Does the breathtaking music, enthralling first half and deep story enough to save the downward spiral that follows towards the end of the game? Or is this first person, narrative driven thriller one of the best out there?
Virginia is a thrilling adventure game played in the first person and it does some of the best things in it’s genre. Virginia is the best movie you will play this year and I don’t mean that in a bad way. The game is in widescreen and there are a bunch of jump cuts that are placed well. This is done by not making you have to walk from point A to point B for no reason but instead just jumps to the important parts, it is great piece of game design. But the things that will pull you in the most will be the beautiful art style, the breathtaking music done by composer Lyndon Holland, and most importantly the story. The art style at times can be quite sensational, all of the colors popping out at you is just eye candy. Although when you are in larger open areas, the framerate can be rather distracting but thankfully, these areas are far and few apart. The music is probably my favorite part of the game. The parts the music is used and how it is beautifully composed really drives the narrative can be a bit emotional at times. For the majority of the game the music is what will stick out to you the most because none of the characters talk, they just use gestures and body movement to sort of drive the characters feelings and actions. On paper this can sound quite boring considering it is a narrative driven game. The speechless characters actually make the game more powerful in some moments and it is done extraordinarily well.. The combination of the emotional music, great art style and interesting enough story makes this game a powerhouse at moments, but it is inconsistent towards the end.
Virginia begins in 1992 and with the protagonist becoming an FBI agent and she’s given her first task, locating a missing boy. Not long after you are paired up with a much more experienced FBI agent, your leaders tell you to keep a close eye on her. Throughout the game you are struggling within if you should trust your partner or not. The story is linear so no matter if you do trust her or not, you will still end up with the same ending but that is fine, let the writers tell their story. And for the first half the story is enticing. There are loads of symbolism and themes scattered throughout the game and towards the latter parts of the game it is frustrating as everything sort of blurs together but not in a cohesive way.
This is a game that you will need to play through a few different times to understand more about what the writer is trying to convey. I felt like that as the story progressed, confusion was definitely the state of mind I was in. When I was trying to understand one symbol that was given, another two would get thrown into my face. I wish that the game would either take some symbols out of the game or slow the pace down towards the last quarter. It feels as if you were juggling way too many balls at the same time, it would have been nice if a few were dropped and left alone.
Virginia does a lot of things right. They have the music there, the intrigue and intensity of the narrative, the beautiful art, and puts you in a world that is inspired by Twin Peaks. Somewhere deep into the game the sense of direction and story gets clouded and that cannot be overlooked. For just $10 you can play an interesting movie. It’ll force you to think, it’ll pull the strings of emotions at times and overall is an exceptional experience.