There’s a real craft that goes into the best of PSVR’s horror experiences, and Wraith: The Oblivion - Afterlife is masterfully executed. You play as a photographer — well, more accurately, the spirit of one — trying to solve your own murder as well as escape from an estate you seem to find yourself trapped in. But be warned: you’re not alone in this manor.
The gameplay consists largely of stealth and item puzzles, though there are light combat elements, as well as the option to wield some supernatural abilities. And barring one notable exception, such finicky door and item interactions, all of these gameplay components are tip-top.
Still, the malevolent spirits you'll encounter are absolutely horrific to behold, with grotesque injuries, creepy lurching animations, and surprising aggression. Where many forced stealth experiences can feel tedious, the cat-and-mouse here is satisfying and fraught with tension. Throwing objects to distract these spirits as you creep around a corner making as little noise as possible feels fantastic.
It’s a pretty meaty experience for VR, offering a six to seven hour adventure full of plot twists, horrifying revelations, and a hearty helping of collectibles to hunt down. The atmosphere of the game is so convincing, so creepy, that every step through the halls feels like tempting fate. Between the sparse sound design — often consisting of little other than footsteps- - and the phenomenal soundtrack, the audio plays as much a part in putting you ill at ease as the environment. And what’s even more shocking is the effective use of jump scares. Jump scares are, frankly, rarely scary, and tend to just be a nuisance or disruption in the mood of a horror experience. But not so here. There aren’t too many jump scares — an important distinction — but the ones that are utilized are chosen well, making for effective, earned moments.
What you’re left with is one of the better PSVR horror experiences, and one absolutely worth your time. Just be careful, as this one’s not for the faint of heart.