Coming out in October, Remothered: Broken Porcelain is the follow-up to 2018’s Remothered: Tormented Fathers.
In Remothered: Tormented Fathers, you take on the role of Rosemary Reed, a woman investigating the disappearance of a girl called Celeste. The investigation leads you to the house of Richard Felton – but not all is as it seems.
Remothered: Broken Porcelain seems to be both a prequel and a continuation of the events of Tormented Fathers. The game begins with a recap, but if you haven’t played the first you’ll benefit from doing so before jumping in here. The plot is unnecessarily convoluted, dealing with split personalities, dissociative identities, nuns, burning convents, weird drugs and who-knows-what else. And while developer Stormind Games claims that Broken Porcelain makes an ideal entry point to the series, players who’ve experienced Tormented Fathers first will undoubtedly have a better understanding of who the key characters are.
The preview build of Remothered: Broken Porcelain that we’ve had our hands on let us play through the first couple of hours of the game. Set in 1973, we took on the role of a young girl named Jennifer. She’s living and working at the Ashmann Inn, a hotel managed by the Ashmann family. It’s immediately apparent she’s not happy being there, and it doesn’t take long for things to take a turn for the worst. Within minutes of the game opening, Jennifer finds herself being pursued by Andrea, the head housekeeper of the Inn. Cue lots of stealth, sneaking around, and numerous attempts to outwit her.
Mechanically, Remothered: Broken Porcelain plays very much like its predecessor. You’ll spend a lot of time creeping around, hiding in or underneath pieces of furniture, and waiting for the opportune moment to move when you’re out of sight of a stalker. Should Andrea catch you, she’ll slash at you with a pair of scissors. You can take a fair amount of damage, and you have the opportunity to escape by bashing a button in order to inflict some damage back to her – providing you’ve got a defensive weapon on your person. Fail to escape, though, and it’s game over: Andrea brutally jabs a pair of scissors into your head. Ouch.
What is different this time around is a stealth attack mechanic. Jennifer can’t freely attack, but if she manages to sneak up behind an adversary, she’s able to launch a stealth attack. You’ll need to do this at points in the game to move forwards. Timing and perseverance is key; you’ll also have the use of distraction items in order to direct your foe in a certain direction. Sometimes, simply running and hiding isn’t enough when you need to plan an attack.
It does little to differentiate the game from its predecessor though; by and large, it feels very similar to play. Controls are clunky, and should you get stuck on a part of the environment, it’s difficult to get away – especially if you’re being pursued.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of Remothered: Broken Porcelain‘s preview was a scene in which Jennifer finds herself locked in a small launderette room with Andrea. As Jennifer, you need to hide long enough for Andrea to leave the room (and thus unlocking the door). But with such a small area to run around in, there’s nowhere to hide. In the end we had to take near fatal damage to be able to inflict enough damage to injure Andrea, sending her down for a few seconds. That gave us enough time to run to the other side of the room and crouch behind a table – and in what felt like dumb luck, she went straight for the door rather than trying to look for us.
Moments like these are supposed to be tense and scary, but instead end up being frustrating. The atmosphere created by the Ashmann Inn is foreboding and eerie, but there are very few actual scares. Successfully sneaking past Andrea gets your blood pumping, but when you’re getting chased, it rarely feels frightening. That’s not to say many more scares aren’t waiting in the rest of the game, though.
For the most part, the Ashmann Inn makes an excellent backdrop. Graphically, Remothered: Broken Porcelain is a huge step up from Tormented Fathers. Putting the first game on to compare, it’s washed out and dull. While Broken Porcelain exudes the same oppressive atmosphere, its corridors feel more alive; it’s more vibrant and real-feeling. The Inn is packed with detail, and there are lots of items to pick up and interact with.
It doesn’t seem like you’ll be playing as Jennifer for the entirety of Remothered: Broken Porcelain. The end of the preview cut to “some years later”, and we’re reunited with Rosemary Reed, the protagonist of the first game. It looks like control will switch over to her, and we’ll experience more of the same timeline that Tormented Fathers followed. It’s safe to say that a rich narrative, filled with interweaving and twisting plot threads awaits.
If you enjoyed Remothered: Tormented Fathers, you’ll find a lot to enjoy with Broken Porcelain. While some polish still needs applying before the game’s full release, it’s shaping up to be a worthy successor, offering similar gameplay but in a more realised, picturesque world. We’re looking forward to see what scares await us in the finished game.
Remothered: Broken Porcelain will release on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch on 20th October.