DISTRAINT 2 Review

Distraint 2 is a 2D psychological horror that picks up right after the end of the first. You are Price, a man who sold his soul for gains and is now tasked with restoring his hope and finding purpose in his life. The game looks just as gritty and unsettling as the first. One of the initial things I noticed was a few qualities of life changes. There were context menus as you walked past, something that you can interact with. The best change, however, is you now can run! That’s top-tier excellence right there.

But I also saw that you can Hide…from what, I don’t have the slightest idea…but I don’t like where this is going.

There are still puzzles in Distraint 2 and the difficulty of them is roughly the same as the first game. Just difficult enough for you to think about, but not to frustrate yourself over. Distraint 2 still instills dread and has its moments where you hesitate to do anything for fear of what it could trigger.

Distraint 2 also added save points represented as green orbs. Some doors now have symbols painted on them that represent what’s behind them. Like a green swirl where you know you can save once you enter that door. So you never really lose track of where things are or where some doors may lead. There is still some backtracking involved, but it’s not cumbersome and is actually quite linear.

The game features a lot more disturbing and unsettling imagery than the first game. It has definitely stepped up the disorientation, and the sound effects are much better this time around. Distraint’s ending was ambiguous in that it was assumed Price had committed the unforgivable sin of suicide. However, at the start of Distraint 2, you are in the room in the first game’s final moments. As the game progresses, you’re introduced to Price’s inner demons that guide his life: Reason, Greed, Ambition, Agony, Loss, Inspiration, Love, Comfort, Forgiveness, Fear, and the one that ties everyone together: Hope.

I applaud how seamlessly Distraint 2 ties up the loose ends and answers the lingering questions remaining from Distraint. However, in order to fully understand the emotions and inner conflicts of Distraint 2, you would’ve had to play the first.

Distraint 2 paints a grim picture of the human psyche, of what it feels like to lose hope, to feel worthless or lack forgiveness. Price is still grieving, and he cannot cope with the loss of his parents. The game forces Price to face his demons and either conquer them or be consumed by them. Distraint 2 is a game about Price’s self-redemption in order to absolve himself of the sin of Greed. Even though he’s already been forgiven by the catalyst of this whole ordeal, Mrs. Goodwin, he feels it’s misplaced. This is compounded by how he has refused to properly grieve for his parents, rendering him unable to appropriately cope with their loss.

The developer, Jesse Makkonen, does an amazing job capturing the human condition. This game certainly made me question my own existence and purpose in life. I highly recommend you play Distraint and Distraint 2. This game clocks in at a little over an hour, but that’s all it takes to journey through the harrowing depths of the darkness within one’s self.

And with this, I leave you all with a quote from the in-game entity known to Price as Reason: “You are making progress. You can only restore yourself little by little. You need to wholly understand things. Because simply knowing something doesn’t mean you understand it fully. And some things you can only grasp by finding yourself. By finding hope.”

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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Distraint 2 Review
  • Gameplay - 9/10
    9/10
  • Graphics - 8/10
    8/10
  • Sound - 9/10
    9/10
  • Replay Value - 6/10
    6/10
Overall
8/10

Summary

A 2D psychological horror that paints a grim picture of the human psyche, of what it feels like to lose hope, to feel worthless or lack forgiveness.

Pros

  • Excellent sound and visual design.
  • Creepy, unsettling imagery.
  • Great storytelling about sensitive subjects.

Cons

  • Some elements are too dark to see properly.
  • The theme might not be for everyone.