Initial NA Release Date: September 22, 2016
Review Date: November 12, 2016
Reviewed on: PC
Platforms: PC, MAC, Xbox One, PS4
An interactive movie that attempts to tell a story without the use of words. Surrounded by mystery, Virginia is certainly an interesting experience, however as a game, Virginia fails to deliver in numerous areas.
Presentation – Graphically speaking, the game isn’t by any means impressive, it has a 2.5D cartoon art style to it which isn’t bad looking, however it lands a bit flat. The visuals lack that certain endearing quality in which that type of art direction usually carries.
Character models are somewhat boring, and share the same trait of the overarching visual, there is just no real endearing quality to the figures. All of the eyes and other facial features are similar, and due to the lack of words, there is no distinction between characters.
Aesthetics aside, the lone spot where the overall presentation shines is with its soundtrack, the orchestrated soundtrack is excellent and aids in pacing scenes as well as tethering a certain feeling or emotion to them.
Unfortunately, where Virginia takes perhaps its biggest hit, is with the constant performance issues, such as the severe frame rate drop during cinematic transitions to actual gameplay and frequent screen tearing. Although not as apparent, even on lower graphical settings, the nagging issues are still there, and ultimately being detrimental to the overall experience.
Gameplay – Virginia has a story to tell, however it’s really up to you if you care to listen, the overall pacing of the cut scenes, change of scenery, and adventure gameplay sections are all mashed up together in a hurry, making it difficult to get a good grasp of the narrative.
There are interesting elements that happen during the cinematic scenes, but whether or you want to delve deeper into the story in order to get a better understanding of what they mean, investigative work regarding the plot is a must, as the story is too convoluted and confusing to pick up during its immediate telling.
The actual gameplay in Virginia is nearly non-existent and frankly, unnecessary. The adventure game sections of walking, picking up items, investigating areas, are all there for begrudged gameplay activity rather the necessity of the player interaction.
Final Impression – As a conclusion, Virginia seemed to be an experience that is best served as something else rather than a game, the narrative is interesting, but its delivery holds it back from being something special. Having to do homework to understand not only small nuances in a plot, but the plot in its entirety is not something favorable when considering video game experiences.
In the end, the excellent soundtrack is not enough to elevate Virginia above its shortcomings. The abrupt pacing, needless gameplay interactivity, nagging performance issues, and overall failure to capture the player, whether to be in a visual or narrative sense, are all factors that hold Virginia back from being a unique experience.
+ Orchestrated soundtrack
– Nagging performance issues
– Convoluted plot
– Uninteresting gameplay
Final Score – 3.5/10 Bad
Entire playthrough of Virginia was roughly 90 minutes.