So I am taking another dive into VR right now and blowing through a handful of games I snagged recently during the PSVR anniversary sale.
First on the roster is Transference.
I first saw a trailer for this in a stage demo last year during E3. Elijah Wood (of LOTR fame) was backing the project and involved in the development.
This game me a little hope that this game may be something different. With Big Hollywood involved in an indie game, maybe it would be something special.
Well sadly I am there to say, it was not special in any way shape or form.
It totally missed the mark for me.
I found it suffered from Indie game syndrome. Whereby someone who does not really know how to write a solid narrative sprinkle some interesting concepts around that never really gel and the story is not fleshed out unless you look under every rock or go online and try to figure out WTF you just played.
Now I will preface this with a warning. I am going to completely spoil this games story, so be wary.
This is Transference in a nutshell.
The game plays out with you in a presumably virtual world, having downloaded your “mind” into a computer, so you and your wife and child could live forever as a unit.
The concept is strong, but the game itself plays out in disjointed perspectives and family member “worlds”
It all takes place in your apartment in Boston I believe, and you roam around in a walking sim in the same apartment from 3 different “brain” dumps.
Now the main issue is, nothing makes sense front to back.
Your backstory and family interaction play out by finding old video tapes and cds that will show you a FMV video recording of certain events, from a birthday party, to you as a mad scientist.
This is all well and good, but none of it made any sense. You were a dysfunctional family, and you tried to get all of you together to live on forever in “VR” essentially.
None of it was explained.
Your kid was not dying, your wife was healthy and sane, so there was no reason I could find that would explain why they did this.
Coupled with the fact that you pretty much had to be put on ice, literally, to stop brain function long enough for a mental snapshot to be taken.
So you would have had to pretty much bring your family to the bring of death to brain dump them.
The game itself shows you pretty much ghosts of your wife and kid and how they are “trapped” in this VR world, your child being terrified as he cannot find his parents, and your wife crushed by depression because you have not showed up.
Your purpose I thought was to reunite all of you as a family.
But nope, after 2 hours of walking around, you find 4 crystals that do… something? And then the game ends and you get a final video of you talking to you.
No family reunion, no payoff, just Meh… then credits.
What a waste of 2 hours.
The best thing I can say about the story was at least it ended quickly.
Also in true VR style, they resort to a few non-sensical jump scare.
There is some 8 bit looking monster that will charge you if you go into the dark.
Why is it here? What is it? None of that is explained, just some ominous dark force that kills you if you stray from the path pretty much.
From a VR perspective I found it frustrating on a technical level as well.
The speed for smooth turning (my preferred method) was WAAAAY too fast, even at the slowest speed in the options menu, it was nausea inducing, and I have a strong VR stomach.
You would whip around faster than a turn in a FPS like Call of Duty. Totally jarring in VR, even with brain hacks.
Additionally I found that item placement was a pain in the ass at times. Where clickable item were too low for standing mode, and too high when crouched.
So when sitting you had to bend way forward to maybe get lucky enough to be able to click a drawer to open. Or if you crouched, the draw was face level, but you could not see the contents as you were too low.
All in all, this was a terrible game. And if this is what we can expect when actors get involved in games, then please guys, stay on the big screen and let the real game devs tackle VR stories.
A horrendous 1/10 and I do not recommend it to anyone under any circumstance.