The Inpatient for PlayStation VR is a psychological horror game designed by Supermassive Games, who were the minds behind the awesome PS4 exclusive Until Dawn and is set 60 years before that aforementioned title. Those merits alone will sell the game to VR enthusiasts and horror buffs such as myself. After the VR games Resident Evil 7 and Supermassive’s own Rush of Blood, the bar was left high for Supermassive Games second VR title The Inpatient.
The set-up takes place inside a mental health facility named Blackwood Sanatorium in the early 1950’s. You are placed in a cell for the first half of the game and after a few rounds with a psychiatrist you are then moved to a cell with a cell-mate, shit hits the fan and some horrors take place outside of your cell, leaving you and your new cell-mate alone and locked up with no way of escape and no food to survive, slowly going even more insane and starving, you go through a series of flashbacks while waiting for help that may never come.
The initial moments are fantastic, being taken down the long bright hallways of a mental asylum in a wheelchair while characters talk to you and others is so immersive and it has you hopeful for the rest of the title. The use of voice controls work ridiculously well, but not quite as advertised! Yes, you do talk to the people on screen and answer their questions with your own voice and it’s done without yelling or repeating yourself, it works smoothly (something we want more titles to begin doing), but you have to read from an option of only two sentences, you cannot stray from them, it more or less feels like you’re trying to act out some movie scenes by reading the script. That’s not the problem here though, as that works and lets you feel more immersed in the characters and setting around you, the problem is that The Inpatient goes from nerve inducing moments like losing your mind and starvation to a generic corridor walking simulator after the first hour or so.
Not being able to run or walk faster than a bloody snail is just nail-bitingly frustrating. The movement and interaction with the environment and objects become tedious and ends up being a chore you just don’t want to partake in. Walking too close to a wall while trying to interact with a draw or light switch gives into bad collision detection and glitched out arms waving all over the screen. If you need to take a step back to realign yourself, you can’t, there is no back button, only a 180-degree turn button, walk forward and then back to try again. On top of this, the game becomes excruciatingly dark after the first hour, hallways, doors and interactive objects become a pixel hunting mess with no option to turn up the brightness.
I could forgive most of these things if it wasn’t for the game and story losing itself to such a mediocre second half, i was almost considering just turning it off, if I had to do another 25 minutes of walking and not being able to interact with anything around me again, luckily and only just barely, it gives you something to read, some backstory or a flashback to process and then back to walking behind another character again.
After such an amazing game like Until Dawn on the PS4, I had extremely high hopes for Supermassive’s first entry into VR, but I was left with nothing more than a frustrating headache and sore eyes due to trying to stay awake through its ploddingly slow end game.
Score: 4.0 out of 10
Highlights: The games awesome opening, voice detection (being able to speak with characters is amazing), character interaction looks stunning.
Lowlights: Extremely bad VR collision detection, sleep inducing second half, boring characters.
Developer: Supermassive Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe
Platforms: Playstation VR
Reviewed on PlayStation VR with a code provided by the publisher.