Transference is a new cinematic experience from Ubisoft which offers around one and half hours of psychological thriller theatrics. Without going into any details whatsoever due to potential spoilers, the game is a first person adventure. The game is playable in 2D or VR which is neat. We must mention right out of the gate the VR version is far superior to the 2D offering. For VR heads, it’s a must-play experience through all its crazy warping visuals and sound effects. Not that you can’t enjoy in 2D, it’s just simply not as involving.
Firstly though, let us address the main and perhaps only point of contention here. The game length is generally fine for a VR story. It’s possible to stretch the playtime beyond 1.5 hours if you inspect, and read every document or find all collectables. However, the price tag of around £20 is little high considering there isn’t much in the way of replay value. That said, the experience is worth sharing with others and is short enough for multiple people to have a go. Right, so that’s the negatives out of the way. Where the game shines is thrusting you into its multi-dimensional charms as a way of storytelling. Putting players at the center of the experience and allowing them to follow the clues to unlock the next part of the story. Sadly, for players who would like less hand-holding there are no options to tailor the game to suit. Therefore, it’s quite easy to work your way through the game, solve a few puzzles and look at various items to fill in the blanks. In VR you can pick up items with the motion controllers and give them the once over.
Audio and visual effects is where the game comes into its own. It looks great in VR especially and totally grabs your attention with its audio. This isn’t a horror experience though despite a few jump scares thrown in for good measure. It’s more about tension building and discovery which works well. The audio especially grabs and keeps hitting you with background sounds and things that go bump in the night. Well, not really but sounds which detract from what you are doing. They set the scene all the same and are often quite chilling if you pay attention.
So is Transference worth a punt then when all is said and done? There is no doubt a polished well produced game here , but lacking in expanded features. Certainly the mystery could offer improvement with less hand-holding (see Kojima’s P.T demo) for those who want it. There is no denying that this is a must play experience for VR players but is it worth the asking price? Kind of. It’s great that there is an option to play on a monitor or TV, but for those players they are really missing out. As a 2D game it lacks the charm and appeal. It also comes up short content wise especially against similar offerings (see Bloober team’s Observer). So if you have money to burn, then sure Transference is a cool game to play – like going to the movies. For 2D gamers, not entirely an essential purchase though. For Oculus Rift, Vive, PSVR players though, it’s worth checking out for sure.