E3 2017: Inception Meets Splinter Cell in Phantom 8’s Past Cure

The tools and power independent developers have in today’s world are remarkable. Year-after-year we continuously see indies push the limits of game development and 2017 is no different. One of the indies looking to make a splash this year is Phantom 8. Comprised of ten people, the team is working on Past Cure, a third-person single-player game. With the goal of developing a title with high-quality visuals, different sets of gameplay mechanics and an engrossing story, Phantom 8 sure has its work cut out for it. We went hands-on with Past Cure at E3 2017 and are happy to report that the studio is on the right track to deliver something special.

Past Cure is about Ian, a former soldier who was subjected to experiments that transformed him physically and mentally. The experiments bestowed upon him telekinetic abilities and the power to manipulate thoughts with a side effect being he also gained vivid nightmares that become more real with each passing day. Teaming up with his brother Markus, Ian now seeks revenge against those that experimented on him.

The game’s gameplay is split into two different segments, the real world and nightmare world. Each world lifts inspiration from various properties and plays differently. The real world is more of a third-person shooter in the vein of Splinter Cell. Players can equip a variety of weapons, and engage in hand-to-hand combat to dispatch enemies. Utilizing his telekinetic abilities, Ian can enter a form of ‘Detective Vision’ to scout rooms and disable security cameras. Overall, the shooting mechanics are very well done. Aiming is smooth and responsive, and we had no problem pulling off some slick headshots.

Inspired by Inception, the nightmare world is a dramatic departure from the real world. While the third-person shooting mechanics remain, the nightmare world is more of a survival horror experience. Players will have to guide Ian through dark and dreary corridors armed with very little ammo. Normal enemies are replaced with surprisingly creepy white mannequins that slowly walk towards Ian with the intent of killing him. They go down with a single shot, but they’ll also kill you in one hit. We got to spend some time in the nightmare world, and it led to some very intense encounters. When more than a dozen white mannequins are advancing on you, the palms are going to get a little sweaty.

Visually, the game looks superb coming from a ten man studio. Utilizing the Unreal 4 engine, Phantom 8 has crafted a world with plenty of detail, though we did find that the nightmare levels were more visually pleasing than the real world levels. Darkness, decay, and fire gave the nightmare world a strong personality, while the real world felt drab and lifeless. There was also only one generic NPC model used for real world enemies. However, Phantom 8 assured us there are more various models and textures used for NPCs, and that the single NPC model was a result of them trying to put together an E3 demo quickly.

Inception meets Splinter Cell is an interesting concept and Past Cure is pulling it off so far. Despite a few visual inconsistencies, Phantom 8 is creating an interesting title that blends different genres to great effect. While we still need to see how the game handles transitions between both worlds, what we have seen shows great promise.

Past Cure is scheduled for release later this year on PS4, Xbox One and PC via Steam. The game will be released digitally and at retail locations.