The world of Virginia is a strange place, Alexandra dives in and presents a score at the end of our Virginia Review.
After hearing a few things and watching a couple of short clips of Virginia I was intrigued. Although developer Variable State hasn’t appeared to have done anything visually amazing, Virginia has a solid story that forces you into an intriguing couple of hours.
Virginia is a walking simulator that takes you on an emotional journey across time. At first I had no idea what was going on, and admittedly the visual fidelity of Virginia originally made me feel a bit sick in parts, mainly due to it quickly jarring you from one room to another in order to move the story to a new spectrum of its timeline. Once I got used to this somewhat weird start to the game, I found that I was quickly able to grasp the jist of the story.
Being a walking simulator, Virginia forces you to continue playing, you can’t stop and wait for an idle character animation or aimlessly stare into the distance. Virginia’s unconvential story-telling always sees a game with characters portraying a story with no voice acting. The story progresses purely though the soundscape and additional visual affects.
The story follows the character of Anne Tarver, a newly qualified FBI agent whom has been put on her first case but has also been told to keep an eye on her partner, but we won’t divulge too many plot details for such a short game. The game follows two plot lines, so the need to keep your eyes open on your surroundings is a must, if you are not constantly looking around it is easy to miss things that could help you to uncover interesting caveats in one of the plot lines. These relatively small areas keep players focused on the task at hand, especially in comparison to some of the unnecessarily large open games we see now, Virginia’s smaller focus is a welcome trait.
The soundtrack, like the graphics, is again quite basic. However the music that does play is always done so for an effect within the player and when the story is about to throw a new twist at you the music tends to hasten in pace, whereas when there isn’t much going on at all, Variable State has decided to go with having no sound at all, creating a dramatic effect, that once again forces you into wanting to continue the story.
Virginia follows the same kind of path as games like Gone Home and Firewatch, where you play as one character (Anne Tarver in this case) and it’s this character that pushes the story line on. Where this game succeeds compared to similar games is that it has managed to flesh the story out, by having two story lines playing side by side. And at its conclusion it leaves you feeling satisfied, which is a minimum requirement of games where the main focus is the narrative.
Virginia is a really intriguing story, one that I just couldn’t put down. Although I wasn’t sure on what was going on all of the time, the dramatic devices used within the game really made me want to find out the ending and what happened to the characters. Virginia’s play time of around two hours for £7.99/$9.99 is perfect, and it’s well worth a couple of hours out of your day.
We tested the PlayStation 4 version after purchasing a retail copy, Virginia is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.