Developer: Ubisoft Montreal in collaboration with SpectreVision
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose
When visiting Gamescom 2018, I had the pleasure of trying Transference and the experience was one I carried with me for a long time afterward. When I heard we had a chance to write a review for the game, I was the first to volunteer. Games like this are right up my alley and the expectations were high!
When playing the game at Gamescom, I played it in VR mode, and it has to be said that this game is meant to be experienced this way. Unfortunately, I don’t have VR at home at the moment. So I played through the game normally, but at least I am familiar with how everything works when played in VR.
In Transference, there is no narrative story and very little introduction as far as the game goes. Most of the story is up to you to discover by playing it, so there is very little I can say about the actual story without spoiling the experience.
What I can say though is that Transference is a very dark psychological thriller filled to the brim with details and small pieces of information that throughout the game gave me chills many times and really kept me on the edge of my seat, sweating. The subtle hints everywhere fills Transference to the brim with an atmosphere that will be the envy of many other games.
The only bad thing I can say here is that it is short. I played through my first playthrough in just five hours. It left me wanting so much more, I really did not want the game to be over. I was not ready for it to be over. I still had so many unanswered questions!
But no, sadly it was over, and even after watching a friend of mine playing through it I have questions and it feels somewhat… Unfinished? What this game NEEDS to get a full score here, is a DLC with more explanation and a more comprehensive ending. Please, dear developers… PLEASE!
The graphics in this game is not the most realistic I have ever seen, but it is without a doubt better in VR than it is on my TV. What the game lacks in high-tech graphics though, it makes up for in the amount of details around in the areas you explore. The graphics are not at all bad, and it truly gives you the feelings I bet the developers are aiming for. At least I got them. I had hoped I would be able to get even more details though, read entire letters and get more details about certain objects.
I really liked the movies implemented in Transference, it really added to the whole story. The contrast between the recorded videos and the somewhat unpolished graphics are very sharp, making the graphics look even worse. This simulated version of reality is supposed to be glitchy and rough, so maybe it is deliberate? Whatever the intention, the effect is good and I must say the whole atmosphere delivered in Transference is very, very well done and the graphic designer crew should be proud of their work.
A lot of the gameplay consists of walking around in a rather small apartment, trying to figure out what to do next. I know I just made that sound incredibly boring, but it isn’t. At times it is freaking frustrating, especially when you don’t know what you are supposed to do and the minor clues around are not noticed or comprehended.
The game also offers a lot of puzzles, minor ones that are not overly challenging, but they give you something to do while exploring and add to the gameplay as a whole but leaves nothing for the replay value of the game. My main complaint about the gameplay though is the feeling that although Transference is well made, it does not really offer me anything… new. Not in the gameplay area, it is just a regular walking simulator and the puzzles have all been done before. That being said, Transference still offers you a good time playing it, I just… had higher hopes.
There really isn’t too much to say about the controllers, they work fine and are very easy to learn and uncomplicated. My only little note here is the fact that I could not move faster through some of it, but I know that it is deliberately made that way, to make sure I did not miss a lot of the details around me.
This is a game that has to be played twice, because some of the questions you without a doubt got after your first playthrough can be answered in the detailed environment, and you probably did not find all the video logs and cut-scenes the first time around.
However, it is probably not an enjoyable game many more times after this.
Story - 6/10
Graphics - 8/10
Gameplay - 7/10
Controls - 9/10
Replay Value - 6/10
I had great hopes and high expectations from Transference. Maybe too high, because I felt almost let down when the game was over so soon. The ending of the game really let me down, and I pray for a patch that gives some sort of closure. If you have VR then this is a much safer bet that if you are going to experience it without.