"But I didn't do anything!" she tearfully pleaded with the woman thundering down the hall after her. Her attacker didn't stop, instead rearing back. Her gleaming shears were inches from the girl's neck as Jennifer sprinted past her. The housekeeper snarled, whirling to continue her deadly chase after the fleeing girl. Wind howled, rattling the old windows as the whiteout blizzard raged outside. Jennifer was trapped. Utterly, hopelessly trapped.
That's what it's like to play Remothered: Broken Porcelain. The gameplay loop is simple: meet a stalker, flee, solve a problem while attracting as little attention as possible, and repeat. It's the sequel to Remothered: Tormented Fathers, itself a spiritual successor to the likes of Clock Tower and Haunting Ground. TechRaptor recently had the chance to play through a short preview of the title. Originally set for a release date in late August, the studio opted to polish the second part of the story and release it on October 20, instead. As this is a sequel, beware spoilers for the first game.
Remothered: Broken Porcelain shifts the perspective from last game's Rosemary Reed to a girl calling herself Jennifer. Expelled from the Flemmington Girls Institute, Jennifer is boisterous and energetic. Evidence points to "Jennifer" really being Celeste Felton, the girl Rosemary was searching for during Tormented Fathers. Jennifer forms a strong relationship with fellow runaway Lindsay, though this is shown to be strained in the demo after some kind of incident. This "incident" also resulted in Jennifer's left arm getting hurt.
Broken Porcelain Rewinds Broken Memories
After a brief introduction, Jennifer goes to the office of the Ashmann Inn's owner, Stefano. After his admonishment, Ashmann orders Jennifer to help Andrea, the inn's main housekeeper. Andrea, who strongly resembles a bespectacled Kathy Bates (Misery), is a loyal and fastidious, if disgruntled, employee. She confides in Jennifer, revealing a disturbing relationship between Stefano and his sister Gloria, the Red Nun and main antagonist in Tormented Fathers. Jennifer argues with Lindsay and begins getting a room ready when the loudspeakers turn on, emitting a crackling noise.
Angry and upset enough at Lindsay to storm out into the snow, Jennifer spots Andrea leaving a tray of food for a nonexistent guest. Underneath the cover is a hand! It writhes, terrifying Jennifer. She turns around, only for a deranged, moth-infested Andrea to begin attacking her with a pair of scissors. What follows is a cat-and-mouse game as the young girl tries to keep hidden from the staff of the Ashmann Inn and rescue Lindsay.
There appear to be a number of quality-of-life improvements in Broken Porcelain. Players can now see Jennifer's stamina via a gauge on the upper-right portion of the screen. Compared to the older Rosemary, Jennifer is spry and quick. She's much faster, and can dart into small spaces to evade and fluster her pursuers. To compensate for her increased agility, Jennifer takes quite a while to catch her breath. She also seems a bit more fragile, being a fifteen-year-old girl compared to a grown woman. New crafting mechanics let Jennifer improve her distraction items or improve the power of her defense items, and items in the demo were quite plentiful. In fact, she could carry as many as could be found lying around. From shovels to icebreakers to kitchen knives, there was no shortage of sharp implements to be had.
Some other changes included the chase mechanics, which improved immersion quite a bit. Enemies no longer caused the borders of the screen to flash red when the player is in an enemy's sights. Instead, there is a musical sting when the character is spotted, and a line from the stalker and/or Jennifer. These involved threats on Andrea's end, and Jennifer pleading for her life. Jennifer will also whisper a line about someone coming if she thinks a stalker heard her footsteps and is coming to investigate. In that way, she's much more emotive than Rosemary, who was rather quiet except when waiting a long time in a hiding spot or being grabbed by a stalker.
Reconsider Your Approach
Gameplay in the demo favors a more aggressive playstyle, as Jennifer can outmaneuver enemies to get to safety or surprise them with a deft stab to the neck. This doesn't keep them occupied long, however. Jennifer will need to surprise and stab enemies several times to keep them busy longer than a few moments. She also needs to weigh conserving her items for emergencies against the benefits of ambushing her pursuers and putting them down in a minute. The new ability to call out to enemies and reveal her presence lets Jennifer lure stalkers into traps of her own, as well. Her walking footsteps aren't silent, either. Carpeted surfaces muffle the sound, but carelessly walking on the squeaky old floorboards is sure to attract undesired attention. Aside from its improvements, Broken Porcelain plays much like Tormented Fathers, ensuring fans of the first game will feel right at home.
Despite the upgrades, however, the demo confirms that more polish was a good idea. Andrea's AI swings between "omniscient corner-peeking clairvoyant" and "stands in a doorway for half a minute, then patrols the same two rooms ad nauseum." There were also some texture and physics-based issues, as well, though fixes are already in progress. Broken Porcelain also features solid voice acting, though it could use some audio balancing to even out differences in volume. All in all, I'm shivering from anticipation for the October release.
Rekindle Fear and Romance
The timeline places the events at the Ashmann Inn squarely before Tormented Fathers, but Rosemary's appearances indicate her parts occur several years later, likely after the first game. If the previous game had a very The Silence of the Lambs vibe to it, then Broken Porcelain draws heavy inspiration from Misery and especially The Shining, with Rule of Rose added for good measure. Many lines and plot threads, especially from Gloria, take on new significance as the mystery of the Remothered series tightens. Whether she is the same Red Nun shown wielding a flamethrower in the Ashmann Residents trailer or not is unknown. Check it out below and see for yourself.
Intrigued? Be sure to check out our review of the previous game. You can pick up the full version of Remothered: Broken Porcelain for the PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on October 20. Book your reservation at the Ashmann Inn today, if you dare, and check back with us here at TechRaptor for the latest in Remothered news and info.
TechRaptor previewed Remothered: Broken Porcelain on PC using a copy provided by the developers.