Virginia (PlayStation 4) Review

By André Eriksson 22.09.2016 1

Review for Virginia on PlayStation 4

The videogame industry and movie industry are usually similar, yet far apart in certain aspects. Movies can use positioning of items and different camera angles to give a stronger effect, and the videogame medium allows the player to take control of their character to feel a greater connection. What would happen if these two were combined? As it happens, there is just that very mixture right here in the form of Virginia, and Cubed3 is about to reveal just how impress the combination is...

From the very start, one thing is very clear when playing Virginia, and that is that it's no ordinary videogame. There are now challenges or puzzles, or basically anything that gamers might be used to (save for in visual novels). Instead, this is more akin to an interactive movie where the key to reach those playing is dependent on the exact positioning of items, and Virginia does this in the most beautiful way possible. It works really hard on the camera angles, as well, to set an extremely surrealistic and dramatic mood, which can be felt throughout the entirety of the experience in a way that very few, if any, titles before it have succeeded in doing.

There is a very special art style that is very easy to dismiss as poor work, initially. It doesn't take long to realise, though, that this is meant to put the characters into the uncanny valley. The characters look just human enough to be seen as such while still keeping an ounce of creepy surrealism about them.

Screenshot for Virginia on PlayStation 4

This creepy surrealism is present throughout most sequences, with those in control following a new female F.B.I. agent who, in contrast, seems very ordinary and common, and is on a classified mission to expose one of her fellow agents. These segments are mixed with some extremely bizarre sections that range from funny to psychologically disturbing. To add to the feeling of confusion, the developer has chosen to not let the player hear any spoken words. This means that some large parts of the story are hidden.

This is sometimes used very skilfully to add to the uncanny mood Virginia aims for, but sometimes it becomes too off-putting and unclear. Depending on who is at the controls, it can be either a pleasure or an annoyance that they sometimes are really kept in the dark about what happens and that the difference between what is real or unreal is completely erased to the point of it being questionable if it is there at all.

Virginia is a very confusing game, which works both in its favour, yet also to its detriment. What solely works in its favour, though, is the extremely skilful placement of objects, camera angle, and very uncanny art-style. Few games succeed to this degree in capturing and delivering a mood as well as Virginia does during its strongest sequences. Thanks to the fact that the game is really short, even those annoyed by the confusion will get to those parts before losing patience with being trapped in the dark so that they can understand the beauty of the mystery at hand.

Screenshot for Virginia on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

While extremely confusing at times, Virginia manages to keep players glued to their screens thanks to the wonderful scenery and camera work, mixed with a wonderful story that is to some degree up to those at the helm to interpret. While to some it might be rather annoying to be trapped in silence, never getting a true grasp of what is happening, the pay-off of this style of storytelling allows the adventure to make up for that. Few games manage to capture the mood as well as this one, and some of the surrealistic segments are truly disturbing, making people question the line between reality and imagination, and even whether or not there is actually one to begin with. Virginia is a game that is easy to recommend to anyone who wants to experience something that is truly outside of the ordinary in the industry and truly flexes its creative muscles.

Developer

Variable State

Publisher

505 Games

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Been really interested in this, but playing the demo the other day of turned me off a bit. I wasn't too keen on how the game would keep jump-cutting to different scenes without any explanation. I assumed it was just random segments out of the full game (not to spoil any of the story) but found out the same sequence plays out exactly the same in the full game.

Never really got the point disjointed storytelling, same in films. Either way, I want to check it out still, but will probably pick it up sometime in the future.

( Edited 23.09.2016 22:15 by Marzy )

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