Published on September 25th, 2016 | by Chris O'Connor
Virginia PC Game Review
Summary: The digital amalgamation of David Lynch, X-Files and a touch of old school Sierra Police Quest.
When I first grabbed Virginia (as I wrote that I realised it sounded quite wrong)… I was aware that some of the influences were David Lynch specifically Twin Peaks, The X-Files and The Outer Limits and I can honestly say they have done a great job of just that… wrapping all those influences up and presenting them in an intriguing package.
I think I was most impressed by the introduction… I don’t want to ruin it, it’s only really the first 5 or so minutes (depending on your own actions)… but you start looking at yourself in a mirror… looking unsure of yourself… you don some lippy and head down a hallway. You make your way into a room where people are heading up some stairs and then… not to sound too much like click bait, but… “What happened next left my mouth agape”. There’s a real chance you won’t be as “chuffed” as I was… but I just felt it was really clever how the game built to that moment… and the “reveal” was just right.
Of course after that moment is when your “trip” really begins! You play the role of a young FBI agent who, with your partner, are tasked with uncovering the mystery surrounding the disappearance of a young boy. In true Lynchian style symbology and metaphors are par for the course… most notably in one scene involving an unscheduled stop whilst driving.
The interaction is reasonably minimal but the way it is implemented helps to gently guide you along the story so you never really feel lost or stuck in an area… which is not to say you can’t overlook clues or pieces of the overall puzzle. The art style really stands out too… it took me a little while to get a grasp on what it reminded me of until I finally realised it… it’s very much like animated pencil images… or at least some of the scenes are (specifically some of the lovely forested vistas with their gentle movement as you are driven to your next location). Other scenes have a simplistic Amiibo look to them. The mix of simplistic and more artistic images just helps you become more absorbed in the strange world that opens before you.
The soundscape is quite well implemented also… there is no dialogue but that really only adds to the dreamlike nature of the whole game and the score is indeed a wonderful thing to behold. Full credit to Lyndon Holland for creating a soundtrack so befitting a mystical, ethereal experience.
In the end I’m not entirely sure I can call Virginia a game… I mean it has game elements in the point and click interface style and moving about in the game world… but it’s more of an interactive story… not only that but it’s an interactive story that is ripe for interpretation. What one gamer might make of the events that take place another might make something totally different and that in itself is a wonderful thing.
Virginia shows what can happen when people with a passion for games, story telling and perhaps a touch of avant garde get together and let their collective subconscious flow. It is not too out of place to say this is an art house game… perhaps the more populist thing to call it would be an intellectual game… the important thing to know is that it has the capacity to make you think and feel and any game that can do that is certainly a worthy title to add to your collection. Virginia helps solidify the notion that games can be art!