We're generally optimistic about Supermassive Games, the promising developer that brought us the choose your own horror adventure Until Dawn, one of 2015's biggest surprises on the PlayStation 4.
So understandably, we were pretty excited to get our hands on The Inpatient at ESGS 2017. As a psychological horror video game, The Inpatient is intended to leverage the immersive potential of the PSVR platform. Unfortunately, our experience with the game was less than ideal, due to inherent problems with the demo's design.
According to the first screen, the demo presented was the same one shown at E3 earlier this year. It opens with you strapped to a chair, and being asked by a rather unsettling doctor about the troubling episode that got you committed to the psychiatric ward.
You have the option to respond in many different ways as the doctor continues to press you for more admissions, all the while gradually invading your personal space. The doctor eventually threw up his hands in resignation with us and then administered a sedative, bringing the whole demo to an unfortunate and abrupt end.
And therein lies the problem with the demo. While I don't doubt that The Inpatient has more to offer than this, it might have been a mistake to allow booth attendees to close off certain parts of the intended experience from themselves through the choices they make.
We stuck around and saw that there was more to the demo, with some creepy interactions with orderlies and a spooky hallucinatory sequence in one of the hospital's corridors. A more guided experience might have done The Inpatient justice, or at the very least a highlight reel at the end of the demo to show what other experiences you can expect.
In any case, we're still optimistic about where the developers at Supermassive want to go with The Inpatient, but it's quite likely that other attendees were turned off without the context and information we had going in.
The Inpatient is scheduled for release on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR on November 21, 2017.