What would you do if one day you became part of the undead and did not know what happened to you? What would your initial thoughts be? Would you think about your past and see if there was a crossroads moment in which things could have been different? What about any loved one and seeing the impact it would have on them? There would be so many questions I would have that, honestly, I don’t where I would start or then try to grasp the situation of my new reality. Hopefully, it’s something that we will never have to encounter or if we do, may everything be lined up just perfectly where there is peace. But does developer Fast Travel Games show us what it’s like to be part of the undead? Let’s find out with Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2.
I am going to say this upfront. I am not going to spoil any secrets or show all of the locations as I do not want to ruin the hard work that Fast Travel Games has put into this and part of the fun of this mystery is trying to figure things out. With that said, let’s continue.
In Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife is an exploration horror game that has you playing as Ed Miller. A photographer, who, unfortunately, passed away and is. So it will be up to you to figure how you died and why. Since you are now in the Afterlife, you take on the form of a Wraith, a spirit of the dead. This is not really a bad thing (I mean it is a bad thing because you are no longer part of the living, but hey, you no longer have to pay taxes) as you now have ghost-like powers to help try and solve the mystery of what, why, and how.
When you first start, you hear a voice telling you to wake up. The area of the afterlife is almost like what I would expect it to be. A place for souls to wander in a setting for their own way of trying to figure out what has happened to them. I will say that the art style used in the beginning with the way the entire area looks gloomy and you can hear the wind and seeing the clouds almost in a spiral type formation really adds to the atmosphere. But it’s when you see the gates and then almost as if you blinked, see Barclay Mansion, that you realize there is more than meets the here.
But what is it about Barclay Mansion? What mysteries could it hold? This will all be answered in due time. But a little history about Barclay Mansion, with itself, is a very important factor and character per se in the game. Barclay Mansion is owned by one prestigious Hollywood aristocrat, Howard Barclay. We do learn that Barclay himself, is not doing too well health-wise, but has a lot of money. And what would anyone in Howard Barclay’s position try to do in that situation, you guessed it. invite people to a seance. So you, Ed Miller, are the photographer that is hired, along with your amazing girlfriend, to take pictures of the event. Hence the mystery of what really happened to you as well as possibly learning what happened to the others (again no spoilers) inside this wonderful getaway of a mansion.
Since you are a Wraith and you do have ghost-like powers, it will be up to you to try and use them to the best of your abilities as you progress through the game. There are sharpened senses, which help you pick up distant whispers or track the movement of other spectres. There is Insubtaniatlity, which gives you the power to walk through solid walls, and then Wraithgrasp that allows you to manipulate different objects from a distance and change the environment around you. So you will need to use these powers to your advantage. Even though you may be a Wraith, there are spirits that you need to be watching out for and if they catch you, well, I mean you are already dead, but to die when you are dead is another thing that you really should try and avoid altogether.
So in essence, not only are you trying to figure out what happened and why, but also be stealth-like when the evil spectres are around. But being a photographer, Ed’s camera is very important to him because Ed is emotionally attached to the camera, you can use it in the afterlife. There will be certain parts in the game where there are memories, that you think you can interact with it, but actually need to use the camera to do so. And once you take a pic of it, you then capture those memories which brilliantly helps to start putting this puzzle of a mystery together.
What you will find out about your time in Barclay Mansion is things may not always be what they seem. You will need to find items to help progress the story and it’s with these items that you must find that really add to the atmosphere. There was one part early in the game where I had to go find something in the library and what would seem to be an empty room of sorts, allowed for what some might consider disturbing instances that would appear when it didn’t before. But Barclay Mansion is pretty big and one may get lost with only their own heartbeat to be heard. So you can either just wander on your own, which adds to the fun, or if you need some help along the way, just have a look at your arms and you just may find out if you are indeed getting closer than you were before. That’s really part of the fun of seeing what could be around the corner, hearing the voices, and all trying to avoid those spectres so they will not attack you (and they will attack you), so you can try to find out what happened and why. And trust when I say, when you find out everything, you will appreciate the pieces of information that were laid out to bring the story to a satisfying end.
There will also save points throughout the game where you just put your hand(s) on the black sphere to save which also can help replenish your Pathos which is used when you use the flash of your camera which certain undead things may not like the light (just saying), but you only have so much Pathos available to use, so when you can, replenish it either by saving or finding photographs throughout the game. Also, if you start to get injured from those spectres, you will need to replenish your Corpus (health), which can be done when you save or find cards lying around that can help with that. Also, at the save points, you can visit the Memory Palace, an area for all the memories you have collected throughout Barclay Mansion. And I will say that there is a lot of memories to collect.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. Looking at the graphics and playing on the Oculus Quest 2, some might notice some not as clear parts in the game like at the end of corridors. But I think that really adds to what Fast Travel Games was trying to add here. A way of immersing you into the horror that has become one with Barclay Mansion, but with all those who will remember as the last thing that they remember. Parts that were dark were not completely dark but had enough light to make their eerie presence known. Which leads to the sound. When you add darkness and want to add some fear without having all the jump scares thrown at you, the sound becomes as important as the graphics and almost takes playing with your mind and heart to another level. Hearing the voices behind you and then turning around and nothing is there or maybe it is, did get me many times.
If there is anything I would like to see added is maybe add a difficulty level as not all players (beginners) may be able to handle what is awaiting for them. For me, it was the perfect level of difficulty, but just thinking about those who may be new to VR. And the other thing that would be a nice feature to add is an option for disturbance. While there is no jump scares around every single corner, there are some and there are other images that some may find to be a little too disturbing. Again, this is a horror adventure game of trying to find out what happened as an official World of Darkness title. So with that, just understand what you are getting into and have some fun with it.
Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife invites us all in and welcomes us with open arms. It gives us a who done it and why, but with a twist. If life is about living and death is the next part of a passage, then shouldn’t we take who is the most important in our lives and try to make sure that we don’t have any regrets and spend the rest of eternity trying to figure out what possibly went wrong when we have the opportunities now to make sure things are right?
Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife is out now for Oculus Rift/Rift S and Oculus Quest/Quest 2 on the Oculus Store, coming to Steam on May 25, 2021, and also coming to Playstation VR on October 27, 2021, and Viveport. A review code was provided.
Also, check out the Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife interview.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I need to see if I missed any more Easter eggs.