I have said it before and I will say it again, the horror genre and Virtual Reality go together. It can be physical, psychological, or even found footage or a point of view. No matter what the case, something about the unknown, the ability to possess, and even just preying on our darkest fears. As important as immersion and sound are to Virtual Reality, the atmosphere…the lighting…the very basics of sounds from a chair moving to the screams of the souls all play a very important vital role when creating a horror experience for VR.
So do Developer Wolf & Wood and Publisher FunTrain bring the experience of The Exorcist, one of the most iconic Horror movies to grace the screen, able to bring the same terror, the same fear in their vision to VR? Let’s find out with The Exorcist: Legion VR for the PlayStation VR.
*** Before I begin, I want this noted…if you are easily scared please make sure you are able to handle this. You will experience heart-pumping times, scares will happen, and neither Wolf & Wood Interactive, Ltd., Fun Train VR, and/or The PlayStation Brahs have or will be responsible for any nightmares you may encounter. Now with all that said and by continuing on, you understand and are responsible for anything that can and may happen.***
I also will not spoil any of the chapters for you. I will not…cannot do a walkthrough. That would be giving you the short end of the VR experience stick. The developers wouldn’t want that, I cannot do that to you, and you would not want to have this experience ruined for you. You need to be able to scream on your own…you need to have your heart racing (in a safe and fun way)…you need to experience everything the Exorcist: Legion VR has to offer…you have been warned. ***
I have learned a lot of things about Horror VR and there are three very important rules that I want to share with you. #1) Respect the world…One does not simply go guns blazing around every corner. This will not end well for anyone. So appreciate what it is giving to you. #2 Corners…VR allows you to peek around corners…use that to your advantage…take some deep breaths and use those corners. #3 Hesitation – First and foremost, for the most part, you are playing a game, but in VR Horror, the game starts to play you. So do not hesitate to pray, do not hesitate to be scared, and do not hesitate to have fun.
So as long as you understand the warning and you at least understand the rules, let’s get to the review. As of this review, there are only three chapters available with chapters 4 and 5 coming at later dates. So this review will be based on these three chapters. When chapters 4 & 5 come out, I will add those to this review
Chapter 1: First Rites
When you first start you learn about the controls. You will need both Move controllers or the Dualshock 4 controller. You will also notice that you carry a phone, a notepad, and any other objects that are worth collecting. I love how you can set how you want to turn and the speed, which is always nice to have options. Once you feel somewhat comfortable with the controls, it is time to move on. All the chapters begin with you in your office. Once First Rites has been selected, you will hear a calming call on the radio (think of this as your safety blanket cause you will need one) letting you know that there has been some sort ritual at the St. Paul Church. This was the first of many warnings to remind me how I should remember rule #3 and start to pray.
As you start to investigate the crime scene you will notice numbers. From the entry to the church I appreciated the amount of detail that was added and how immersive it was. From the floorboards to the way the lighting of the room hit at the right angles causing the shadows to be how I imagined it would be if I was there investigating. So great work so far Wolf & Wood. But my calmness soon wore off once I grabbed my book that encased the crucifix, I knew something bad was going to happen and this was just the beginning of Chapter 1.
When you have to read that you are supposed to find out what happened to the priest and you have that silence where you can only hear your own fear in the form of your breath and you add the anticipation of either music or a sound or at least something to jump at you that is good, but to have me open a door almost like an open it quick as I try to move back to get out of the way only for nothing to be there, that is a well-played situation.
As you are searching for clues pay attention to how things that once seemed normal seem to have a life of their own. From normal positive lighting to a more positive tone. Could a statue of this size, actually move on its own or was there something else present that I could not see, actually be here? I swear I heard breaths and whispers that I don’t think we’re supposed to be part of this or maybe it was. All I know is something greater…something near me wanted to be known…to be seen…to know it was watching me. So well played…well played.
Chapter 2: Idle Hands
After completing Chapter 1, don’t rush on to Ch. 2. But take the time to look around and you just might discover even more information. I mean you have been through a lot…remember rule #1…respect what was just the world and just appreciate what you experienced. Chapter 2 has to visit the community hospital where we visit Lucie Moss, the school teacher. who just happens to be mentally ill and who is messing with the occult.
If visiting a church was not frightening enough, just wait until you visit the hospital with its dim and flickering lights trying to conduct an exorcism. The initial room where you are first hearing about Lucie and the evidence that is laid out is very well detailed. I love how the book titles just give off the essence of evil. It would have been awesome to be able to turn the pages to then have something pop out at you. Wait…no it wouldn’t. That was a bad idea and I apologize for the suggestion. Yes, there are some parts of this room that I had to take off the headset because of how freaky it was.
I really like how you start to get a better understanding of the items you collected from Chapter 1 and you get to use them more in this chapter. And it truly is disturbing when you finally get to meet the guest of honor. I truly did not want to go into the next room. It’s all that anticipation that is strategically placed.
