Virginia (video game review)

Youtube LP Playlist: Virginia
Systems: PS4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

It tries very hard to be a cerebral type of game, and that is what really screws it up.

Virginia came out in September 2016 and it has received some acclaim. You are a new FBI agent assigned to two cases. You investigate the disappearance of a boy, and your second case is investigating another FBI agent.

To give you an idea of the game, the official premise is:

Set in the last days of summer 1992, players investigate the disappearance of Lucas Fairfax, a young boy from the rural town of Kingdom, VA, The game is experienced through the eyes of Anne Tarver, a graduate FBI special agent assigned to her first case. As a rookie detective, she’s paired with an experienced partner, Maria Halperin, whom Tarver’s superiors instruct to keep a watchful eye on. As the story progresses, the pair’s trust in each other is tested, and their investigation takes a supernatural turn

It’s metacritic score ranges from 76-82% depending on the platform. Sadly I have to say they are wrong. They say it is a game that goes beyond other games such as Dear Esther and especially Gone Home. I call bullshit on that. Gone Home still stands for me as one of the all time best games like this. Instead of trying to allude to things, it tells a very beautiful story, where Virginia loses the story by being too focused on the “art”.

It is a very presumptions type of game. I had time to watch my LPs with the hubby and I definitely didn’t like the game when I was done. I found I especially didn’t like the cut back and forth between her receiving her badge, then her possible future, then back to present.

I do have to give it kudos though for the soundtrack. They do use music really well, and it did help with the story. I think the story itself could be a cool one if they went more with an actual X-files type thing, instead of being so artsy that it lost any thing I liked about it.

Overall result is that the game itself has no voice acting, no words, just music and a hipster way of trying to tell a story. I got some of the symbolism as we played through, and I have seen worse in other games. However, it is a failed start for me. It tries too much to be more than a video game.

Pros: The music is good, the idea has promise.
Cons: The lack of using words makes it too artsy and for me at least harder to click with. Also, the time cuts back and forth were cringe inspiring.

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