A brand-new psychological thriller game directed by Elijah Wood? Sounds like a great idea! Find out if that’s really the case in our Transference Review!
|Release Date||September 18, 2018|
|ESRB Rating||Everyone 10+|
*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by Ubisoft for review purposes*
We’re at an interesting moment in time in gaming where we have regular video games, VR games, and games that are both. Transference, a new psychological thriller from Elijah Wood’s SpectreVision in collaboration with Ubisoft, is one of those games that walks both lines in which the player investigates the family of a scientist who has gone missing. I played the game in non-VR on the Xbox One and the game was still able to maintain the atmosphere and effectiveness that it was going for.
The game starts with a quick introduction video of a man named Raymond Hayes talking about how he wants to successfully transfer human consciousness into the digital world. After performing some experiments and believing he has found the key ingredient for this transfer, we learn that he intends to relocate his family to this new afterlife. It’s a weird premise that sets the tone for the rest of the game. Players play the role of someone who is investigating the disappearance of the Hayes family.
The entire game centers on a small apartment building where the family lived. As players enter the building, they begin to discover more about each member of the Hayes Family which consists of Raymond, his wife, and their son. What I enjoyed about this game was that there was quite a bit of backstory to each character. Each one faced different struggles and you understood more about this story as you learned more about them. I won’t go into too much of the story because it would take away from the experience.
Players will explore the game from a first-person perspective and the game relies on a lot of different visual effects to keep the tension high, most often using distorted imagery. The building that you explore has a ton of detail and lost of things to distract you from what you’re actually trying to accomplish. The sound design is equally as good with a very eerie soundtrack with constant shrieks of a violin and the piano. If that’s not enough to creep you out, there are plenty of odd sounds that like doors slamming, creaking floorboards, and even voices that haunt the apartment that will keep you on edge. Transference can’t really be classified as a horror game, but it does have some of those elements.
The truly interesting aspect of Transference is that, although the entire game largely takes place inside an apartment, the setting can be altered into many different perspectives. You can see the apartment from your own perspective and each of the other members of the family by flipping light switches. The layout of the apartment always remains the same, but it but, the contents change as does that atmosphere and hue of the room. You never know what you’re going to get when you flip that switch. Even the accessible parts of the apartment can change and opening one door might lead to something completely different than the last time you opened it. You have to expect the unexpected.
There are various items scattered all around the apartment that you can pick up and, admittedly, most of these objects don’t advance the game in any way. Some of these items give you some clues to the story and add details of the family’s life by telling you the thoughts the family member had about the item so it’s important to explore as much as possible. If you miss an item that you need to solve a puzzle, you could be walking around aimlessly for a long time trying to figure out what you’re missing. Fortunately, the game isn’t punishingly difficult and the answers to most puzzles are nearby. During one memorable puzzle, some of the letters were found as magnets on the refrigerator door.
Being a primarily VR game, this isn’t an incredibly long experience. The game can be completed in less than an hour if you really rush your way through it. Even if you go through everything, you probably won’t spend more than 3 or 4 hours with it. If you do want to spend the extra time playing the game, you can seek out the various collectibles in the game in the form of CDs, USB sticks, and VHS tapes which unlock live-action videos in the menu. The thing that annoyed me about these live-action videos is that you won’t see them unless you collect them and the story could have really benefitted if these were seen by every player, not just the dedicated ones. It feels like a missed opportunity to let the story flow organically.
|Amazing audio||Short experience|
|Interesting story||Video logs locked away as collectibles|