Remothered: Broken Porcelain – Take Your Broke Ass Home
PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Switch
Welcome back to your regularly scheduled segment “Jenn plays a horror game for Player 2 because nobody else wants to”. With Halloween only just behind us, I put my hand up for Remothered: Broken Porcelain because I thought it might be fun to inject a little more horror into 2020. Little did I know that Broken Porcelain was going to deliver more misery than I ever thought imaginable.
Remothered: Broken Porcelain is just that; broken. This glitchy, buggy mess of a game was almost impossible to play, and if I was one of the unlucky ones who purchased this game I’d be unbelievably annoyed. There were countless occasions during my playthrough where the game just straight up broke and I had to redo entire segments, or miss things all together. To developer Stormind Games’ credit, they have been releasing patches routinely since the games launch to try and combat these bugs – but even with band-aids slapped on all over the place, the game still manages to bleed itself to death.
This title is the second in the Remothered series – the sequel to Remothered: Tormented Fathers which was released in 2018. I never played this game, and although you can opt for a recap to catch you up on what happened, I feel like this didn’t really help.
Apparently the Remothered series was inspired by some of the great horror movies of our lifetime, such as The Shining and Psycho. The devs also took inspiration from the Clock Tower series, one which I played as a kid (and definitely shouldn’t have because scenes from those titles still haunt me to this day). Going into my review, I thought that I might be able to recapture some of the horror the Clock Tower series gripped me with way back when, but the only thing that managed to grip me was a fit of unbelievable frustration as I tried to navigate my way through this jumbled mess of a game.
So what is Remothered: Broken Porcelain on a good day? Well it’s a tale of a young girl named Jennifer who got expelled from boarding school after trying to escape, and as punishment, is forced to live out her days as a maid at Ashman Inn with fellow escapee (and close friend and lover) Linn. Linn and Jennifer’s botched escape from the boarding school put somewhat of a damper on their relationship, and the first interaction you see of the two together is them yelling at each other. This immediately intrigued me (because who doesn’t love a bit of drama) but as Jennifer locks herself in the bathroom to get away from Linn, the game jumps and the scene is over. When the cutscene ends, Jennifer tells me “I have to get out of here” though I’m kind of confused as to why – a feeling that was constant throughout my entire playthrough.
I left the room and was walking around the inn when suddenly the head maid (who was talking to Jennifer completely normally, moments before) goes into a fit and tries to stab Jen in the jugular. Seem sudden? Seem unexpected? Seem like there should have been more build up before one character starts trying to kill another? Yeah… exactly. It almost feels like the game went “it’s been ten minutes without a scare, time to throw one in” and just chucks enemies into the game randomly – you don’t even have time for the fear to build or the tension to rise, you’re just thrown into these weirdly random scenarios where someone is trying to kill you now, and you have to stumble through the game trying to get away from them.
Which leads me to my next gripe with the game – the controls. This game handles like a monster truck trying to drive itself through the eye of a needle. Jennifer moves so slow and the enemies move like they’re on rollerskates. There were countless times where I got so frustrated I threw Jennifer into harms way purely to watch her get die (nothing says catharsis like a good stabbing!).
As you stumble through the clunky environment, evade the mundane enemies and muddle your way through the “fucked up just for the sake of it” story, you learn that Jennifer is the target of all this hatred due to her special talent. Outside of moving at a speed so slow it could break world records, Jennifer has the ability to port her consciousness into moths.
Yeah. You read that right. Moths. Her special power is moths.
For those who don’t know me, I hate moths. I hate them so much. Weird fuzzy winged creatures that flutter right in your face and get dust on everything. They’re a big nope from me, but I do recognise it’s sort of a stupid thing to be afraid of. So take heed when I say that the moths were the thing that scared me most in this game. I did find it almost laugh-out-loud funny that a game released riddled with bugs, has a character with a super-power that revolves solely around controlling one, but even that didn’t make my experience any more enjoyable.
Enemies in the game who have this power are able to use it for really cool things, like controlling an army of moths to eat off someone’s face, but Jennifer’s biggest achievement is using the moth to flutter up to a high shelf to get something down. Way to go, Jennifer.
What I love most about horror games is the storyline – a good plot will keep me powering through all the scares in the world. Broken Porcelain’s story has good bones, but no flesh. Each character has a tormented past, but none of this is ever really built on, leaving it too hollow for someone to care about. I feel like the writers sat down one day and brainstormed “horrible things that can happen to people” and just randomly assigned these as backstories. It would have been great if the origins of the characters were delved into a little deeper, so I could better understand their motives, but that was just one more thing Broken Porcelain was unable to deliver on.
The only real saving grace for this game is that the devs are actively trying to fix all the glitches it launched with. Once it plays even slightly like advertised (none of my movements were ever as smooth as the ones in the gameplay trailers, let me tell you) it might be more enjoyable. The relationship between Jennifer and Linn was interesting to see evolve, and honestly, seeing a guy get his face eaten off by moths is pretty rad, but that’s just not enough for me.
Review code for Remothered: Broken Porcelain was kindly supplied by the publisher.