Chinese first-person horror adventure Paper Dolls 2 is out now on consoles. Waking up in the aboding Yin Mansion, your goal is to uncover what happened to the famous Yin family.
Paper Doll 2 – Twist and Turns Await
I enjoy the horror adventure genre and I was hopeful that Paper Dolls 2 on the PS5 by developers Beijing Litchi Culture Media Co would bring some jumps and scares to the year.
Having made the move from VR in the original, the sequel has aimed for a wider audience. The game starts at the base of a set of stairs, without any explanation or goal.
This pushes towards a heavy aspect of the first-person puzzle. Who you are, what are you looking for and how does everything link together? Aside from the dark and mysterious mansion, there is a sprinkling of horror in here, with few jump scares.
I found the lack of any explanation, or navigation frustrating. The sheer number of puzzles that hinder progress quickly had me asking WHY? Search the mansion to find a weight just to discover what you already know, and all that to make a dead grandma some medication… no I don’t know either.
You start the game with a decorative Phurba, a three-sided dagger. The dagger acts as your defence with quick time triggers used in order to escape relatively unharmed.
As you move around Yin Manor you start to unravel its secrets, although at least for me a lot of this was trial and a lot of errors! Documents can be found by exploring the manor, these give you an insight as to what happened over the years. This is where a lot of the games flaws become obvious. Without these documents, there are little to no answers as to what happened.
Boss fights are frustrating, with your movement speed considerably slower than your enemy. This will not come as a surprise as throughout the game the pace is terrible. When running for a couple of seconds your walk pace is dropped which is equally annoying.
Graphics & Audio
It is worth noting that the PS5 version does improve visuals from the last-gen version. Audio is key because so many areas are dark until you light lanterns. You would expect the sounds from an old house, creaking doors, echoing footsteps, and squeaking floors. The tension is built within the game by its audio, even some jump scares come out of nowhere and without the usual audible build up.
There is a very noticeable blur which you will notice in these screenshots. The picture below was taken during a cutscene and still shows the same issues.
I understand that these smaller studios are on a much tighter budget. Beijing Litchi Culture Media Co have only worked on the Paper Dolls titles. The switch from VR to standard may have also contributed to this problem.
Prepare to put around 14hrs into Paper Dolls 2, as you navigate the Mansions dark hallways. There is little in the replay department unless you are hunting for all the documents. It is doomed for life in my library of games, that at one stage I may be drawn back to playing somewhere down the line.
I was left underwhelmed, the “horror” aspect is more a light dusting to a first-person puzzle game. Numerous aspects feel frustrating, the lack of direction and character speed being huge examples. Whilst it isn’t all bad the segments that shine aren’t as rewarding because they are few and far between. It is for this reason that Paper Dolls 2 scores a shiny Bronze Thumb Culture award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.