is one of those so-bad-itís-good games. I really spent so much time laughing at this game, I canít be mad. But still, DYING
is (as far as I can tell) selling a serious, functional game here, so itís best to go in with open eyes.
DYING: Reborn is a puzzle game with a touch of survival horror. I say only a touch, because why else would someone keep throwing away useful survival tools like screwdrivers and knives? Matthew, come on man. Okay, letís fully describe DYING: Reborn as a puzzle survival horror game with single use items. Thereís no combat, only puzzles, so that might take off some of the horror edge for most folks. The rest of the edge will be taken off by the really meaningless jump scares like the nth mannequin falling from the ceiling, corner, or wherever else. Thereís a difference between, "Oh sh**, what hell was that noise?" and, "Ok, I donít understand in what world this makes sense."
In the opening of DYING: Reborn, you wake up in a hotel room. There are weird mannequins in a cage above the ceiling. The room is broken down and fitted with a camera, and the door and windows are covered in bars, preventing your escape. You play as Matthew, a character who - and this is my best distillation of whatever the hell is happening in this game - is searching for a woman named Shirley while a guy in a fish head keeps locking him in different rooms in the hotel. Something that will become apparent as you progress through the descriptions and other text in the game is that English is not the native language for the developers.
Poor translations might be responsible for some of the funnier quotes in the game such as "Great here is a door." This is not even the main problem with the dialogue and text, however. One of the bigger problems is inconsistency. For example, Matthew sees a briefcase and is pretty sure it belonged to an elegant lady. Believe me when I say there was nothing about the briefcase to back that up. Then later, he looks at an identical briefcase and feels he could not identify the owner? Then there's multiple times he'll say "I can't recognize anything" in a photo, but the photos will clearly show something like a violin or just a hand. When we can't even establish a basic, credible world, it's hard to connect with or care about it. Words just donít mean anything, so why bother caring about what you read or hear in the game?
Oh and this fits in nowhere, but one of my favorite lines in this game is, "This sofaís design is very strange, as if a ghost with only one leg has been sitting down." I cannot emphasize enough how bat crap crazy this statement is. I mean it was a regular couch and what does that even mean?
Thereís a feeling about this game I havenít been able to shake, itís so much like one of those live action puzzle rooms that are popular now. You know, the ones where a group of people are locked in a room and they have to find clues around the room in order to get out. The style of the puzzles and the way the game is set up in single rooms is so much like one of those experiences. And this is not to knock puzzle room experiences, but the disconnected feel of the puzzles also rings true in DYING: Reborn. I mean, one minute weíre counting numbers for alphabet letters, another minute weíre doing calculator math (I realize some folks are completely capable of doing this in their head, but I have short term memory issues that make this a pretty big challenge for me) to figure out a code. And itís all codes - just codes, codes, codes. You need a code for the safe, you need a code for the briefcase, you need a code for everything (another thing that is familiar to live puzzle rooms, which rely a lot on physical padlocks and other code-based locks). Sure, youíll occasionally combine an item with another one, but this is only to reveal another code.
One interesting, and perhaps positive aspect to this game is what Iíll call the side puzzles. There is a set of puzzles that can only be solved with items from the previous sectionís puzzles. These are optional; you can get through the sections without these items, but itís something that makes replaying the game somewhat worthwhile.