VR Impressions: THE INPATIENT Blew Me Away at E3

While its presence at the Sony Press Conference did not fully show the game's potential, The Inpatient had a surprisingly compelling showing at Sony's booth on the show floor of E3. The one minute teaser seen during Sony's conference (which can be seen below) didn't reveal much about the game. The story played off the setting of an insane asylum, and seemed to bring a generic horror story along for the ride. Saying that the light tease for the game didn't show well wouldn't give the game the credit it actually deserves. Rather, the trailer shown didn't have the opportunity to highlight what makes the game remarkable.  Having originally written it game off as 'just another VR game', the game became my favorite experience out of the wealth of other games. This was surprising for me because virtual reality has never fully grabbed my attention - until now.

The opportunity that was missed during the Sony conference was that there really is no way to show how remarkable the 3D is when it's being shown in 2D. It's understandable why this limitation exists, and you can't fault Sony or Supermassive Games for it. However, with 3D being the largest driving factor behind VR, being unable to demo VR games in a way to showcases their 3D does very little to expose the true potential of this medium of games to anyone who is interested (or not) in them. Perhaps this is why the PlayStation VR portion of the conference is of large disinterest to many fans and media members. It is an issue that I hope can be remedied in the next few years so that VR has as strong of a footing as possible so it can truly take off.

With The Inpatient, the 3D is something that has stuck with me in the days after the convention. The dimensions of the rooms and characters within them were near perfection. These characters look like human beings. They are not cartoony beings nor polygonal rigged models as have been done in other games (think Super Hot VR). They are human beings and they are believable. This is of great benefit to the horror tone of the game since having a realistically rendered human leaning a foot away from your face is more unsettling for me than a grotesque monster doing the same. The bulk of the presentation was just that, the doctor (who you'll likely remember from the trailer) orders you to be restrained to a chair while asking you questions and throwing out all previously held conventions of personal space. These questions are meant to trigger memories of prior events, and you can choose to cooperate with the doctor, or to fight against the fact that you are being restrained against your will. Choosing the later provokes the doctor to use more serious tactics to get the information out of you. At one point, after a series of  uncooperative responses, I was told I was being unhelpful and the doctor decided it was no longer necessary to question me. He then pulled a syringe filled with a pale green sedative out and injected it into my left thigh, a phenomenon which cause my actual thigh to tense up in anticipation of the needle. This sensation is something I have never experienced and it speaks to the power of immersion that The Inpatient provides.

With the prospect of virtual reality gaming on the rise, it's exciting to have finally played a game that has fully ignited my excitement for the medium. For me, The Inpatient left me with such an impression that I would consider buying a PSVR set up just for the game. If you are a fan of horror games, you will want to be sure to check out this game!

Did you get a chance to see The Impatient during Sony's Press Conference? How did you think it showed, and are you excited about it? Let me know in the comments below!

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