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Wraith Oblivion Review
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Wraith The Oblivion Afterlife VR Review

VR Gets mighty spooky but suffers from poor game mechanics

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Wraith Oblivion Afterlife VR is some seriously spooky horror VR. There is a lot to go over,  so let’s jump right into this Wraith The Oblivion Afterlife VR review.

What is Wraith The Oblivion Afterlife?

Wraith Oblivion is a Horror Adventure game for VR, heavy on horror. You died in a mysterious séance and have become a Wraith. You have to piece together the pieces of the mystery, figure out what has happened at the spooky Barclay mansion, and most importantly, how to escape. Wraith The Oblivion Afterlife is developed by Fast Travel Games. Fast Travel Games has a history of making VR games including Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets and Apex Construct.

Wraith Oblivion is currently available on Oculus Rift, and Oculus Quest 2. It will be launch on Steam VR and PSVR later in the year.

Wraith: The Oblivion Is A Table Top Game – World Of Darkness Series

World of Darkness approached Fast Travel games to make a horror VR game. World of Darkness is the name of the tabletop role-playing universe that also includes Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Wraith: The Oblivion, and Changeling: The Dreaming universe.

If you’ve played any of these games Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife VR is based on this tabletop world. You don’t need to have any knowledge of these universes to play the VR game but I think it’s worth going over it a tiny bit here.

 

In Wraith: The Oblivion Tabletop game you roleplay as characters who have recently died.  Wraiths also have a secondary personality called “a Shadow”, usually played by another player. So Wraith The Oblivion VR has a very strong game background to pull from.

For example, in the VR game, you learn you have something called Pathos and Corpus. Pathos is what you use to power your wraith powers(like mana) and Corpus is your health. Since you are already technically dead, the Tabletop game refers to Corpus as your ability to “maintain physical wraith form”. Unfortunately, this is not explained in the VR game it is just what they are called and you have to kind of guess what they are. A little bit of lore from the game is helpful.

Onto the gameplay in this Wraith Oblivion VR review….

Wraith The Oblivion Afterlife Gameplay

You start the game on a rocky, dark path. Eerie music fills your headset. (This game should definitely be played with a headset) Walking down the path Wraith Oblivion VR gets you familiar with the controls of the game.

As you progress down the path you will meet some Ghosts. These ghosts are not really things you interact with, but a kind of memories played back. This is the cast of characters of the Barclay mansion.

Eventually, you will get your first ghost power. Grab. Highlight an object press RB/LB and flick your wrist towards you. The object should fly into your hand where you have to click again to hold it. Neat. I feel ghostly already. It is similar to the Half-life Alyx Gravity glove.

Soon the tutorial will get to the settings tab. There is a LOT of information and options in the settings tab. If you don’t like the movement style, take a moment to go to the settings and fully adjust. This game has some of the most advanced and customizable motion settings I have seen in VR. If you want snap turning, teleportation, fade or vignette you can adjust each and every part.

After the Tutorial, the Spooky Really Begins

At the end of the path, we are now at the Barclay mansion. Having a look around you can see this is not the normal decore of a billionaire mansion. It kind of looks like something I would expect David Lynch’s house to look like. Dark, Evil, Cold, Movie posters everywhere and strange sculptures.

As you move forward once again you will see the cast of character trigger a sort of “cut scene”.  This will happen frequently as you play the game. You will meet your “Shadow”. A dark menacing version of yourself that plays heavily into the Tabletop narrative. This isn’t mentioned in-game though – you don’t really know who this guy is.

Shadow “You” gives you various goals as you move through the dark and creepy house – figure out who you are exactly, figure out how you died, figure out how to get out of that house, and finding lots of objects along the way. The rest I’ll leave up to you to explore as it’s all part of the mystery.

Some Cool Game Play Mechanics

This game is VERY spooky between the weird mystery of the house, your death, ghosts appearing and whispering in your ear, and the overall sense of dread everywhere. There is less focus on jump scares during the initial part of the game, but it is definitely still scary. You will be creeped out playing this. Even just looking down at your blood-drenched, tattooed arms is fear-inducing.

Take photos of Glittery Areas to See A Story Memory

You will get a camera at a certain point and will now be able to take a picture of these glittery spots. When you do another short scene will play explaining a little bit more about these characters and their stories. It is an interesting way to advance gameplay and have cut scenes happen.

