What if you had a child who became intertwined with evil and became trapped? What would you do? How far would you be willing to go to rescue them from it all? Would you go as far as to give your own life to save theirs? When it comes to the ones we love, we would do pretty much anything to save them even if that meant we must face the horrors in our own mind and even that around us to do it. But does publisher Winking Entertainment and developer Beijing Litchi Culture Media bring us more into the horror of the mansion? Let’s find out with Paper Dolls II for the PS4 and PS5.
Paper Dolls II is a first-person horror adventure game where a dark aura emanates from a Qing dynasty dwelling – the Yin Mansion. Trying to figure out what happened to the once-famous Yin Family, you will find clues that lead you to its second floor which is haunted by restless spirits. The truth that has been buried for a hundred years is waiting to be unraveled by you.
Back in 2018, I reviewed Paper Dolls on PlayStation VR, and at the time of the review, the controls were more than a little awkward with having to use each trigger button for movement. Luckily, this was updated with better controls allowing for an overall better experience. Prior to Paper Dolls II, the protagonist, Yang, traveled through time and was trapped in the deserted mansion in the late Qing Dynasty. Yang’s only hope is to find his daughter by tracing her footsteps on the second floor of the mansion in hopes to save her from the madness. So like in the Paper Dolls, I am not going to show the later parts of the game, in fact, I am only going to show the first parts as I want you to be able to experience the story and not be spoiled by any clues that are found or what may be waiting for you on this floor. So with that being said, let’s continue…
If you are just starting out with Paper Dolls II, I would highly recommend you start with the original Paper Dolls as it will help fill in the gaps and give you a much more appreciation of the story being told. As with the original Paper Dolls, Paper Dolls II adds to the puzzling challenges, but if you take time to read the clues that you find, you will have a lot easier time solving them. For example, one of the first puzzles has you going through doors and if you don’t pay attention to the clue, it will just be this endless loop of you going through the doors. So, while some of the puzzles can be challenging, I do appreciate being made to take my time in order to solve them.
The clues are throughout the house. You just need to look everywhere to find them. The clues could be parts of paper or even audio that you will need to listen to. Just a warning, don’t disturb the spirits or it may not be a good time. Luckily, there are places that you can hide if need be. And it’s this anticipation of what might be around the corner, just hearing your footsteps or getting to cut scenes where you have to push a button at the right time in order to try and survive is all part of the fun.
As you do progress through the eerie sounding turns and master your puzzle-solving skills, it’s when you do receive some much-needed firing assistance to help along with the horrors of the mansion that the action really starts to pick up and wish you had this help sooner. While playing I did notice that the pace is slow. Sure you can run some, but for the most part, you will be walking, and again, part of that is you are trying not to disrupt the spirits. So it’s more about the game not allowing you to rush, but making you take your time, gathering the clues, solving the puzzles, all while trying to hopefully survive as you are trying to find out what exactly is going on here.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. On the PS5, Paper Dolls II does look great. Seeing the amount of detail that went throughout my adventure made me appreciate how are the series has come. Even when you get to the part where there looks to be a feast on the table, seeing the lighting hit the food by candlelight is really impressive and even just the small things like the design of the couch to the material used on the table cloth. The sound is good as well. The dialog is not in English, but the words that come across as they are being said are and I think it just adds to the origin of the ethnicity of it all. And when you add the scary silence of what otherwise could be filled with sounds of horror, it’s this silence, other than your footsteps, that helps play into what will come next.
There is something that I hope to see get added and that is a PlayStation VR update. Playing the first Paper Dolls, we were treated to the horror of the game and we all know that when you mix horror and VR, not only is the horror intensified but the immersion gets intensified as well. In Paper Dolls II, the horror is there, but because we received the VR treatment from the first game, not having it here is a missed opportunity. Maybe an update will come out for PlayStation VR or maybe, there will be one for PlayStation VR 2 that when added with the power of the PS5, will truly give us the Paper Dolls 2 VR treatment we all need. I am not saying that Paper Dolls II cannot be enjoyed without VR, it can, but it could be so much more enjoyable in VR.
Paper Dolls II continues with the story and shows the love that a father has for their child. Sometimes in life, we are faced with a decision that will determine who we will become. Sometimes it can be fate while other times it may be antecedence. But it’s the two sides of the coin with love and hatred that will lean in ways that we could have never have thought possible, but it’s the redemption that we seek that can finally allow us to have the peace that we need.
Paper Dolls II is out now on the PlayStation Store. A Review code was provided. To learn more about Beijing Litchi Culture Media, please please visit their site and make sure you like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. To learn more about Winking Entertainment, please visit their site and make sure you like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I think I need to revisit everything from the beginning.