Amongst all the other virtual reality experiences out there, one of the best is a horror game called, “Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife”. This game combines a first-person immersive experience with a third-person action/adventure game, sort of like Mirror’s Edge meets Resident Evil meets Tomb Raider, with a dash of Mirror’s Edge 2.
We all know that VR is an exciting new concept, but just how exciting is it? How many people are actually interested in VR? How many people actually own one? And, most importantly, how many people actually play VR games? Well, it turns out the answers to these questions are less than you’d think.
A new VR game has made its way onto the Oculus Store, and it’s called ‘Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife’. Taking place in a virtual world where you are trapped in a school of monsters, you must find a way to escape.
Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife is a single-player horror adventure based in the legendary ‘World of Darkness’ world. You don’t have to be a fan of Masquerade to visit the game’s vast house, avoid wailing ghosts, and uncover a fascinating narrative focused on a cabal of Hollywood types who are sufficiently scary right from the start. It’s a bit rough around the edges at times, but it mostly delivers on its promise of frights, intrigue, and lots of hiding à la Alien: Isolation.
You’re a photojournalist called Ed Miller, and after a séance gone wrong, you’ve been tethered to the spot where you died. Beyond that, you have no clue what occurred, but your evil alter ego has some ideas as he leads you on a road of discovery, peril, and perhaps redemption.
You’re remarkably physical for a ghost, at least at first, until you learn to walk through barriers. You don’t realize it straight away, so your only real power is to force-grab tiny objects and either stash them in your floating inventory (there’s no holster system) or throw them to distract opponents from your current position. I wouldn’t call hiding in a closet a superpower, but it was something I excelled at.
The majority of the game’s efforts to encourage you to explore the home are focused on fetch quests. I’d call it a negative if it weren’t for the fact that the narrative goes fast enough and the ghosts are scary enough to make it less of a problem for me.
Enemies are always quicker than you and are sensitive to the sound of your footsteps, so if you can throw a bottle across the room to attract their attention, you have some freedom. Although there are a few opponent types, they don’t differ much in terms of physical size. You can’t kill them, but your sole true weapon, a camera flash that can be used as a spotlight as well as a means to temporarily blind evil guys, can distract and confuse them all. When I’m in’sprint mode,’ I want I could go faster, but then opponents would be insanely quick to compensate, and that wouldn’t be enjoyable.
To use the camera flash, you’ll need ‘Pathos,’ which you may either find throughout the game as discovered photos or replenish at save locations after they’re enabled. You may use the camera flash to illuminate your path, but you may need a burst of its energy at a crucial time, so I was generally content to stumble about in the dark if it meant I was out of battery. It’s a terrifying feeling to be without a camera battery when you’ve just been told not to make any abrupt movements or you’ll be beaten to death by a wailing banshee.
Because fetch quests make up the majority of the game, there’s also a helper mechanism to get you from point A to point B. On your approach to the next goal, a bright yellow energy in your arms informs you if you’re hot or cold, which seems less cheap than having a magical path created for you. It’s ideal if you’re simply hanging out since you have to physically toggle it.
When it comes to the bad guys, opponents don’t appear at random, which provides some respite from the chaos and allows you to concentrate on the narrative and explore the opulent mansion. You’ll usually get a warning, either from your evil alter ego or through a visual signal, such as approaching darkness, that warns you that danger is on the way.
This reduces the likelihood of jump scares, but it doesn’t rule out the possibility of your heart racing as a rotting, broken lady crawls on the ceiling, drops down, and mauls you to death (despite the fact that you’re already dead). I probably don’t need to mention anything, but there are a lot of murders and suicide portrayals in the game, so be prepared.
Death is aggravating for a variety of reasons, not all of which are apparent. Although the loading time between deaths is inconvenient, it is much less so than having to repeat sections because you failed to save at predetermined save locations.
I’d go out of my way to go back to a save point rather than having to perform several fetch quests in a succession since there wasn’t a handy one nearby. I hoped it had a more clever checkpoint system so that I could concentrate more on the goals and the story.
The plot is well-crafted, and the information is dispersed like breadcrumbs on a trail. Through notes discovered around the game, ghostly reenactments unlocked by utilizing your trusty camera, and voice overs from your not-so-friendly wraith buddy, you put together the story.
Low-level tension is almost continuous, and the game doesn’t lie when it says it’ll hit you in the stomach. All you have to do now is figure out what it will use to make you jump, run, and hide.
Despite my satisfaction with the game as a whole, I was dissatisfied with the conclusion. I like it when games offer me the tools to be smart, but the only emotions I had while playing Wraith were heart-pounding dread and an overpowering feeling of relief when it was finally finished.
It took me around six hours to accomplish from start to end. There are no difficulty levels, so finding Easter eggs and discovering each eerie tale reenactment is the only way to extend the gaming duration. It takes between six and eight hours to finish, according to Fast Travel Games.
In terms of immersion, my overall opinion of Wraith isn’t entirely bad. Despite my reservations about the game’s polish, all of the game’s moving parts function well.
The Quest version doesn’t have the greatest graphical quality I’ve seen in a native platform game, but it does create a sufficiently gloomy and dismal atmosphere to make it realistic to my reptilian brain, which simply wants to hide in one of the numerous closets strewn around the area. It would have been a more scary and realistic experience if it could handle dynamic lighting.
In terms of polish vs overall capacity to convey a tale, I would say the same thing about the storyline. I was never bored and never felt like I was being told something I didn’t need or want to know. Voice acting reminds me of a SyFy network made-for-TV movie, and written lines seem stiff and pulpy, but I was never bored and never felt like I was being told anything I didn’t need or want to know. I was able to stay up with the narrative since it had enough drive. Also, if you want a more immersive gaming experience, I recommend turning off the default subtitles.
In terms of visuals, the PC VR version provides a more realistic experience. When playing on Rift S or Quest 2 through Link, almost all textures seem to be crisper and more readable. Both versions of the game lack the more visually demanding effects we’ve seen in high-polish PC VR games like Asgard’s Wrath (2019) or Lone Echo (2019), indicating that the game was developed initially with Quest in mind (2017).
Enemies is a well-made and really frightening game, although it may be a little clumsy at times. They may be seen cutting slightly through walls and doors in a non-ghostly way on many occasions. My favorite immersion-breaker was when I attempted to keep a door shut so a particularly lanky ghost couldn’t reach me, which resulted in a delightfully janky fight of clashing items between the door and the long-boi ghosty.
My greatest pet peeve is that every swinging door in the home is a Norman Door, which means there is no obvious indication of how to open it since it seems similar from both sides. When you’re attempting to rush down a hallway and find yourself pulling a door when you should be pushing, or vice versa, this adds to the aggravation.
Wraith may be played sitting or standing, although standing gives you the most bang for your money in terms of range of motion and the opportunity to literally hide behind things. You may also utilize the fake crouch button to go around obstructions and conceal if you stay seated.
For virtually every player type, the game provides a wide range of comfort choices. Smooth head or controller movement is available, as well as a kind of teleportation in which you ‘drive’ your avatar in third-person and then snap to the new place. Smooth turning and variable snap-turn are also offered, with toggleable vignettes to enhance user comfort.
“Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife” puts you in the shoes of Corvo, one of the game’s protagonists, during the game’s intro sequence. Within the game, you liberate the Vigors throughout the game’s world, which are powerful supernatural abilities that can be used to help you. The game has four different endings, which are based on your actions throughout the game. You can view them by visiting the game’s menu, which will show you the names of the different endings. (I guess there can’t be a hidden ending because there are only four different endings.) However, the story of the game is not over.
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