This is a photo straight from my phone, it’s of my Playstation 4 dashboard. The background is a beautiful yellow sunset theme from the game “Firewatch”. On Sunday 9/25/16, I had no knowledge of any game called “Virginia”. Until I read a well-written review from the guys over at Godisageek.com, check them out, they’re legit and British (I think). Anyways after the long spoiler-free review I was hooked. “You mean there are more games like ‘Firewatch’? I’m in, ALL-IN!”, I thought. (side note: Firewatch is a first-person POV game where you play as Henry, a volunteer fire lookout in the Wyoming mountains. You talk through radio with another fire watcher named Delilah and you can pick and choose what you say to her. It’s very interactive and yet the controls are very basic.)
So I went into the the Playstation Store and purchased this bad boy for a solid $9.99. Because it was football Sunday, even though the Patriots played on Thursday night, I saved the game to play on Monday (today). After some brief research on the game, I had an idea of what it was going to be like (wrong). So here’s some background:
The main character is an African-American woman and a newly appointed FBI Special Agent named Anne Tarver . She is put onto a case in Kingdom, Virginia, to find a boy who disappeared recently. You’re also given the role as an IA or internal affairs officer who must investigate another female FBI Agent by the name of Maria Halperin. This game is a very unique experience mostly because there is no dialog and you as the player need to watch the character’s body language to understand the message each character is setting.
The animation on the characters in the game are simplistic yet intriguing. The scenery is beautiful and very colorful at times. The only controls consisted of the analogs to move and look around and X on PS4 to interact with things, so very basic and easy.
Warning Spoilers ahead…..
I have some issues with this game. It’s getting very high praise from the early reviews ranging from 8 and above out of 10. I’m not one to hate on games because 1) Some people enjoy games I don’t like while others hate on games I love 2) Everyone has an opinion and may feel different emotions while they experience a game. However, I will point out the flaws to each game and also the things I enjoyed the most.
That being said maybe this game was too complex for my tiny brain? There was A LOT of symbolism where you had to draw meaning to some of the objects like the little Red Cardinal, Maria’s necklace, the lipstick in the beginning and throughout that went over my head. Also because there wasn’t any dialog, I knew the names of the people from the information we found out but while playing I never thought to call a character by their name. It was mostly, “my partner (who I’m secretly investigating), The Priest, General, Random Dude, etc.”. I guess maybe that’s where the developers wanted to make it so you had the control of how you felt about the characters?
The ending was just a bunch of what-ifs leaving it open to interpretation. We never get a definitive answer of what happened. I thought this game was going to be an investigative-type game where at the end we find out what happened to the boy. The what-ifs shine a light on whether the boy just ran away because of his home environment. They also show the possibility of whether aliens abducted him (aliens are real just like ghosts and if you don’t think so your opinion STINKS, kidding ofc…about your opinion stinking not the aliens).
What I liked about the game was how it cut from scene to scene. I’ve never played a game that has done this before. The only negative of it is that it makes the player feel rushed and can’t explore the world, yet it moves the game along with flow. I liked the premise of the story just not so much the execution. I liked how the two main characters were female and African-American. It’s like the developers were making the game with including as much “never-have-done-before’s” as possible. It played like a movie but just felt off.
The cool thing about this game is that it was very unpredictable. At the gas station when the car pulls up next to your’s and the punk kid leans over and flips you off, was spectacular. There were moments I literally mouthed “wow” while others had me shaking my head in confusion.
I wasn’t completely satisfied after playing it for the first time. I’m going to re-play it at a later date and I’ll update this blog if I feel different about the game. The soundtrack was pretty good, Prettaaay, Prettaaay, Pretty Good (Larry David voice).
Rating: 6/10, subject to change on my replay.
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