Looks like someone was playing Oculus in this room

The Memory Place is a neat way to deal with collectibles

As you collect items from the game, they will appear in a place called the memory place you can access at your save point. This is a neat way to visually see your collectibles and be able to re-read them. The story is told through many of these items, so it’s worthwhile having several visits.

Inventory Is handled in a Neat Way

There is no Inventory, but the items instead appear in a polaroid beside the location when you have picked them up. If you don’t have them yet, the polaroid appears empty. This is a GREAT way to deal with VR inventory. I have the door key, simply show it to me at the door, no menu required. Works great.

Spirt Sense to Help you Find Collectables

I love the idea of Spirt Sense. You hold B or Y and swipe your arm in kind of a line in front of you and the veins in your arm will glow yellow when it is facing an “object of interest”. It will also have a heartbeat pulse in the direction of a “bad guy”.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find this mechanic worked very well a lot of the time. It would frequently turn the strongest color and lead me directly to a locked door. Unable to get behind it to get the collectible I was obviously missing because I couldn’t get there yet. Why highlight things I can’t reach yet with this sense?

Regardless this is one of the only ways to find the various collectible around the mansion. So I got into the habit of doing the Woosh Arm Wave upon entering every room. It would make any collectible item glitter gold for a few seconds. It was a fun use of VR.

If you ever played the old school horror 7th guest or 11th hour, this game feels influenced by it. Minus the puzzles. Wraith Oblivion VR has no puzzles. The combination to that locked safe is written down on a note in a room nearby for example. You won’t have to think too hard to solve anything, instead, you will be dealing with the frustrating game mechanics. Let’s go over some of those in this Wraith Oblivion VR review.

Wraith Oblivion VR Frustrations

I really enjoyed the first half of this game. It was spooky in the right ways. There is some minor jump scares, but usually, the horror element comes from the sound effects, room layouts, storytelling, and overall sense of dread the game is great at developing. Then at a certain point, Wraith Oblivion VR (much like the game We Happy Few) switches from one type of game to another – The land of stealth, bad design, and slow character movements.

You are not Free to Do What you Want

Although the game looks like it is an open world, it is not. There is a very distinct path the game wants you to follow. Doors will be locked and you will not be able to access most areas or objectives until your progress past a milestone the game wants. You will often hear a “clicking” noise at that moment to let you know some door has unlocked.

There is no map. This is a pretty complicated mansion with many twists and turns and rooms. Putting in a basic map would be helpful.

There were several moments where I wasn’t quite sure what to do next and found that I needed to go back to where the last things were happening and revisit an area to make sure I explored everything. This is helped by your arm Spirt Sense, but as I mentioned, not enough.

Stealth is not your friend

Ok. Stealth games can be really great. I enjoy playing stealth in some games and sneaking up on enemies killing them quietly so I can move on. It is a fun mechanic when it works. When it doesn’t it is VERY frustrating.

Stealth games USUALLY follow some kind of rules, even if you don’t exactly know them when you start. Usually the bad guys you need to avoid follow some kind of path, and you move very slowly, ducking behind objects to avoid being detected. Or you enter a different area when the guy is on the other end of the path.

Wraith The Oblivion VR does not care about any kind of stealth rules.

About a third of the way through the game, you will meet some evil Spectres who will be in an area that you will need to progress through. If they look in your direction they attack, and you will “die”.  There will be a blurry white indicator on the screen that will allow you maybe 1 or 2 seconds to get out of the line of sight,  but you probably will be detected. The bad guy will now chase you. This is definitely scary, but it will quickly turn to frustration.

You will be running for your life using the “push-in left joystick” sprint. My thumb is still numb from this experience while typing this. It is VR, so of course, sprint doesn’t really make you move all that much faster. (Anyone who has played Phasmphobia knows what I’m talking about)

If you do not use the sprint, the evil Spectre would catch you 100%, so you are forced to do this hard “push the joystick in” sprint where you feel like you are running in molasses while being chased. If they get close to you, you have the ability to usually take 2 hits, but it pretty much is an instantaneous “death” every time. You will be sent to Obvilivion and then return to your last save point.

Luck is all you Need not Stealth

I spent a while trying to figure out this stealth portion better because surely the game developers didn’t want it to just be based on luck. It looks like they put some things in there to use, but unfortunately, they did not work for me as intended.

