Although it didn’t take up too much of the Sony Press Conference, the PlayStation VR still had a few things to show fans in attendance and watching live at home. One of the titles that caught our eye was The Inpatient, a psychological thriller that looked to mess with the player’s perception of reality.
Then, once we got to play it during E3 2017, it became clear that The Inpatient is just that. More importantly, it’s the type of experience that works well in VR, but has been mostly available on competing platforms. For PlayStation VR, The Inpatient is a unique experience that is both intriguing and unnerving.
The basics of the game are laid out well in the short demo. Players awake as a character with no memory and fastened to a chair. Through dialogue choices the player will be able to craft the narrative, and also influence how characters interact with them. This is highlighted by a buzzword for each dialogue choice that hints at the driving emotion behind the response.
At first, The Inpatient seems like an on-rails, experiential game that features the player sitting still and the world interacting with him/her. Eventually, though, the demo gave us the freedom to walk around and interact with the world. There is a lot of mystery to The Inpatient, which is to be expected with an amnesia setup, and the world-building is very effective.
There’s always the possibility that the game is more than just a creepy, narrative-driven experience, but the hope is that it will stick to its guns, and by that we mean add no guns. It’s far more unnerving to be helpless in a world, and it seems like The Inpatient wants to draw players in with its story, as they try to understand how the player character ended up in this medical facility.
But the main question potential players will have is whether or not The Inpatient is scary? We’ll admit that the bulk of the demo doesn’t focus on scares, but tries to introduce the world and give a sense for some of the gameplay, but things ramp up at the very end of the demo. It isn’t often that a game makes me jump, but the final sequence had some really unexpected moments.
Will that all come together into something memorable? It’s hard to say. The interactions with the characters sow those seeds of intrigue, and the dialogue and atmosphere is all of a high quality. But delivering a scare or two during an E3 demo is not the same as delivering a genuinely scary game, especially in VR. However, what we played was enough to have us interested to see more of The Inpatient, and hopeful that it can deliver a one-of-a-kind horror experience to PlayStation VR owners.
The Inpatient has no release date yet but will be available on PlayStation VR.