Mina Park is your average high schooler. She stays late to study at school, has a best friend to pass notes with, and has to navigate the tricky challenge of turning down a would-be suitor. Just like any high school girl, except… a few weeks ago, Mina’s brother collapsed in school. It was sudden and unexplainable – even doctors can’t seem to figure it out. The only hint she has is an old locket with a photo of a mysterious girl inside.
One fateful night, after a late study session and with her brother’s locket in hand, Mina happens upon a creepy ritual in the school closet and winds up in a parallel, hellish world called the Coma. Unfortunately, someone – or something – inside the Coma wants Mina very, very dead…
Gorgeous art and vibrant colours bring the game – and Mina’s nightmare – to vivid, horrifying life
First thing’s first – The Coma 2 is beautifully drawn. At first, it was even hard to feel like it was a horror game – it reminded me of pretty otome games with its school scenes, gossiping students, and comic-worthy drawings. Cutscenes are visual novel-style, with gorgeous CGs that are surprisingly pretty for a horror title, but don’t compromise its spooky feel. Instead, it makes the monsters of the Coma – particularly Ms. Song – even creepier. I was surprised to see such colourful art balance out so perfectly with the darkness of the hallways… but we’ll get to those in a bit.
Be ready to backtrack, backtrack, backtrack… and find lots of lore!
Vicious Sisters is definitely easy to learn. Aside from movement, you have a single dodge button, and inventory, and absolutely no way to fight back. Don’t expect to get caught up in weapons and aiming here – instead, you’ll have to take note of your safe spots and run for them when danger bares its fangs. You’ll have a handful of inventory slots in your small backpack which you can fill with vending machine items. Mostly you’ll find snacks and drinks for your stamina and health, but items such as mace can help you escape a tricky situation as well.
Any challenging bits of gameplay – escaping an enemy’s grip, firing up a generator, unlocking a coded door – are handled with fairly simple quicktime events.
Unfortunately a big chunk of your exploration is revisiting areas over and over to find new things. Finally made it to that security office? Too bad – you need a key card from the third floor now! In some areas, it’s interesting to find new secrets and uncover new hints. In others, it feels like pointlessly repeating the same route over and over again. It might not be as frustrating if every stage didn’t come with 3 or 4 floors to trek up and down repeatedly, but at times I felt exasperated because I knew that as soon as I made progress, it would be two steps forward, one step back.
At the end of some stages, things get a little more interesting when unavoidable attacks (generally in cutscene) permanently lower your health bar. To be honest, however, if you stay smart and keep stocked up, you should be able to survive.
All in all, it’s not too difficult, and players looking for an extreme challenge might be disappointed. But I didn’t mind the lack of challenge in The Coma 2, because the horror atmosphere was exactly what I want in a spooky game, and the story really caught my interest. Alongside the main story of The Coma 2, your explorations will uncover plenty of lore to keep you engaged. By picking up torn pages along the way, you’ll gain insight into the pasts of several of the characters, and more details about the strange series of unfortunate events that brought you here.
It also made me want to check out The Coma – a game I’ve heard of plenty, but never touched. Fortunately, you can easily dive into The Coma 2 with no real knowledge of the first game, though I’m sure it would be a nice supplement. The story doesn’t really go deep – the only character you really get to know is Mina, and she’s rather unpleasant (and also not quite so savvy when it comes to following instructions or taking the hint that all is not well in the world). Eventually, you’ll also learn more about Mina’s friendship with Da-hyun, and see some surprisingly emotional backstory. While it wasn’t always at the forefront, I enjoyed the several stories woven in.
The Coma 2’s greatest feature is the click-click-click of your hunter’s high heels in the distance…
Great sound design can take a horror game from merely spooky, to incredibly stressful. The Coma 2 takes this to a whole new level. The most immediately dangerous moments in the game – immediate chases and jump scares – often are punctuated with shrieks and intense music. But it’s not the chase scenes and jump scares that had me the most scared. Somehow, the dark magic happens in the quiet moments. The majority of the game is spent exploring quiet hallways in the desolate, nightmarish world of the Coma. This should be a time of calm and peace for the player. It should set you at ease and make you grateful that – for the moment – the chase is over. Instead, you’re constantly haunted by sounds in the distance. Glass breaking, disjointed background music, and ambient, chilling sound make up your audio. But the most horrifying detail is the sudden click-click-click of Ms. Song’s heels in the distance as she searches for you. You won’t ever feel safe in the corridors of any building. There are no true reprieves.
And since listening for your pursuer is so important, you can’t turn down the sound to get away from it. The buildup of suspense never quite disappears.
It’s an addition to an already great atmosphere that takes it up a notch or two. Visually, The Coma 2 is already plenty stressful. Wax figures line the halls, so that you almost can’t tell whether something is a “living” enemy until it’s nearly too late. Menacing shadows and shades and creatures lurk in the darkness. And by darkness, I mean everywhere. There don’t seem to be any working lights in any of the buildings. Instead, you’re armed with a trusty lighter or flashlight to help guide your way and spot occasional items and secrets. But while your lightmakes it easier for you to see, it also makes it easier to see you. As a result, if you want to avoid drawing too much attention to yourself, you’ll use it sparingly.
Dangerous enemies actually don’t seem to show up too often (or at least not in my experience), but their presence is always there, and the tension is always high.
All in all, I think The Coma 2: Vicious Sister is definitely worth picking up if you’re a fan of atmospheric horror. It’s got a perfectly spooky feel and I loved the constant sense of dread. I also found the lore pretty fascinating. If you’re looking for survival horror with fighting or frequent enemy encounters, you may want to look elsewhere. But if you’re ready to dive into a creepy nightmare and explore the darkest parts of the city, it’s well worth checking out.
New from Devespresso Games, The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters is currently in early access and can be purchased on Steam! Feel free to jump in now, but please note that all save data will reset upon official release on the 28th of January, at which time additional content will be added.