They Don’t follow a path

You want to start by crouching and moving very slowly, hiding behind objects so you don’t have a line of sight with the Spectres. You can use your spirit sense to see which direction the bad guy is in with the heartbeat, but as mentioned, frequently they don’t move. I crouched for a full 10 minutes without moving in one area to try and see if the bad guy would follow a set path. They did not. It appeared completely random. Luck.

The only common variable I could see is that the Spectre would spawn semi-near whatever entrance I was using to access their hauntable area. There was no getting away from them. They came for you.

Closets don’t protect you for long

In some locations, there are closets that you can hide in if you are fast enough at opening the doors. Usually, I wasn’t. The Spectre also just frequently circled around the area the closet was in no matter how long I waited there. This just delayed them killing me usually.

Throw rocks or bottles to distract them… if you can find them

You are able to throw rocks or bottles and by doing so, SOMETIMES, the Spectre would care and go towards it and investigate. Usually, I made too much noise getting to an item and throwing it, or equally frequently, there were no items whatsoever near the Spectres to throw.

Use your Flash to Stun as a last resort

You also can take the flash you eventually get and use it to “stun” the Spectre. This is never explained of course. Realistically this doesn’t matter, it only stuns the Spectre for a few moments and it will continue to chase you down.

Since none of these worked consistently and effectively for me, this meant getting to the locked door on the other side of the room, unlocking it and opening it, or getting an object that was conveniently located right behind where these Spectres are, was once again… pure luck and retrying most of the time.

This was beyond frustrating. Although the first time these guys chase you, your heart will be pounding. Before long I dreaded each of these encounters for a different reason.

I frequently got so annoyed with these sections and re-doing them over and over and hearing the same voice parts over and over, that I found just running for it and hoping for the best actually worked BETTER than trying to be stealthy at all.

I am very disappointed in this game mechanic and I’m pretty sure as more people reach this point in the game, they will be too. I don’t see anyone liking this.
It will be forced and a regular part of the game for the last half. I hope there is a patch of some kind.

There is no AutoSave

Wraith Oblivion VR makes saving the game, a game mechanic. Save points will appear as swirling important items to people in the game in several key rooms. You will memorize where these rooms are because you need to MANUALLY save. There are ZERO autosaves in this game. I would frequently go way out of my way to get to a ‘close’ savepoint when I would find a collectible because I’d sometimes lose a significant amount of gameplay time because I accidentally walked into one of the Spectres areas.  Save every single time you pick up something, accomplish something or see a save point.

You will see highlighted items and you can do nothing with them because you have not unlocked that ability yet

As mentioned you have a set path that your game makes you go through. In the early phases, you will notice pink boxes and kegs. I spent many minutes trying to figure out what I could do with them, or how I got them to move. Not unlocked ability yet. Why are they pink? Just leave them a normal untouchable color until I can touch them, please.

There are also purple splotches on some walls. As you walk past them, they make kind of a whooshy noise. It spooky and maybe that’s why it’s left in, but ultimately why do they appear when you can’t do anything with them until MUCH later in the game?

Both these abilities didn’t appear for me until maybe 6 hours of gameplay in. You will find these untouchable, but highlighted items all over the place and it just adds to the frustration in this game.

How long is Wraith The Oblivion Afterlife?

One of the good parts of this VR game is that it definitely is not a short game. Wraith The Oblivion Afterlife is well over 8 hours of gameplay, hunting down collectibles and having to re-play to get past the stealthy areas contribute to that.

Does Wraith The Oblivion Afterlife cause motion sickness?

Wraith Oblivion VR review has more motion control settings than any game I have ever seen. They let you completely customize what you would like from snap turning to teleportation. You can adjust the settings to whatever you are comfortable with. I fully recommend you play with the settings to figure out what you can use.

Wraith The Oblivion Afterlife should not cause any motion sickness issues if you use the customizable motion settings.

Final Thoughts On Wraith VR Review

I really wanted to love this game. The first hour or so was amazing, spooky, and mysterious. Then suddenly the game turned into something else and that part, well it really didn’t work so great. I was frustrated more than I was enjoying myself. The story also took a pretty sharp turn, became predictable, the characters stopped being developed, and unfortunately, the last half of the game was an excessive amount of jump scares.  By the end of the game, I just wanted it to be over. I still would recommend this game for those looking for a good VR horror game, but be prepared for a 2nd half letdown.


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