Transference is a VR Experience that I've been anticipating ever since I first encountered it back in December 2017:
I dedicated today to going through Transference, start-to-finish, in one-sitting. This is a 2-hour experience that attempts to capture fear derived from Anxiety and Madness (as opposed to straight PeePee Pants City "jump scares"). There is a real story here with real actors. The theme is professionally done in every regard:
- Unique Visuals
- Exceptional Audio
- Quality VR Implementation
- Full 360 immersion
- Optimal use of "hand presence"
Many times I was afraid to open doors or look behind me. The game creates a sense of anticipation and dread at varying intervals that blend extremely well with the overall purpose of the Experience. The Player can expect to go back-n-forth between a VR Metaverse and Reality as you will often encounter recorded media depicting real people (not animated avatars). And this is executed in creative ways throughout the game:
You can also watch the Video Logs you collect in a "void theatre" that is reminiscent of the first Dead Secret title for the Rift.
I found myself comparing Transference to films starring Keanu Reeves. Not just the Matrix movies either... but also A Scanner Darkly. When you are not looking at true real life scenes, you are engulfed in a world that is very much Adult Animation:
Color scheming is also taken full advantage of throughout this Experience, to help create strong atmosphere and heighten feelings of anxiety:
Aside from the fantastic visual elements, the game-world has a strong sense of being in The Matrix. Rooms load like "constructs" (something anyone with Rift Core 2.0 has experienced plenty), and there are tons of "glitches" that add an impressive uniqueness to the immersion.
Transitions from one world or metaverse to another happens through this "construct loading" process.
You begin in total darkness with the world slowly loading to completion:
The puzzle elements tend to be quite technical as well. With "missing file" annotations appearing every so often. It actually tricked me at first, as I thought that my Oculus software was generating an error lol
But the game takes place inside a Virtual World (it is part of the plot and theme), so technology plays a crucial row. You can expect to be on the lookout for various "glitches" in the construct. In fact, in the very beginning of the game I was walking up a staircase and felt like Neo when he first saw that Black Cat...
(the game world is dark; I brightened the below screenshot which lessens the quality)
The Puzzles are unique and well-crafted. You will often need to travel between 2 different metaverses to complete a puzzle. My favorite thing about this is that one metaverse has the "horror" element, while the other has the "madness" element.
There are several Jump Scares throughout the game, but it does not rely on them. I actually found these Jump Scares to be my absolute favorite of all the Jump Scares I have ever encountered from the multiple horror experiences I've gone through since 2016 (Affected, Elevator Ritual, Emily Wants to Play, etc).
Your main enemy is some sort of Shadow Creature, and for most of the game I found myself wanting to avoid encounters with it. However, by the ending sequences the story and overall gameplay becomes so intriguing that I started to intentionally seek out the Shadow Creature head-on. Silly as that may sound, it's the first time I've been that involved with a villain in a VR Experience. I wanted that final showdown!
Overall, I can easily give this game 5 out of 5 stars.
Yes it could be longer. Yes it could be cheaper. Yes the puzzles could be more challenging. But this is such a complete package that has no inherent flaws. It set out to portray horror, madness, and anxiety with a strong sense of sophistication; and it does that very well.
I'm looking forward to a second playthrough asap.
For anyone who purchases this Title, I highly recommend going through it in one-sitting. Doing so really does allow you to capture the full depth of anxiety, fear, and madness.