A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Inpatient is an adventure game for the PlayStation VR. While it highlights violence, blood, gore, and scenes of horror in an asylum, the player doesn't kill anyone or get involved in any combat whatsoever. Rather, this is a slower-paced adventure game, where you must explore, examine items, solve puzzles, and talk with people. That said, because the game is played in virtual reality (VR), with added immersion, the sights and sounds might scare players. The game also has some strong profanity, including the word "f--k" in at least once instance. Players will also notice scenes and references to drugging patients.
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What's it about?
In THE INPATIENT, you wake up in a wheelchair, with no idea of who or where you are. Turns out, it's 1952, you're at Blackwood Sanatorium, and there are some pretty creepy things going on here. As a terrified, amnesiac inpatient, you must figure out who you are and why you're institutionalized, unravel a huge conspiracy, and get out alive. Played from a first-person perspective in virtual reality (VR), this horror game has you exploring rooms and corridors, talking with other patients, and solving puzzles -- but there's no combat in the game. You'll need to stay alive with your wits (and courage) in this creepy single-player thriller, which is a prequel to the Until Dawn games that take place more than 60 years later. With its branching narrative and multiple endings, every choice you make through the game can affect the way the story plays out.
Is it any good?
If you're a fan of horror movies and games, this adventure game delivers some serious VR thrills and chills -- and not just in its jump scare scenes. Unfortunately, The Inpatient is short and suffers from some technical issues, but overall, it's recommended for fans of the genre. Along with the regular DualShock controller, you can play The Inpatient using PlayStation Move controllers, which are recommended for added immersion, since you've got two hands to touch and manipulate items. But there will be some trial and error, such as fumbling with a door handle that's directly in front of you. There are some movement challenges, too, such as being unable to turn around in the game. But between the great story, real-looking characters, and talking to them using your own voice (an optional feature that makes it even more fun), the developers really make you feel like you're in the inpatient's shoes.
Also worth noting is the scary soundscape -- the audio in this game is exceptional, between the sound effects, musical score, and stellar voice acting -- which makes it even more immersive. In fact, you'll rely on directional audio cues at times to determine where someone (or something) is. While it's short at just over two hours, the game offers some replayability, as different decisions will likely yield a different outcome. Without giving too much away, you can even change the narrative after multiple playthroughs. The Inpatient is an example of a horror adventure game done right. It's downright creepy, immersive, and thought-provoking. Perhaps a patch can tweak some of the movement and control issues, but even with these shortcomings, it's worth the price of admission.
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- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment America
- Release date: January 17, 2018
- Genre: Survival Horror
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Misfits and underdogs, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.