If you are claustrophobic in any way, Chapter 2 plays on that very well. Being immersed in VR is one thing, but being immersed in tightly closed spaces that seem to go on is another. I do not want to go in any more detail, but just get ready for the unexpected, but remember rule #2…corners
Chapter 3: Skin Deep
First, we had a church, then the hospital, and now babies in cribs. This may be the freakiest or best one yet depending on your thoughts. Chapter 3 is about infant mortality and how parents have been experiencing the sound of an old woman calming the cries of the babies. But the spirit who some call Abyzou is the one to be blamed for all the misfortune.
I don’t know what it was about this chapter that had me go at it more cautiously. It could have been the voices on the baby monitor to immediately having a staircase right in front of you. It could be the dimly lit room and seeing the baby in the crib…or it could have been a combination of everything plus Chapters 1 and 2. There is a lot more to do in this chapter, but sometimes I wasn’t sure if I needed to do everything to move on or if I needed to wait for some of that anticipation that has been planned out.
Chapter 4: Samaritan
Well, if a church, a hospital, and a family home with a baby have you spooked, then you may want to take a breather before you head off to Haiti. But since we have to go investigate you may want to make sure you have all your shots and medical history updated. Oh, what am I saying…it won’t matter anyway. It seems that there is been this epidemic of the deadly kind. So you know what that means? Yep, it’s time to visit a morgue.
Something I was hoping for with at least the first three chapters was to visit a morgue and when that didn’t happen there was a part of me that was a little sad. I mean when you think horror and death, there is a part that screams dead bodies in morgues. And I am happy to say that in Chapter 4: Samaritan, we get to visit a morgue and in Haiti of all places. I can say that once you enter the morgue there is this sense of evil. And when you add the fact if, for a moment when I closed my eyes, I could have sworn I could almost smell the rotting bodies. Just um, watch out for the chickens.
Chapter 4 pulls off the essence of the Halloween spirit here with the immersion of the darkness and surrounding dead bodies. But who knows, maybe…just maybe the ones that are supposed to be dead will find a new home in you. Sometimes just being in the moment of it all is all you really need to have the right formula for scares. And it’s those scares no matter how big or small that can make you feel like a test of what you are really made of.
Chapter 5: The Tomb
I am not sure in which order may be the scariest as it could be different for each of us. I will say, that Chapter 5: The Tomb is probably one that may hit a little on the uneasy side for some. Chapter 5 may start to play on the emotions of some. I felt it may have been one of the scarier chapters. When you are going around a tomb with your only light source being a torch is one thing. But when you start adding the voices and you start seeing the writings on the wall about Christ, it can mean many things to many people. But I had to press on…I had to know after everything I have been through and have seen, could this finally be it? Would I finally get the answers I was hoping for? Staring into the darkness with the torch on the wall as my guide, I had to.
Going into The Tomb felt more of a calling than in the previous chapters. It was like I was being summoned to meet a maker of sorts. Hearing the voices and making you start to possibly question the existence of what we know and if it was the truth or was it nothing but lies as I went through it all. When I finally encountered what has been calling out to me, it started to get to me. Somehow after Chapter 5 was over, it was almost like part of my soul was cleansed and left me to really start thinking about within my own self as well as things in life.
After each chapter and once you return back to your office, you can check out how well you did by picking up the clipboard. In my first playthrough of Chapter 1, I completed only 75%. I didn’t notice at first, but before you begin a chapter, pick up the clipboard and at the bottom is a checklist. This will help you get that 100% completion if that is your type of thing.
Sound-wise, The Exorcist: Legion VR is spot on. From faint sounds to whispers, to the breathing, creeks, and to the dramatic intense meetings it’s all here. In the world of The Exorcist, sound and music are key and Wolf & Wood nailed it. Immersion wise I cannot say this enough. In VR Horror, the atmosphere plays a strong role as much as sound and music, and just as with the sound and music, it is very well spot on.
If you haven’t yet, make sure you have properly set up your PlayStation VR headset as you want to make sure things are as clear as possible. Also, depending on where you have your camera placed if you notice objects are a little difficult when trying to pick them up, place the camera on top of your television. These are just a few suggestions so you can have the best experience. I also appreciate how everything is broken up into chapters and how each chapter is, in essence, its own portion of the story being told. So just keep this in mind, depending on how you handle VR Horror, maybe the right amount dosage for you.
The Exorcist; Legion VR is sure to excite many horror fans out there. If the goal was to go out and try to scare you by playing off certain fears that you may have or may not be aware of, then it possibly completed that goal. It’s going to be up to you to see if you think it succeeded in what it set out to do. But I do know it did do one thing and that was to set up some fun times. And it’s those scares no matter how big or small that can make you feel like a test of what you are really made of.
To learn more about The Exorcist: Legion VR please visit the site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram, and subscribe to the YouTube channel. To learn more about Wolf & Wood, please visit their site and follow them on Twitter. To learn more about Fun Train, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I need to play this with the lights out.
Mr. PSVR, July 5, 2018, theplaystationbrahs.com