Transference caused quite a buzz when it was announced during E3 2017. It was Ubisoft’s first foray into the realm of VR, partnering up with Elijah Wood's development company, SpectreVision, and it hit all the right beats with a trailer that promised horror, intrigue, and immersion into a dark and mysterious world. But does it live up to that initial hype?
Plunged into the corrupted digital construct of a troubled scientist’s home, you roam around this foreboding house encountering puzzles that, when solved, open up other areas and give further insight into the mysterious narrative. It ticks all the boxes of what we’ve come to expect from horror orientated VR games - it has jump scares up the wazoo, a fear-inducing environment, and sinister sound composition, designed to put you on edge. It should certainly be praised for the incredibly detailed, if somewhat confined, world it creates.
However, ticking the boxes of a horror VR game is also where the game lets itself down. We remember watching the E3 2017 announcement trailer and being genuinely intrigued at what Ubisoft and SpectreVision said they were trying to achieve. Could this game, enhanced by the fact that it’s a VR title, truly blur the lines between reality and fiction? Is it really going to mess with our heads? Unfortunately, the answer turned out to be - ‘no’. The game doesn’t break any new ground. The puzzles start off interesting, but it soon turns into a ‘try every permutation of these clues’ exercise. The play length is also way too short, clocking in at around two hours.
Perhaps we believed the hype too much but, VR being a medium still in its infancy, who knows what it’s capable of should it be put in the hands of the right creative minds (anybody want to see a David Lynch VR project?). Overall, Transference is a competent entry into the ever-growing catalogue of VR horror titles. It just promised, or at least was marketed as being, so much more.
TITLE: TRANSFERENCE / DEVELOPER: SPECTREVISION, UBISOFT MONTREAL / PUBLISHER: UBISOFT / PLATFORM: PLAYSTATION VR [REVIEWED], OCULUS RIFT, HTC VIVE, PS4, XBOX ONE, PC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW [PS: VR]