D?racin? review for PlayStation VR

Platform: PS4, PSVR
Publisher: SIEA
Developer: From Software
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

Hidetaka Miyazaki, best known for his work on the stellar PS4 title Bloodborne, has once again proved he is a master storyteller. D?racin? is a new VR experience that will guarantee to hook you in and leave a lasting impression.

As the story begins, you are transformed into a mythical faerie that enters a world frozen in time. Everything you experience focuses on a slightly creepy boarding school, it’s students and Headmaster. This game requires you to have 2 Move controllers at all times since most interaction will be done with your hands. You begin by moving through a tutorial of sorts, familiarizing yourself with the controls. Once you complete all the tasks and you are comfortable with how everything works, you begin the adventure. As a faerie, you can only observe and occasionally interact with objects. You are basically a silent observer that cannot be seen or heard. Most of the interaction comes from segments from before time stopped, and with ghostly images called Memory Echoes. The echoes are left behind to show you a path that a student may have taken, or where an item was once placed.

Following these echoes can help you find important objects or clues that you need to finish the segment. For example, I saw an echo of one student giving another student a key I needed to unlock a box. By following the key holder’s echos, I managed to find him and swipe the key from his pocket. Sometimes voice echoes can be found by interacting with objects like picture frames and notes that can give you more clues as to what you are supposed to do in the time segment you are playing.

Not all of the school can be accessed, so the missions are somewhat linear. If you cannot access an area, you don’t need to go there. Some areas are blocked by a black cat, and apparently since faerie’s do not like cats, you won’t be able to progress in that direction until you get the cat to move. That is, if the cat is supposed to be moved. Sometimes it’s simply used as a blockade because you don’t need to interact with that area the cat is blocking. This linear style feels strange at first, but over time you will get used to it.

Control is awkward at first. Since it uses 2 PS Move controllers at once, and both controllers do different things, it can get confusing as to what button you need to press at times. It’s nothing that will ruin the game, or change an outcome but it can get annoying when you want to go forward and you end up mistakenly crouching or turing a different direction. There is no option to use the Dualshock at all, so if you do not have Move controllers, you won’t be able to experience D?racin?.

The graphics here are very well detailed. Since most things around you are static images, and interactive objects are sometimes few and far between, the amount of detail used in even the smallest of things is nice. Some textures you can get close to do look a bit flat, but mostly everything that is surrounding you in the world is beautiful to look at. Even the living characters are nicely detailed, even though they stay motionless most of the time you see them. Looking into a characters eyes as they stair right through you can leave you with a creepy feeling that is hard to shake. Speaking of creepy feelings, the organ and cello music that plays as you explore can make you feel like you are playing a horror game at times. The children’s quiet voices also lend to this, by being very unnerving as they explain things or talk to each other. Nothing here really is meant to scare the player, but the feeling of uneasiness and a bit of dread always follows you. Plus, it feels a bit creepy searching around people stuck in time, almost like I shouldn’t be doing it.

D?racin? is a VR experience that will not take to long to finish, but will leave a lasting impression. Its one of those games that you can play through multiple times to see if there are other ways to complete a task or see if there are other things to interact with you missed before. I’m hoping that more can be added with DLC in the future, as I can see so much potential to expand this world. Clocking in at just under 4 hours, it may put off some players with its overall length and presentation, but if you want to experience an extremely unique VR game for the PSVR, then I can highly recommend D?racin?. There is nothing quite like it available.

Note: SIEA provided us with a D?racin? PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: B+