Join Us / Login

Game Review: Virginia

Alan Stock Alan Stock
Expert Contributor
October 11th, 2016

I'm a lover of travel, photography and video games, from the UK. I have worked in the games industry and very passionate about games and their design. Never get bored of them!

Review of: Virginia
Price:
Recommended

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On October 11, 2016
Last modified:October 11, 2016

Summary:

Virginia won’t be for everyone due to its lack of interactivity, but its compelling storytelling, artistic direction and sound make for an original and immersive cinematic experience.

Review of: Virginia
Price:
Recommended

Reviewed by:
Rating:

4
On October 11, 2016
Last modified:October 11, 2016

Summary:

Virginia won’t be for everyone due to its lack of interactivity, but its compelling storytelling, artistic direction and sound make for an original and immersive cinematic experience.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

Virginia is out now on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Alan Stock brings you this review for ComiConverse.

Game Review: Virginia

From the opening scene in front of the bathroom mirror and your subsequent recruitment into the investigative world of the FBI, you won’t hear a word throughout Virginia’s strange and intriguing story. It’s fitting, as like the narrative, it’s down to you to fill in the gaps with your own interpretation. Inspired by 90’s dramas and films like The X-Files, Silence of the Lambs and especially the iconic David Lynch series Twin Peaks, weirdness abounds here – where symbolism, imagery and jarring cuts contrast with a very grounded setting.

Virginia Mirror

Credit: 505 Games

Virgina is played from a first person perspective, with you playing as special FBI agent Anne Tarver in the game’s namesake state, in early 90’s rural America. You’re tasked with investigating a fellow agent and accompany her as she tackles a missing person case in the little suburban country town of Kingdom. The game falls firmly in the “walking simulator” or “interactive experience” realm – and it’s about as minimal as it gets for this genre. Although you have free movement, environments are small and there are a very limited number of interactions to be had using the game’s only tool – a minimalistic central reticule which expands when hovering over points of interest. It’s a very linear game – essentially you just go from scene to scene, exploring the environments and clicking on the correct thing to advance, with no puzzle solving to be done (aside from the story itself, which is another matter entirely). However, despite the simplicity of the gameplay, the story and cinematic experience of Virginia makes up for the lack of interactivity – this is a game designed to immerse.

Virginia Stakeout

Credit: 505 Games

From the start, Virginia is striking in its presentation. Pastel paintings unfurl in the menus and in the game a minimalistic and slightly blocky aesthetic works well, using a muted colour palette and excellent lighting to bring the world to life. This is a good looking game with everyday buildings lent plenty of atmosphere thanks to the art direction. Virginia’s developers, Variable State, cite large inspiration from the stylised presentation of the indie game 50 Flights of Loving by Brendon Chung, and its influence is immediately apparent. Instant cuts in location (for example, walking down a corridor and suddenly appearing in a car), pared back visuals and storytelling through environment and character expression are all present in Brendon Chung’s games, and are used to great effect here.

Virginia Apartment

Credit: 505 Games

Details in Virginia’s environments explain locations and backstory without the need for exposition, someone’s apartment revealing more about their personality than a character profile. Like the speech, some detail has been deliberately omitted – pictures on the walls are often blank, and text in documents or noticeboards is absent or blurred with only plot-relevant items actually displaying information. With no speech, the game does a great job of using the characters’ body language and facial expressions to convey the essence of the dialogue you can’t hear. It’s no easy task to achieve, especially in a game so centred on story, but it works very well. Apparently the lack of speech was mostly down to the small dev team’s fears of sourcing good voice acting, but it complements the themes of the game nicely, allowing you to project your own assumptions onto what’s being said as the plot develops. Together with the other omissions, it lets you paint your own picture of the exact details of the characters and plot intricacies allowing the game to focus on the broader themes. The presentation gets a final flourish with a wonderful score combining a blend of synths and rousing orchestral compositions performed by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, which dynamically always blends into the right tone for the moment.

Virginia Diner

Credit: 505 Games

The relatively mundane environments you visit, from the FBI offices to the little town of Kingdom feel like real places, with Twin Peaks constantly springing to mind when you visit familiar locales like the diner, a petrol station and the small-town police station. The realism is emphasised through immersive sound effects with great attention to detail, ambience such as the whir of an air-con unit in an office or the hum of a neon light, to small touches like the noise of the plastic lid of a coffee cup being popped off and placed on the dashboard, grounding the experience despite the stylised visuals.

