I just don’t get it. Normally, developers remaster a game after a sufficient amount of time has passed, providing the love is there from the fanbase. In most cases, there is usually a decade between the original and the remaster or a re-release. The Coma: Recut bucks this trend, given that The Coma: Cutting Class was only released in 2015. I don’t doubt there are people who love this game, but it has only been two years.
Admittedly, this remaster has seen updated animations, mechanics and art style implemented across the board – not that the original release was particularly lacking in those areas, but they are nice touches, nonetheless. The thing is, for those who never touched or heard of The Coma: Cutting Class, and will be looking to judge this game on its own merits, it’s a flaky experience at times.
The Coma: Recut doesn’t take long to get into the meat of the story. You play as Youngho, a young, Korean student, who spent the night before studying for an important exam. So exhausted is Youngho that after speaking to several of his peers and busty teacher, Ms Song, who Youngho has a thing for (because of course he does), he falls asleep during the exam and wakes into a horrific, dark otherworldly version of his school. As soon as he ventures into the hallway, he finds Ms Song possessed by a demonic presence and from then on, she pursues you with a knife. It’s not the most exciting of set-ups but, in terms of building intrigue, it does the trick.
As a point-and-click adventure, it carries a lot of the traditional tropes: you move through 2D environments, loot through classrooms and hallways for key items, in addition to health and stamina recharges, which come by way of food and drink. Effectively, much of the time spent in The Coma: Recut, is searching out items and solving puzzles to help you move through the school and to unravel what is going on. You also meet other students along the way which, while slightly perplexed, seem inexplicably unfazed and unaffected by what is happening. There is also a bit of world building going on, with notes left scattered on desks and in bags, fleshing out the self-contained world you find yourself trying to escape.
Periodically, Ms Song will jump out, do her scary face and pursue you down the hallways. Evading her is simple, as the school is littered with cupboards and toilets to hide in. Once inside one of these hidey-holes, Ms Song will look about for a bit then give up. You are presented with audio cues, both when she appears and finishes her search. The first few times can prove to be real, heart-pounding moments, but once you realise that this is the extent of the majority of her appearances, it starts to feel a bit stale. I couldn’t help but feel after the first ten or so times she popped up that she was going to become more of an annoyance rather than an obstacle to overcome, or a foe to outsmart. Had the audio cues been removed and she just appeared, and left you unsure when she had gone away, these moments would have been tenser.
The Coma: Recut has an art style that is thematically fitting, at least when it comes to paying homage to the Korean horror genre that inspires it. Put simply, The Coma: Recut resembles an anime, graphic novel of sorts and given the 2D design, this works. The soundtrack is also good; always tense and on point, heightening when being pursued by the demons.
If only the writing held up too. Sadly, and I am not sure if this is due to translation issues, dialogue is questionable. The Coma: Recut constantly seems to be trying to strike a balance between being camp and serious, although this balance is never quite there and it just feels jarring. Characters just don’t talk in a way that you would expect, given the situation they are in. Had the tone of the game gone all in on its self-awareness, then this would be understandable. It would make sense for the dialogue to be a little trite at times. But the question of, “was that line intentionally bad or was it just bad,” was always on my mind.
Despite its flaws, The Coma: Recut is worth sitting through the four-hour playthrough. Its premise is unique enough to justify that. I just don’t see a lot of replay value in there. While there are a few genuine scares and, on occasion, striking and terrifying imagery, these moments are padded by routine, run of the mill, jump scares which we’ve seen all before. Still, busty, demonic teachers are always worth a punt, right?
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