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The Coma: Recut Review

It should be noted that The Coma: Recut is a remaster of the original Korean horror game The Coma: Cutting Class, something I haven't personally played. The game puts you in the shoes of Youngho, a struggling high school student who stayed up too late studying for exams and as a result is running late to school. Once you get to there, an ambulance takes one of your classmates away after a suicide attempt. It's horrible enough on its own but you'll still have to sit for your exams. Youngho then pulls off one of the dumbest things you can do when taking exams and falls asleep during the test. Once Youngho wakes up, it's all dark. He begins to explore, wondering how they just let him to sleep through his test (a great question!), and soon finds his homeroom teacher Ms. Song he happens to have a huge crash on. However, Ms. Song is... different than usual. She has less of her normal "hey, I'm worried about your math scores" dialogue and a way more lines like "hey, get over here, I want to carve you up with this knife", forcing Youngho to run for his life. He's stuck in a hellish version of his high school with no idea of how to escape.

The Coma: Recut aims to not only tell a mysterious horror story but also show how cruel the pressure put on korean students can be. The game's story gets into the horror territory fairly quickly and really doesn't let up from there. You'll have to explore a twisted version of the high school while trying to find a way out, and occasionally deal with your classmates and some unknown people. The story premise is actually pretty close to Corpse Party, if you ever played that, except The Coma: Recut doesn't build up Youngho's relationships with his classmates nearly as well. Instead, they're relegated to genre stereotypes of a token jock, a token nerd and a token girl Youngho also has a crush on. However, the premise is interesting and the story itself (while not explained that well in actual interaction or dialogue) is fleshed out quite a bit by collectible notes you can find around the school. I just wish the game had more actual meat to the people Youngho interacts with instead of just relying on the lore and premise the game provides.

The 2D art style of this game is interesting and is well rendered for a game of this genre. One of my favorite little details about the game is that the save stations are the chalk boards. Mostly consisting of simple fetch quests The Coma: Recut sends Youngho through the same floors over and over again. Exploring the former high school is fairly simple. Youngho walks around and explores rooms to find locations or items that advance the story. Of course, while you're doing this you're bound to be found by the monster and get chased, which will often require that you return to hiding places scattered around the school. Running and dodging (a nifty forward tumble that WILL save your life) drain stamina, so you'll need to keep an eye on that as well as you play. And that's all there is to the game. There's NO option to fight here, so exploration and running for your life are all you can really do. You can also find money to buy items that restore your health and stamina, as well as recover your status (some enemies can poison you or make you bleed), but that's about it there's for the gameplay. The 4 hours are way too long to be carried by fetch quests but that´s all there is. Even though a killer is chasing Youngho most of the time, it suffers from the same weakness as White Day, the killer gets boring as soon as it´s used too much

Like most horror games, The Coma: Recut is much about atmospheric music. Off-tune notes and deep, foreboding thumps here and there do a great job of making you think twice about moving forward and honestly, probably made this game last longer for me than it should have! When you get found, the music ramps up into a frantic pace that really gets your heart pumping. I also happened to really like the safe room music, an off-key super market tune. As you may expect from an indie title, there's no voice acting. Instead, all the dialogue is just done with text boxes at the bottom of the screen, accompanied with giant character portraits.

In the end, The Coma: Recut delivers a solid (albeit short) 2D horror experience. However, the game as a whole suffers a bit from being a "one-hit wonder" in the gameplay. After being chased 7-8 times in a row, the 9th time just doesn't scare you anymore. Starting out strong with interesting story set-ups, great art and tense atmosphere, it looses its grip over the 4 hours long campaign. The constant repetition of the same quest design, same enemy and same hallways can´t make the game interesting, one I´ve seen everything. Honestly, it´s better than most indie horror games, I can say if you enjoy these survival horror games with no fighting, and don't mind the repetitive gameplay, The Coma: Recut may be right up you alley.

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