It’s hard to make a good horror game, but when done right, developers have created some of the most interesting and unique games ever made. Games like Resident Evil, Soma, and Darkwood, while all mechanically different, make up some of my absolute favorite games of all time. The heavy focus on exploration, atmosphere, and story-telling makes playing these games an intense, personal experience. The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters is no exception. A beautiful, but terrifying world combined with excellent story-telling and gorgeous Korean artwork makes Vicious Sisters a must play for any fans of survival horror.
The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters is a 2D side-scrolling survival horror game created by South Korean developers Devespresso Games. As Mina Park, a student at Sehwa Highschool, you awaken at your desk to find a twisted and deformed version of your world. Warped dopplegangers of your classmates stand motionless throughout the halls and convulsing monsters fall from the ceiling or scuttle across the floor. You decide your only hope is to escape the school and inform the police. But danger lurks behind every corner, and there is more to fear here than just the strange vines creeping up the walls.
Mostly taking place in the supernatural world known as The Coma, the game is largely story-driven and features some elements often found in visual novels, like branching dialogue options and extended period of exposition. Cut scenes appear as comics written in English, but are fully voiced in Korean. The story itself is engaging, and I found myself playing long into the night in the hopes of revealing the mystery of The Coma. I couldn’t help but compare parts of this game to the book Neverwhere by Niel Gaiman. The odd characters, the supernatural market, and the magical world overlaying our own mundane world all reminded me of Richard and Door exploring the strange and unknown tunnels of London Below.
Similar to games like Resident Evil 2, Vicious Sisters features large, semi-open world levels that force the player to explore thoroughly in order to move forward. Locked doors block the shortest path between you and sweet freedom so you’ll have to traverse the entirety of the different levels before being able to move on. Exploration is rewarded with supplies, new gear, and notes in the form of pages torn from a journal. These torn pages provide a lot of great exposition and lore, so it’s worth scouring the levels to find them, especially given how easy they can be to miss.
Surviving in The Coma requires knowing your surroundings and being prepared for surprises. While Vicious Sisters doesn’t rely on cheap jumpscares, the writhing forms of enemies can be difficult to see in the dark, making it necessary to move slowly and observe your environment carefully. Mina is incapable of killing enemies, but she can run away and hide inside lockers or underneath desks. While hiding from unkillable enemies isn’t unique to Vicious Sisters, Devespresso does things a little differently by making the player complete short and simple quick time events to avoid being caught. While I’m typically not a huge fan of quick time events in games, this made hiding feel more engaging and tense instead of a passive experience I had no control over.
The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters is a visual masterpiece. Drawn completely in the style of Korean anime, every environment, character, and enemy is intricately detailed and fits perfectly within the dark and mysterious world. Mutated and disgusting enemies resembling deformed human beings roam the hallways and streets, their movement jerky and disturbing. Strange, supernatural plant-like vines crawl up every wall and window making the terrifying creatures seem far more at home. Overall, the Devespresso team clearly put a lot of time and effort into building a believable, but incredibly unique world.
The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters is a beautifully crafted horror adventure by an extremely talented team of developers and artists. Relying on cultivating an atmosphere of terror rather than lame jumpscares, Vicious Sisters masterfully combines gameplay with narrative. Showcasing fun and intense survival horror mechanics as well as a well-crafted story and gorgeous artwork, Vicious Sisters is one of the best story-driven horror titles I’ve played all year.