Wraith: The Oblivion-Afterlife marks World of Darkness ‘ first journey into virtual reality, bringing a chilling horror world not to be missed.
For a group of horror-themed tabletop role-playing games, World of Darkness has recently given a serious push to gaming. Getting mixed success with recent “Vampire” adaptations: The Masquerade ” and ” Werewolf: The Apocalypse, this shared supernatural universe, is now venturing into the game” Wraith: The Oblivion “as well. The narrative-driven survival horror idea of Afterlife, developed by Fast Travel Games, represents a radical departure from the team’s previous efforts, such as Apex Construct and The Curious Tale Of The Stolen Pets, providing an absolutely spooky experience.
If you haven’t played the original, don’t be afraid, Afterlife is closely related to the source material, but doesn’t involve an introduction to World of Darkness, which makes it a good introduction. Instead of vampires and werewolves, Rafe starts with the recently deceased, as these new souls appear in the Deadlands, haunted by the shadows of those we once knew. Instead of a stamped Victorian estate, Afterlife uses a modern setting with the mansion of aging Hollywood actor Howard Barclay.
What’s it?: A first-person horror game set in the World of Darkness universe, in which you embody a ghostly Ghost.
Platforms: Quest and Rift (SteamVR May 25, PSVR later in 2021)
Release date: already out
Price: $ 29.99.
You’ll play as Ed Miller, a photographer summoned to the Barclay Mansion, tasked with photographing the session. Afterlife begins with Ed’s death, when he wakes up and discovers that he has become a ghost, having died during this session along with everyone else. With unfinished business in the realm of the living and no memory of how he died, Ed returns to investigate the ruined remains of the mansion. Watching the events of the past unfold before his eyes, only he can reveal the truth, and the sinister atmosphere of the afterlife will not take long to wait.
Now, this is not a game based on the fear of jumping to make you scream. Afterlife is smart, taking a psychological approach that admittedly lacks these serious fears at times, but the Barclay Mansion is a deeply unpleasant setting. The moldy walls are plastered with old movie posters, terrifying visions that will appeal to anyone who will listen. To make matters worse, we are not alone, and upon his return, Ed is met by his Shadow, a manifestation of his more self-destructive tendencies.
Our Shadow also tells us how to use our supernatural abilities. As a Ghost, Ed can use Sharpened Senses, an intuitive system that indicates the direction of a target when hovering over it, as well as highlights important objects and nearby enemies. Soon enough, Ed can start walking through walls, manipulating objects, and finding equipment that will help his investigation. His old camera can quickly show past events. In a sense, Afterlife plays out like a Metroidvania, allowing you to explore but ultimately follow a set path.
Aside from the shadow, you’re not the only creature roaming these hectic halls, and this is where stealth comes into play. The Barclay Mansion contains several ghosts, terrifying spirits similar to your fellow seance members, filled with anger and revenge. They will attack you as soon as they see you, and with only a flashlight for protection, the best option is to slip past them. Ed’s” health ” as a ghost is measured through the Body, which determines your physical integrity. If it runs out — or if you get caught by a Ghost-the game is over.
There are several options for reducing nausea, allowing you to play sitting or standing. Your default movement option is free movement with smooth left-hand controller control, and you can also choose the “projected avatar” setting. The blurring of the view can also be used when moving forward, and you can choose how strong it should be.
As for the camera, it can move according to your body, the direction of your controller, or where your helmet is looking. Tethered rotation is available via the right-hand controller, and you can also activate a vignette to reduce nausea, along with setting how long your vision turns black when you rotate.
Between exploration, your Ghost abilities, and stealth mechanics, Afterlife combines a strong survival horror premise, proving unsettling while still keeping you engaged. In Quest 2, this is supported by a clear presentation with detailed textures and a great sound design to keep you on your toes. Of course, it’s not the most original approach — and Afterlife doesn’t hide its influences — but bringing it into the VR setting adds a new twist, albeit made more difficult by clunky item interactions.
Unfortunately, the slower gameplay will not appeal to all horror fans. The afterlife story is undoubtedly one of the strongest elements, but VR is arguably a poor fit for cinematic cutscenes, as Fast Travel Games has acknowledged. To counter this, these scenes are played out as part of standard gameplay, meaning Ed is left standing there for a few minutes. You don’t always feel involved, and Ed becomes more of an interactive viewer than an actual participant. This makes Afterlife a game of patience, rewarding those who have it.
Thrilling with its intriguing story, Afterlife is a strong VR debut for the World of Darkness universe. Offering a precise adaptation that will appeal to fans of Wraith: The Oblivion, and a good introduction to newcomers, it doesn’t rely on cheap jump insurance, creating an unsettling atmosphere that plays well to VR’s strengths. Unfortunately, the slower gameplay of Afterlife is not suitable for everyone, but for fans of survival horror, the game is recommended for passing.