Saturday, July 24, 2021

Paper Dolls 2

Review of Paper Dolls: Original (includes a walkthrough).

Paper Dolls 2 is a sequel to Paper Dolls: Original. It is a horror game from a Chinese studio named Litchi Game. Paper Dolls 2 is very similar to Paper Dolls: Original and I would suggest to play that game before playing this one.

The game starts where the first game ended, on a second floor of an old abandoned Yin mansion. Yang Mingyuan mysteriously appeared in the mansion after a car crash where he tried to find his daughter and his search continues in this game too.

You will explore the mansion at crawling speed while collecting clues, journal entries, and dialogues from the past. You will also need to solve puzzles to advance, unlock locked or sealed door and interact with spirits. The game introduced combat system. At the beginning you will have to hide or run away from the spirits but when you acquire weapons you will be able to defend and attack. Each spirit has several lives and thus needs to be shoot several times. The spirits have weak points when they attack, so if you shoot them at that time you will just need to shoot them twice. Otherwise you'll need to shoot 4 times. There are jars of wine scattered around which you can use to your advantage as they will explode and take down a spirit/paper doll nearby. There are boss battles in which you will have to take down one spirit several times before you will be able to seal it away. These can become frustrating depending on your skill at defending or attacking at a precise moment. The good thing is that you now have one additional life, so you can take one hit. There is a way to cure yourself, which may be needed during boss battles.

The game also has autosave feature but it's not that great. It will autosave before a major event but only once during the playthrough. The game won't save after that event so if you die right afterwards you have to start all over again.

The puzzles were a disappointment for me in this game. It may be because I got used to the style from the previous game and did not find most of the puzzles intriguing or fun. There was just one puzzle that I enjoyed (mirror room one). I solved half of the puzzles by trial and error and half by just following instructions. Most of the puzzle clues seemed irrelevant to me (if the talisman is confusing to you, all you need to do is set it to characters that are written on the seal).

The game is longer because the play area is larger (two floors). I was afraid it would have negative impact on the game but I found it well balanced. You won't need to be running around like crazy searching for something since what you need is most of the time close to the location where you need it. Later on, it won't be that way, but you will also know where to go with the item you received. It won't take you that long to reach the place. I'd still recommend saving the game close to the location you are going to visit next and memorizing the plan of the floors.

As for graphics and sound. I found both good. They are better than in the Paper Dolls: Original. The environments are more detailed and even more atmospheric. The sound is better, primarily due to the fact that you won't be going through door that often and because the voice acting is done in Chinese. I wouldn't say it's great but it keeps you immersed in the game. Music is great once again.

Verdict: The game has nice feel, graphics and sound. I'd enjoy just walking around the mansion in VR. The larger map may be upside or a downside, but I found it well done. Combat is something that frustrated me through majority of the game. I spent 3 hours running around the mansion and 9 hours in combat. Spirits have different behaviors but once you get them you shouldn't have much problems with them. The puzzles were disappointment as I did not need to use my brain (mostly used it for fights in which I terrible died because I'm incapable of controlling the protagonist). I wouldn't recommend the game to anyone, but if you enjoyed the first game you will most probably enjoy this one too (I didn't but still finished it for the story - the Yin family story concludes in Paper Dolls 2).

Note: There are cutscenes in the game and they can be skipped by pressing Escape and E.

Thank you for reading
Ren (stsungjp on Twitter)

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