The Coma: Recut (Xbox One Review)
Feeling as though I don’t have enough fear in my life, I thought playing through The Coma: Recut could bring the fear up to a new level and it did not disappoint.
The Coma: Recut is a remaster of the 2-D indie Korean horror cult classic, The Coma: Cutting Class, from developers Devespresso Games.
You play as Youngho, a young student in the middle of his final exams who falls asleep thanks to doing an all-nighter. As if being in school and going through exams wasn’t bad enough, he wakes up alone in a nightmare version of Sehwa High school. Thinking back, the prospect of waking up in a nightmare version of my high school would have been preferable to exams.
The tone for The Coma: Recut is set very early on as when you reach the school gates, you’re greeted by a crowd and ambulance as a student has attempted suicide, apparently from the stresses of exams. You’re introduced to numerous supporting characters that fall into the typical high school types; the bully, the geeky friend etc. that all play a part in the nightmare world.
Everything up to the point where Youngho falls asleep is everything you’d expect to find in a high school set up, but once the nightmare version starts, the horror properly kicks in.
The creepy atmosphere is set perfectly which, for me, was mostly down to the use of music and sound effects. There is a particular piece of music that plays when the psycho killer turns up that never failed to send a shiver down my spine as once you hear it, you know you’ve got a limited time to find a hiding spot before you’re found. Not knowing which direction you’ll be attacked from will put you right into panic mode, unless you’re able to keep a level head– something which I haven’t mastered when it comes to horror games. A hat-tip to the jump scares throughout The Coma. While there was a couple that felt a little obvious, the majority got their desired result. Many were accompanied with much swearing that cannot be repeated here.
The difficulty level in The Coma: Recut is something that could put off the more casual players among you. It’s not a game that is into handholding of any kind and gives you minimal clues to what you’re meant to do to complete a given task. The only clues you’ll receive is the in the dialogue between characters or when Youngho is thinking out loud, so you’ll need to really concentrate on what it is being said as you won’t be able to go back and get a full conversation. There are also question marks that appear on your map but what you’re meant to do when you get there is down to you to figure out.
In having to concentrate so intently on what is happening, as well as the environment around you, adds to the horror of The Coma. Any little thing, whether that be the psycho killer suddenly appearing, a dramatic change in music or something more environmental like a body being dropped from the ceiling is enough to bring your pulse rate up a little.
The art style, character animations and cutscenes have all been upgraded from the previous version and they are stunning to look at. The scenery and animations for each character are extremely well put together and some of the more horror based characters can be uneasy to look at, especially in the off chance you need to interact with anything like that.
There are plenty of collectibles throughout Sehwa High that delve into the background of the school and the students that puts together a picture of the stresses some Korean students go through in high school. Other notes dive into the supernatural background of the goings on in Sehwa High that might help you reach the end goal.
With multiple endings, ranging from the worst to best outcome, there’s plenty of opportunity for multiple playthroughs of The Coma. Providing you can withstand being chased down the corridors of a nightmare school by a psycho killer of course. The Coma also doesn’t last too long, I was sitting at 10 hours to finish my first playthrough, so if you’re wanting to unlock all those endings subsequent playthroughs shouldn’t take too long.
The Coma: Recut is a must for horror fans that don’t mind a bit of difficulty in their 2-D side scrollers. The Coma: Recut won’t be to everyone’s tastes but if you’re interested in a bit of horror, as well as some Korean culture, you won’t be disappointed with The Coma.