Remothered: Broken Porcelain Review – A Beautiful Moth But Not Ready To Fly

There’s been a rocky start for the Remothered: Broken Porcelain launch earlier this month. I thoroughly enjoyed the original and was greatly looking forward to the sequel. So many questions left unanswered and so much improvement I’d seen in the gameplay previews led me to be really excited for this one. But I held off for a long while, because as you may have heard, it launched with a tremendous amount of bugs. With a new patch just about every other day, I wanted to believe it would be a much smoother experience. Unfortunately, I don’t think it quite reached what I was hoping for.

Remothered: Broken Porcelain has you playing as a girl named Jennifer. Expelled from her previous boarding school, Jennifer is sent to an even more unhealthy and abusive place to live: the Ashmann Inn, as an indentured maid against her will. She attempts and fails to escape with only her close friend, Linn. The game begins with her being reprimanded for an escape attempt. 

After a particularly exposition-filled walk to a guest’s room which she is to clean, and a bitter argument with her only friend Linn, she soon finds herself being hunted by the unwell staff. Coworkers ooze black bile from their eyes and become extremely violent. And to make already bad matters even worse, she is also being pursued by Broken Porcelain’s namesake; a colossal person clad in black rags with the horrific face of a porcelain doll. 

The story of Remothered: Broken Porcelain is actually its biggest redeeming feature. Although at times clunky, it exceeded my expectations in tying together the events of Remothered: Tormented Fathers with this one. And although it leaned slightly towards the supernatural—I’d enjoyed that the first game was so grounded in reality—with the mysterious moths, I can absolutely overlook it for the narrative of this one. Creating a compelling story in a horror game is not something easily done, but Remothered: Broken Porcelain pulls it off. As for the rest, well. Could have gone better.

Remothered: Broken Porcelain is more or less a stealth game. The gameplay cycle has you put in an environment with various “stalkers.” These stalkers will, obviously, stalk. They are tough to hide from and they cannot be killed, no matter how many times you stick them in the pecs with a pair of scissors during the escape QTE. In the previous title, your options were to hide or to run. In Broken Porcelain, there are a few more options.

Running away is actually a bit better in Remothered: Broken Porcelain. Jennifer is a child, and can slip through vents or hide in smaller places. But when that doesn’t work, she also has the ability to MacGyver a smoke bomb out of some household ingredients. And if you’re feeling really brave, you can sneak up on the stalker and stab them, disabling them for a bit. And of course, you have the addition of the moth power. Jen can enter the mind of a moth and fly around for a few moments.

You might think these extra gameplay features would improve the experience. Unfortunately, that’s not generally the case. Remothered: Broken Porcelain doesn’t seem to have enough time to fully explore all these new objects. There are only a handful of crafting items, so creating things are few and far between. They’re also in drawers that take about four seconds to open each. Far too slow and awkward to use. I ended up just ignoring them or simply hurling the base components at the enemies. 

The stealth aspects of Remothered: Broken Porcelain are still pretty busted. There were times where hiding seemed ineffective, as well as instances where noise didn’t attract the stalker. It’s difficult to tell whether or not you’ll be seen by an enemy while hiding, and the result is that the main strategy boils down to sprinting into the other room and hoping you can hide in a wardrobe before the stalker gets there. With so many stealth elements, I would have hoped it would be better than the first game. Instead it’s a bit of a downgrade.

And finally, the moth power. This was certainly a focus in pre-release coverage. In practice, Remothered: Broken Porcelain doesn’t actually utilize it well at all. You don’t get the power until probably halfway through the game, and for a four or five hour game, that’s not much time left. The moth power itself is not all too helpful anyways since it’s hard to control and only lasts around 15 seconds. It’s a cool idea, but not well executed.

Further baffling are the “moth keys” you find throughout the game. I didn’t even realize they were for upgrading stats  because the single place to actually use those moth keys did not happen until the latter half. It hardly makes sense upgrading your stealth or health when you’ve already gotten used to playing with the stats you have in a game with a fairly low difficulty curve. If added earlier I could see it being more useful, though even then there wouldn’t be a whole lot of people playing Remothered: Broken Porcelain for the metagame Jen builds.

It’s pretty clear that Remothered: Broken Porcelain was an extremely ambitious project, and I respect the devs for that. But it’s also painfully clear where the difficulties began. I tried to avoid my review being influenced by the bugs, choosing instead to focus on what the game would play as after they were fixed. But even then, it’s still not ideal. The gameplay in Remothered: Tormented Fathers was certainly not its greatest aspect. It was clunky and awkward. But in spite of that, it didn’t make me frustrated, just added to the stress of the situation. Remothered: Broken Porcelain is a lot harder to overlook. I really wanted to love this game, and narrative-wise, I do. But it’s best to wait to pick it up until it’s in a more polished state. 

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