately, the game gives you all the hints you need to solve these puzzles but can create vexation.

Old-school horror fans who grew up with original PlayStation titles like Resident Evil and Silent Hill already have the mindset required to understand what the developers were going for. The developers went the extra mile to ensure inspecting the objects is just as important. The puzzles are intricate and often require you to think through the solution based on the evidence provided. The game does give hints such as a picture or a hidden clue on the key item. This can also lead to a lot of frustration as some of the puzzles require you to go through multiple areas to see if you got the right solution. One puzzle involving a floppy disc required Caroline to head to the basement, input the code, head back upstairs, and see if you got it right. If you didn’t then you have to go all the way back.

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Tormented Souls does have a semi-open direction to it. Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you can take on multiple key objectives that all lead to the same goal. This is great for speedrunning as it offers the player choices of which tasks are more significant. The title operates with a fixed camera which means you cannot see anything outside that view. Despite the fixed camera, the developers included 3D motion instead of tank controls for better mobility. You’ll still have moments of getting stuck or the controls adjusting to the change in camera but these aren’t significant problems.

Walker will encounter an array of dangerous creatures, mutated and heavily mutilated humans. They’re easy enough to take down with the player granted access to all the tools needed to fight back. How you choose to use your resources is up to you. Since most Tormented Souls serve as a closed environment you’re given everything very quickly and easily. The problem is if you exhaust your ammo and healing items you better get good at avoiding enemies. The developers do repopulate areas with enemies after the player reaches a certain point in the story so even if you clear everything more powerful enemies will replace them.

Combat is simple enough, you aim your weapon and Walker automatically targets the enemy if they’re in range. You do have a melee weapon but trust me when I say it’s not practical in combat. This system complements the fixed camera system so you can focus on shooting. Enemies have distinct sounds so you’ll know if you kill something off-screen even if the combat music doesn’t stop. Since Caroline has deep pockets you can carry everything you pick up, no storage is needed but save slots are limited to how many recording tapes you have. This doesn’t mean you can ram through everything, not only is ammo limited but the darkness serves as another antagonist.

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When in the dark Caroline cannot fight back or see anything. Worse if she spends too much time in the dark unseen forces drag her away and it’s game over. This means managing your light source, a lighter, to see what’s going on but you cannot shoot and hold the lighter. You’re eventually given a lamp that frees up your hands but the game then throws more obstacles to ensure the player keeps their guard up.

Surprisingly Tormented Souls does change up the layout with each playthrough. It’s nothing major, sometimes a dresser in a different location or the color palette for a specific object is shifted. The puzzles remain the same so you can still use the same solutions for everything.

Tormented Souls does look incredible. Character models are detailed and the environment is beautiful with phenomenal lighting. There were slight hiccups in the frame rate that happened in specific locations. These changed each time I loaded the game so it must be a technical problem the developers will likely resolve later. The voice acting is also cheesy, I’m not sure if this was intended to capture the cringe voice acting of the original Resident Evil but often the dialogue won’t match the subtitles. I had 1 instance where the character said nothing despite subtitles appearing on screen.

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Tormented Souls has a lot of promise but the biggest issue stems from establishing its own identity. Many of the concepts are built from classic survival horror but the overall experience feels more like an extension of those titles. The mansion, safe rooms, and the music take so much reference from Resident Evil and Silent Hill it felt like a modded game. There’s nothing wrong with borrowing concepts from successful titles and Tormented Souls executes these beloved systems well. However, relying on them too much ensures your own game will remain in the shadow of those titles.

Tormented Souls is a chilling experience that leads you down a bloody unsettling rabbit hole. It takes the vanguards of the survival-horror genre and uses them but overly relies on them. The puzzles throughout the adventure are challenging and will require a great deal of effort to solve but finally reaching that solution is a reward in itself. If you’re looking for something that will keep you on the edge for those dark nights then Tormented Souls is the game for you.

Adam Siddiqui,
Managing Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC
Publisher(s): PQube
Developer(s): Dual Effect, Abstract Digital
Genres: Survival Horror
Themes: Horror, Adventure
Release Date: 2021-12-30

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