While Afterlife VR is a barebones experience not really doing anything new, there’s a certain charm to it that caught us by surprise. You play as Adam Bernhard, a police officer who arrives at Black Rose Mental Hospital in hopes of locating your missing sister. However, something is clearly amiss as you navigate the facility.
Horror is an easy sell in VR: the level of immersion afforded by a headset makes it a great fit for the genre. The downside to this is that many horror games have an over-reliance on jump scares, the lowest form of horror. Using them too much is tiresome more than scary, so it’s good that Afterlife VR doesn’t rely too heavily on them, aside from a couple of moments towards the end of the two hour campaign. The majority of the game tasks you with exploring a surprisingly nuanced and ambient mental hospital, which will be familiar to those of you who've played games like Outlast, but is still unexpectedly well realised.
While a small title made by a small team, the technical aspects of the release are quite impressive. Sound design is a major standout, with Black Rose being downright terrifying to navigate at times. A subtle, bassy hum permeates the brick and mortar, while the hospital is rendered in dark shades of gray, giving everything a deathly pallor. With the notable exception of character animations, the textures and environments look really good.
Level design is fairly standard, with objectives largely revolving around locating keys. Finding the keys can be a chore, as interactable items are only well-telegraphed in the pitch dark. And then getting the correct items out of your inventory is equally clunky, though you will get used to it fairly quickly. After the first few fetch quests, a handgun and, more bizarrely, telekinesis are introduced. The gunplay is surprisingly good given how insignificant it feels on the impact of the game, and the telekinesis is basically a non-factor outside of a couple of puzzles. Bizarre.
There is nothing brand new to look forward to in the title, but Afterlife VR effectively takes a blender to a number of horror tropes and settings, delivering a sufficiently worthwhile experience.
At just £12.99 I thought about it, but decided on Cosmonious High and Tetris Effect instead. I fear by the time I can get around to this there will be better horror games out though.
@thefourfoldroot1 I don't I'd ever recommend it over Tetris Effect (obviously, wildly different games but still haha) but it was definitely surprisingly good still!
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