Long before FromSoftware burst into the public consciousness with its Souls titles, it already had a large body of work to its name dating back decades. But after finding mainstream success with the likes of Bloodborne, its newest title Déraciné offers a glimpse to the past. And while this PlayStation VR foray is unlike anything it's released recently, the connective tissue still remains.
Déraciné is first and foremost a walking simulator – and yes, we can see some of you rolling your eyes already, but stick with us, as this is one of the good ones. You play as a faerie, a sort of ethereal spirit who has come to visit a school frozen in time – except when you interact in specific ways – set in a decidedly European forest.
Right out of the gate, while there’s no combat, the trappings of a FromSoftware title are instantly recognisable: an intriguingly engaging gloominess, Victorian and Gothic influences, and a difficult-to-pinpoint but ever-present sense of dread lurking around the next corner. Using abilities you unlock along the way, you hop around the timeline of the academy, befriending and attempting to aid the children who call this place home.
As the title is a walking simulator, it’s integral to the experience that the cast on display be good, and thankfully, this is very much the case. Quality voice work lends sincerity to all the characters as you indirectly interact, and even avail yourself to their innermost thoughts. The sense of camaraderie and genuine affection that you build for the handful of children – as well as the headmaster who oversees them – helps to make the story impactful and engaging. While the story isn’t necessarily straightforward – this is a FromSoftware title after all – the clues are there if you dig deep enough. Frankly the cast is charming enough that just engaging with them and seeing the way they react to one another is worth it – this is one of the platform’s best narrative experiences.
The game chose a perfect time to release as well, as the entire experience just feels autumnal, with most of the game occurring in and around October. It really helps give the school a character all its own, which is definitely aided by the presentation. The game is visually divine, and this is one of the most convincingly realised environments we’ve seen in VR to date: textures are crisp, the environments feel appropriately large – there is a cathedral that is particularly gorgeous – and everything feels lovingly implemented. The navigation aids this, as it uses teleportation along set trajectories, which has allowed the developer to focus on the details close to you at any given point.
Most importantly, the narrative has a few twists and turns that pop up across the title’s five or so hours. This is largely where the darker elements of the game rear their head, and it also may be why so many are speculating about the title hinting at a follow-up to PS4 darling Bloodborne. While it seems more likely to be a collection of Easter eggs paying homage to a much-beloved title, it’s unlikely but not impossible that there really is something deeper at play here in regards to Bloodborne.
Much like Bloodborne – and all the Souls titles really – the music in Déraciné is magnificent, with a particular standout being a diegetic concert recital, that for reasons we can’t quite figure out filled us with such a melancholic happiness that it shocked us with just how much it moved us. It was a truly lovely moment in an already delightful experience.
Who or what the titular Déraciné may be is unclear, but don’t let that dissuade you from walking through this wonderful title. A charming cast of characters pair with an incredible environment to explore, while the stirring soundtrack helps to elevate an already good title. Throw in the great narrative, in and of itself a rarity in VR at this point, and you have one of the best titles available thus far for Sony’s headset.
This really sounds like something I'd very much enjoy. I'm kinda pleased I don't really know anything about it narratively, as when I play this I think it's going to be a surprise.
Thanks for the review!
Fromsoftware with love, nice line.
Wow. Pretty divisive title it seems.
I’ll play it when I get the chance, but seems like something I’d enjoy.
More importantly though...the Bloodborne 2(?) teases 👀.
Sounds like a game I'd enjoy. Definitely on my radar. Unfortunately with the amount of quality games recently plus family and work commitments I'm not gonna get round to this anytime soon. I'm yet to even pick up Astrobot which I can't wait to play.
@Dange Time is the biggest issue in gaming these days. There’s no shortage of great content, just not enough time to enjoy it all.
I just bought Firewall and Astrobot. Now with Saber Beat, Tetris Effect and this? And that's only the VR offerings.
@get2sammyb money pops up it's cheeky little head and says hello.
@hi_drnick I forgot people actually had to buy games. 🤣
Ok, sounds better than expected. Unfortunately I don't have VR. I'm mostly worried that my launch version hardware can't handle it or delivers a lacking experience.
@ToniK I did play it on the PS4 Pro for what it's worth. And the game is listed as having Pro enhancements, so it's certainly possible it will at least look less good.
I'm torn on this. It's FromSoftware! and VR!
But it's a walking simulator. Aaaah, hmmm.
I love VR and Walking Sims. Going on the Christmas list.
@get2sammyb I think the user "47hatnmx" should be déraciné from this site...
Reminds of this PS2 gem:
Just the 17 years ago!!!!!
@andreoni79 Report it, the more people that do this with these posts the more it gets the attention to our overlords.
Woah! An 8. Really? You guys arent that much into VR, are you?! I mean, to each their own but this title is not even close to what VR is made for and would even make a very crude, restricting and old fashioned way(in terms of try and error without a logical process of what is supposed to work out) of experiencing a story in 2D. Let me tell you, those are the worst pennies spend on a PSVR title - and I have plenty...
Always funny to hear people complain that there are no games on the PS4. 😁
It sounds right up my street.
@Furtin You... Didn’t like it then? I don’t fully understand your comment.
@get2sammyb its not even close to a walking simulator, when you are in a beautiful environment but sadly are restricted to hop to interaction nodes. Not immersive. The puzzles arent logical at all, they are like those try and error principles from the 90s (is this supposed to go there or should I take the item to a person or what is this item supposed to do in the first place...). I‘m totally open to new experiences and Transpose or Transference are great examples for logic puzzles or immersive walking simulators, imho.
And I totally salute From Software to take a first step into the world of VR but the clunkyness, the try+error puzzles and the restricted movement makes it very unimmersive for me. And we havent even talked about the top immersion breaker aka loading screens! 🙄
@Furtin I guess it sounds like Graham really enjoyed the story and the world, which appear to be the highlights here.
@get2sammyb Yes, but when its told so frustrating, unimmersive and unnerving through those „puzzles“, I for one can hardly talk about one of the best PSVR experiences.
If you strip the story from its gameplay mechanics, it might actually be good. But as I said: to each its own. So I just looked up the metacritics, to see if I‘m way off with my feelings but it seems its rather a „love or hate“ kind of experience, so there is that...
@Furtin Definitely split opinion looking at the reviews.
@b1ackjack_ps Not at the moment, but definitely possible down the road. Quite a few VR titles have added non-VR modes post-launch!
@LieutenantFatman It's a reallllly good walking simulator though! Those are harder to come by!
@Furtin There's at least a few of us on staff who are wayyyy into VR. I've had it since day 1 and I adore it! I don't think it's necessarily our place to say what VR can and cannot be used for though. If a dev wants to try something that doesn't seem like a good fit at first glance, and they can make it work, then more power to them. A good example I can think of for that is OddBug's The Lost Bear. A sidescrolling platformer, but it's brilliant!
Yeah, this game seems to be massively polarizing though, can't disagree there haha. Very much seems to be love or hate.
@Furtin I loved it, though I'm not sure what you mean by trial-and-error puzzles? I didn't find the puzzles terribly complicated, and the pocket watch thing you have literally told you what to do if you if you were stuck. I didn't really find trial-and-error to be a factor in the game if I'm being honest. is there a particular puzzle you were thinking of in regards to that?
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