It’s hardly surprising to see remastered games being announced as of late, in fact I dare say that the current gen of gaming will long be remembered as the gen of remasters, simply because there’s so many titles making a comeback. Hell, we only have to look at Capcom to see that there’s a great deal of success to be had on this front, but that’s justified due to most of their remasters being titles that are at least a decade or two old. The Coma: Recut is a remaster of The Coma: Cutting Class, which only released in 2015. Does a two year gap really justify a remaster? Probably not, but seeing as though this game never made it to console, it’s easy to let this one slide.
The game sees you taking on the role of Youngho, a hapless Korean student who finds himself trapped within the confines of his nightmarish high school after falling asleep during his final exams. No big deal, right? Wrong! You see Youngho isn’t alone, he’s being stalked by a sinister killer that wants to slice him into pieces at every chance she gets. Now it’s up to a terrified Youngho to evade the psychopath and solve the mystery within, which will ultimately answer as to why he is here, and how he can escape. I’ve played some pretty scary games in my time, and while The Coma: Recut is more inline with Knock-Knock than anything else, it’s a freakishly scary game that certainly had me jumping off my seat in shock on several occasions throughout.
I’ve never been in the business of spoiling a story, so as always I’ll dance around the plot as much as I can. The foundations of the game are well set from the moment you pick up the pad. As soon as you arrive at school you’re introduced to several key characters that range from bullies, nerds, friends, teachers, and so on and so forth. It’s immediately clear that something isn’t right, made apparent by the presence of an ambulance and a large crowd of bystanders. It’s briefly explained to you that a student has sadly committed suicide due to the stress of the upcoming exams, but whether or not there’s something more to that than meets the eye is for Youngho to work out and witness first hand.
As alluded to above, Youngho finds himself in a Silent Hill-like version of his own school after falling asleep during his own daunting exam. His favourite teacher Ms. Song (and secret crush) is patrolling the hallways armed with sharp weaponry, laying in wait for poor old Youngho to stumble on by. Youngho on the other hand is armed with just a backpack and a flashlight, so as you can imagine, much of this game revolves around running and hiding whenever you bump into the terrifying Ms. Song. Drawing once again to my comparison of Knock-Knock, despite our less than favourable review of that game, The Coma: Recut is much better structured thanks to the fact that you know roughly what to do and how to make progress. I’m not saying that The Coma: Recut comes without its faults, but it’s certainly a better hide-and-seek horror than many of the ill attempts we’ve seen in recent times.
There’s a lot of risk vs reward involved too, being that using your flashlight will enable you to see further ahead as well as lighting up your surroundings, but it also servers as a beacon for any of the foes that are dotted throughout the environment. That’s right, Ms. Song isn’t the only evil that’s lurking through the hallways of your school, dead bodies will surprise attack you if you get too close for comfort and other creatures will hurt and even poison you if you edge near enough to them. There are indeed other encounters that you will stumble upon but mentioning these would spoil the experience for you, which is really something you’ll want to witness first hand for yourselves. In any case it goes without saying that the foundations of The Coma: Recut are well set and the story you pursue is solid, well written and ultimately satisfying, if somewhat lacklustre towards the end.
Gameplay typically consists of searching and rummaging through desks, drawers and backpacks in return for useful items. Ms. Song will pop up frequently as you go about your business, and if this happens, you’ll need to run and hide in the nearest safe place you can locate and pray that she leaves you alone. That may sound repetitive on paper but the developers have done an excellent job at introducing new environments and encounters at just the right time. Regardless as to where you are situated in the six-to-seven hour campaign, the atmosphere never seems to buckle and every music beat that introduces Ms. Song is always tense and exhilarating, constantly catching you off guard in the process.
I found that The Coma: Recut clearly tries hard to grab your attention through clues, conversations and dialogue that Youngho will spew out to himself from time to time. This really helps the scare-factor because often you will find yourself so engaged in what you’re doing or what you’re listening to, only to have Ms. Song spring from the hallways and chase you down. It truly does accelerate the blood pressure. The game looks absolutely gorgeous too, with a decent level of detail that spreads across all of the locations and characters, as well as the animations. The campaign is fairly short but it never outstays its welcome, and when you factor in the opportunity to unlock multiple endings, there’s enough replay value within to justify the well set asking price. Throw in the added collectables that dish up heaps of backstory and there’s very little that you can scoff at when you sit back and look at the big picture.
Despite the fact that it’s odd to see a remaster for a game that’s just two years old, The Coma: Recut marks a first for consoles, seeing as the original was a PC only title. With that said, this game is one hell of a chilling experience that never seems to get old. The setting, the theme and the story are well paced and well written, collectively serving a journey that lasts roughly seven hours in total with added replay value via collectables and multiple endings. Although I have commended the plot, I wasn’t totally impressed with the payoff towards the end of the game. Regardless this is a small complaint in the face of everything that The Coma: Recut gets right, and when you group that with the well designed and well detailed environments, along with the memorable cast and protagonist, there’s little you can grumble at when you take the generous price point into account. If you enjoyed the lacklustre Knock-Knock but longed for something more structured and of better quality, The Coma: Recut has your back, even if it constantly tries to put a knife in it.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.