The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters marks a curious, yet exciting genre blend, that of a visual novel survival horror game. The second entry in The Coma series from South Korean developer Devespresso, you play as a schoolgirl named Mina in Sewha High, an academy with dark secrets. The polish of Coma 2’s gameplay and art design made the four hours I spent in this hellscape quite fun.
While leaving the big mystery up to your imagination, the first hour starts off with a world building tutorial. Here, you meet characters but also the unique blend of gameplay that The Coma 2 inhabits. All text and cutscenes are in a very classic visual novel format, the rest conveying in semi-standard horror action. After exploring the school, you transition to the night phase, where the chaos begins. The Coma 2 twists the typical social management format in an interesting way. If you purchased items during the tutorial fetch quest, you get an added advantage, though resources aren’t sparse. The world you once traipsed around is transformed into a Lovecraftian monstrosity. Fleshy gobs teem from the walls and your only friend becomes a trusty lighter.
Unlike Western horror games that drop you directly into the action, The Coma 2 is a slow burn. Here, a dark reflection of the teaching staff, summoned up via a hellish ritual, is stalking and killing certain students. You’re unfortunately trapped, having to survive by any means necessary. Most of these means involve just running, though Coma 2 features an interactive hiding system not unlike Alien Isolation. Most of the in the moment interactivity comes in the way of quick-time events, which despite being repetitive in mainstream genres, is refreshing in the typically static visual novel genre. The combination of a limited inventory, endless chase, and quick-time events make an exciting experience that works in the game’s favor.
Despite being a scary adventure, The Coma 2 does fall flat in some places. Particularly, the lack of variety in most of the quests stands out after the first few hours. Most of the missions boil down to basic fetch quests, using items to open up new places. Often, these items are multi-color keycards which begin to repeat. Mechanically, the game is sound, though some cheap hits via unseen enemies can occur. Though you can expend stamina to bypass most hazards, the game eventually becomes a balancing act of managing stamina for the eventual chases and to deal with hazards.
Overall, the world of The Coma 2 deserves a first hand expereince to truly engross oneself in it’s story. Unfortunately, the gameplay loop of The Coma 2 can sometimes feel a little repetitive, as many segments become a waiting game versus the Dark Song creature. Thankfully, the atmosphere never falters despite some weaker aspects. If the tale of The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters truly engrosses you, it will be a worthy addition to your library. You can check it out now on Steam or GOG.
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