Story continues below

Virginia Stage

Credit: 505 Games

But like David Lynch’s works, reality begins to bend and oddness doesn’t take long to emerge – surreal imagery, recurring motifs, dream sequences and random narrative chops increase throughout the story. Whether you appreciate this or not, you’ll probably be scratching your head or even annoyed at the initial confusion you may have after finishing the game. Thinking about the story afterwards and its themes is where you’ll find value, replaying chapters with foresight can give a sense of what might be really going on as you try to decode the symbolism and flashbacks and maybe even dabble in some online research into Virginia state. But even if you don’t buy into the oddness, or care about deciphering the story, it’s still a very engaging experience with compelling characters for the game’s roughly two-hour duration.

Virginia Cave

Credit: 505 Games

I suspect many people will write off Virginia as being pretentious, confusing, simplistic and “not a game”. Certainly it’s been divisive in the gaming community, with many critics applauding it but lots of gamers deriding it for its lack of gameplay, short length and incomprehensible Lynch-ness. However, I think that this is unfair on Virginia. It’s a captivating cinematic mystery that looks great, intrigues, tackles storytelling in a clever and engaging way and is original to boot. I personally haven’t attempted to unravel all of the mysteries and symbolism in the game, though I’ve read some great explanations online, but the overall weirdness didn’t spoil it for me. I think it’s entertaining and immersive in its own right and I enjoyed the ride. You don’t have to be Einstein to get a fair gist of some of the story and themes from one playthrough and there’s much more to uncover for the more dedicated.

Virginia Taxi

Credit: 505 Games

You’ll probably know in advance whether you’ll like Virginia or not. If interactive novels or walking simulators aren’t your thing, it’s probably best to stay away. If you see anything from David Lynch and immediately hate it, or want everything to make sense the first time you see it, then avoid – but I’d also argue that fully understanding the plot is not essential to enjoying the game. However, if you like movies and TV shows and want a great example of a polished and unique interactive cinematic experience, with great artistic direction, music and storytelling – then Virginia breaks new ground. It’s certainly a work of art even if it’s largely devoid of gameplay. Now, I’m off to reopen the case file and uncover some more truths.

A demo of Virginia is available for PC on Steam – click here.

 

ComiConverse is a Super Empowered Community. Follow us on Twitter: @ComiConverse

Virginia

  • 4

Recommended

Virginia won’t be for everyone due to its lack of interactivity, but its compelling storytelling, artistic direction and sound make for an original and immersive cinematic experience.

(Visited 299 times, 1 visits today)

57 Comments

  1. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  2. The the next time I read a weblog, Lets hope so it doesnt disappoint me as much as that one. What i’m saying is, I know it was my replacement for read, but When i thought youd have some thing interesting to say. All I hear is often a few whining about something that you could fix in case you werent too busy searching for attention.

  3. Game says:

    I like what you guys are up also. Such smart work and reporting! Carry on the superb works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my web site 🙂

  4. Technology says:

    As a Newbie, I am always browsing online for articles that can be of assistance to me. Thank you

  5. Sports says:

    I must express appreciation to the writer for bailing me out of this particular setting. As a result of scouting through the online world and finding solutions that were not beneficial, I believed my life was done. Living minus the approaches to the issues you’ve sorted out by way of your report is a serious case, and ones that could have badly affected my career if I hadn’t discovered the blog. That capability and kindness in touching a lot of stuff was priceless. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t discovered such a stuff like this. I am able to now look forward to my future. Thanks a lot so much for the high quality and sensible guide. I won’t think twice to refer your web site to any individual who needs care about this subject.

  6. Business says:

    Good ¡V I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs and related info ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, web site theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Excellent task..

  7. Legal says:

    Keep working ,great job!

  8. Technology says:

    I really appreciate this post. I’ve been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thank you again!

  9. Travel says:

    You could certainly see your expertise in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. At all times go after your heart. “We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.” by Bern Williams.

  10. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to assert that I get actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.

  11. Thanks , I’ve just been searching for information about this subject for a while and yours is the best I’ve found out till now. But, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you certain in regards to the source?

  12. Law & Legal says:

    I am so happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best doc.

  13. Healthy Life says:

    Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just too great. I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it wise. I can not wait to read much more from you. This is really a great site.

  14. Business says:

    Wow! This can be one particular of the most helpful blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Magnificent. I am also an expert in this topic so I can understand your effort.

  15. Its superb as your other posts : D, regards for putting up. “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it” by Steven Wright.

  16. Law & Legal says:

    I have not checked in here for some time because I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are great quality so I guess I¡¦ll add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  17. IMSC SEO is a Singapore SEO Company. They provide comprehensive Singapore SEO services to help SG businesses to gain traffic from search engine. Their SEO agency has many years of experiences working with overseas companies on more competitive grounds. They are the best seo company in Singapore you can find. Their SEO expert and consultant understand exactly what search engine optimization your company need to gain search engine traffic.

  18. Automotive says:

    As soon as I found this web site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

  19. Education says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing this with all people you really understand what you’re speaking about! Bookmarked. Please additionally seek advice from my site =). We can have a hyperlink change contract among us!

