Published on May 29th, 2021 | by Chris O'Connor
Wraith : The Oblivion – Afterlife VR Review Quest 2
Summary: Agatha Christie was never this scary... then again, I never experienced her in VR.
Why do I keep letting myself play horror games in VR? For those who do love horror games, if you haven’t grabbed a VR headset yet… you really need to as it must be the most intense way to experience horror games. The immersion (when done well) is just impossible to compete with on flat screen games.
But I digress. Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife is indeed a horror game but it is is also quite full of story and that story begins with you, photographer Ed Miller, dead. You wake up in a barren rocky land and whilst learning the ropes of how to move and interact with the game world, you also start to get an idea of who you are and what is going on. But the full extent of what you’ve been through is going to unfold as you make your way through the game (and is arguably one of the most compelling parts of the game, the story). Oh that’s right… that’s why I let myself play a VR horror game again, this game takes place in the same world as Vampire the Masquerade which I love (also of Werewolf: The Apocalypse but I’m not familiar with that title). At the end of this path you find a mansion and in a possible tip of the hat to Agatha Christie, upon entering the mansion you are introduced to a number of characters and the feeling that the real murder mystery detective work is about to begin.
From this point your main gameplay begins and it’s essentially a task based “find this” “bring this to there” type job. Whilst this sounds simple enough, it is made more challenging by the spectres that also inhabit the Barclay mansion that you are exploring and they will send you to Oblivion if you don’t avoid them. This element of the game will feel very familiar to anyone who has played Alien Isolation, hide and be as quiet as possible. You have very few tools to protect you from the spectres (most notably throwing something to send them off after the noise it makes or using your flash to blind them). Though there is a sprint button… it feels more like you are moving through some chocolate syrup… you’re not slow… but you are certainly not sprinting by any reasonable means. This is slightly problematic given that most of the game requires you to make your way from one part of the mansion and back again… travel is the main thing you will be doing and it can get tedious covering the same ground over and over again.
The tasks throughout the game are pretty straight forward, if you find yourself faced with a locked door, either you aren’t meant to go in there just yet, or the key is nearby (or sheet of paper with the keycode). I appreciate that simplicity, some might think of it as making it somewhat “on rails” in that the game does guide you pretty clearly for most of the tasks… but I feel it just stops you doing a lot of pointless wandering. To make your tasks even more straight forward, you can activate your ability to “sense” important things in the world via your glowing veins/tattoos. It’s kind of a cool way to play the hotter/colder game and fits into the aesthetic of the game quite neatly, just what you want from a mild “hint” system.
Ultimately this is a horror game that I almost don’t mind playing… that is to say there are certainly horror elements (it’s not fun trying to escape a spectre), but there’s also a compelling story and a quite well set out world to explore. There are enough moments of exploration without direct terror to give you a chance to breathe… but then you are subjected to nightmare material again.
If you like horror games then this is definitely worth a look.