OVRDARK: a Do Not Open story

May 12, 2024 ·

What would you do if someone you cared about was in trouble? Would you do whatever you could to save them or would you have limitations that could prevent you from doing what needed to be done? What happens when the things you think are true start to be questioned by the ones you trust and become so out of the ordinary that you even start to question your mind? Would anything be believed or would your mind start playing tricks where you even question what is sane? Things can become interesting when we start to hear and see things that we even have to question even though, they may be as real as we think they might be. But does the developer, NoxNoctis, allow for our mind to allow our eyes and ears to start to believe what may or may not be there? Let’s find out with OVRDARK: a Do Not Open story for PlayStation VR2.

OVRDARK: a Do Not Open story is the sequel to the acclaimed game “DO NOT OPEN”, taking the series to new horrors and challenges in the world of virtual reality. Step into the shoes of George Foster, a fearless investigator, and companion of Mike Goreng, who ventures into the mansion after the shocking events of the first game. However, what he encounters is far more sinister than anticipated.

Before you enter the Burkittsville mansion, there are a few things that you should be aware of. First, you might as well find your favorite place to sit. You work hard, so you might as well be comfortable as you can, being that the horrors will be headed your way. Second, turn off any lights. There is no need to play with any lights on as it’s not going to help you in any way. Third, make sure you have charged your Sense controllers. There is no need to be stuck facing horrors without any way of escaping, all because you forgot to charge them. Fourth, I am not going to spoil anything for anyone. You don’t want everything shown to you, do you? And finally, have some fun. With all that said, let’s continue…

If you have not played Do Not Open, now may be a good time to play that as you can at least know some of what the story is about before jumping into the sequel. But keep in mind, Do Not Open is not in VR and that was one of the things I wished the game did have or, at least a VR mode. But to bring you up to date without spoiling anything, you play as Mike Goreng, who is trapped in a warped version of his own home. What’s going on? Where are his wife and daughter? As a scientist, Mike can’t come up with an explanation for what is happening, but his instinct tells him that he is in severe danger… and something evil lurks in the darkness. Now that we are somewhat caught up, let’s fast forward.

Before starting the game, you will want to go into options and change a few things depending on how comfortable you are in VR. If you are comfortable, change the rotation type to Smooth Turn, and feel free to turn up the rotation speed. Once you are ready, select a new game. This is where we learn about an unknown virus that is in the area, the locals are scared, and everyone should be taking urgent measures. This is where you receive a tutorial on moving and grabbing items. But you also start to hear the voices and see the memories of the past and what has happened.

This is where we receive a call from your friend, Lexa Laveau while in our car outside the welcome sign to Burkittsville, she tells you things are getting a little crazy, and while you tell her not to leave Lousiana, you also tell her not to get mad at you for having to check on Mike, along with his research that could possible put an end to all of this. This is where you pull up to the Burkittsville mansion and things, as you might expect, will start to get crazy from here on out. Keep in mind, when I say check on Mike, be careful what you do, how you move, and what you do as you may get to know Mike a little more often than not.

One of the things you will notice while playing is that you cannot interact with every object. Some objects like doors and cans you are able to interact with, but other objects such as books, you cannot. Of course, being that you are in the mansion, at night time, things will be dark. You do have your flashlight, which works well, but puts out enough light for you to see ahead of you, but not enough to light up an entire room. Running will require stamina, which energy drinks and cigarettes can replenish, you know, the well-balanced meal, but only lasts so long.

Some of the objects you come across can be stored in your inventory system. So if you come across any keys, make sure you store them so that when you do come across something that needs unlocking, for example, they will be accessible and not cause you to backtrack. The puzzles will require a little thinking, but nothing too difficult. But it’s as if the mansion becomes this character making you unlock the puzzles within itself, in its mind of a narrative of the environment as you try to solve the riddles it weaves. The mansion itself becomes a character, its shifting shadows and unsettling whispers playing tricks on your perception and your mind. Sometimes to solve some of the puzzles, you may need to think outside the box.

When looking at the graphics, I wanted to see if a couple of things would be checked off the list. We have the creepy mansion, the light from the flashlight while leaving other things to a mystery, the lighting that is used, and each room has its things to discover. For example, look where a TV is and you will very well may find a VHS machine. Look around and see what movies are there and read the descriptions on the back, words are very clear and it’s just interesting to read them. It’s this small amount of detail that is added that can make you appreciate the overall bigger picture that is being shown. The sounds are also very effective. It’s not so much about trying to rush through but paying attention to some of the clues that may be heard. Hearing the music pick up or hearing when items are being moved just to get the sense as if something is watching you even if you cannot see or hear them directly adds to the atmosphere, which is what you want with this type of experience.

There are a few things that I would love to see. First, more interactivity with objects. If nothing more than to throw the player off even more and direct them in a direction they may have not thought about going. Second, more jump scares. I am not saying there were not any, but at times, when I was expecting them and they didn’t happen, I thought that this would have been a place for them. Third, more of a relationship between the characters. For those who have not played the first game, there are going to be some missing pieces of information or easter eggs that players who have played can relate to to tie up everything nicely. And finally, more Do Not Open stories in the future.

OVRDARK: a Do Not Open story continues with what worked in the first game and makes it even more special with its use of VR and direction. It gives everyone who are fans of the genre and its universe something else they can appreciate. Throughout our lives, we come across various situations that challenge us and help us grow into the person we’re meant to be. We have two choices when faced with these situations: to ignore them and miss out on valuable lessons or to pay attention and use them to develop our character into something that not only we can appreciate, but those around us as well.

OVRDARK: a Do Not Open story is out now for PlayStation VR2 on the PlayStation Store and coming soon to Steam VR. A review code was provided.

To learn more about NoxNoctis, please visit their site, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I need to try and get that Summum trophy.

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