  20. Divorcemind.com is a online divorce resource for divorce attorney, attornies and lawyers. You will find the best divorce information online. Divorce Mind will make your divorce or separation a quick, convenient and private.

  21. Family says:

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will certainly comeback.

  22. Divorcemind.com is a online divorce resource for divorce attorney, attornies and lawyers. You will find the best divorce information online. Divorce Mind will make your divorce or separation a quick, convenient and private.

  23. Donate Car says:

    I gotta favorite this site it seems very useful extremely helpful

  24. Emeryeps is a SEO(Search Engine optimzation) and Internet Marketing company. They help businesses to get traffic from various search engine and online community. They have seo experts and consultants with many years of SEO Experiences. No matter where your business is located, EmeryEPS.com can help your business to secure your highly convertible leads online.

  25. Emeryeps says:

    Emeryeps is a SEO(Search Engine optimzation) and Internet Marketing company. They help businesses to get traffic from various search engine and online community. They have seo experts and consultants with many years of SEO Experiences. No matter where your business is located, EmeryEPS.com can help your business to secure your highly convertible leads online.

  26. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  27. More Info says:

    SacramentoCremation.us is one of the leading crematorium services in the Sacramento area. Feel free to contact us regarding any questions on Sacramento Cremation Services or concerns you might have. Our staff will respond to you as soon as possible.

  28. imsc says:

    IMSC SEO is a Singapore SEO Company. They provide comprehensive Singapore SEO services to help SG businesses to gain traffic from search engine. Their SEO agency has many years of experiences working with overseas companies on more competitive grounds. They are the best seo company in Singapore you can find. Their SEO expert and consultant understand exactly what search engine optimization your company need to gain search engine traffic.

  29. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  30. Emery EPS says:

    Emeryeps is a SEO(Search Engine optimzation) and Internet Marketing company. They help businesses to get traffic from various search engine and online community. They have seo experts and consultants with many years of SEO Experiences. No matter where your business is located, EmeryEPS.com can help your business to secure your highly convertible leads online.

  31. imsc says:

    IMSC SEO is a Singapore SEO Company. They provide comprehensive Singapore SEO services to help SG businesses to gain traffic from search engine. Their SEO agency has many years of experiences working with overseas companies on more competitive grounds. They are the best seo company in Singapore you can find. Their SEO expert and consultant understand exactly what search engine optimization your company need to gain search engine traffic.

  32. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  33. Gemma Smarsh says:

    “Great Blogpost! Hello mates, nice post and good arguments commented here, I am in fact_ enjoying by these.”

  34. Elijah Aseng says:

    “Great Blogpost! Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I _appreciate you writing this post and also the rest of the website is also very good.”

  35. It is actually near not possible to encounter well-educated individual on this content, however , you appear like you realize exactly what you’re writing on! Appreciate It

  36. As a Newbie, I am constantly exploring online for articles that can benefit me. Thank you

  37. I truly wanted to make a brief note so as to express gratitude to you for those splendid ways you are writing at this site. My extended internet research has now been rewarded with wonderful concept to talk about with my great friends. I ‘d declare that most of us website visitors actually are unquestionably endowed to be in a great community with many brilliant individuals with good points. I feel pretty grateful to have come across your web page and look forward to really more thrilling minutes reading here. Thank you again for a lot of things.

  38. tutaj says:

    You’ve managed a first class post

  39. Website says:

    It’s ideal opportunity to put together some schedules for the foreseeable future. I’ve looked over this write-up and if I could, I desire to suggest you couple of intriguing proposal.

  40. I intended to create you the bit of word in order to give many thanks again on the gorgeous pointers you’ve contributed here. It is quite pretty open-handed with people like you to provide publicly just what most of us would have advertised as an ebook to end up making some profit for themselves, most importantly seeing that you might have tried it if you wanted. The advice as well served like a great way to recognize that the rest have the same interest just like my personal own to learn good deal more in terms of this condition. I know there are millions of more pleasant instances ahead for many who read through your blog post.

  41. bandar togel says:

    If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

  42. Very good written information. It will be beneficial to anybody who employess it, including yours truly :). Keep up the good work – looking forward to more posts.

  43. Business says:

    hello there and thank you for your information – I have certainly picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise a few technical points using this site, as I experienced to reload the website a lot of times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and can damage your high quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Well I am adding this RSS to my e-mail and could look out for a lot more of your respective intriguing content. Ensure that you update this again very soon..

  44. Woman says:

    Hello.This article was really interesting, especially since I was browsing for thoughts on this issue last week.

  45. Automotive says:

    Somebody essentially help to make seriously posts I would state. That is the first time I frequented your website page and up to now? I amazed with the research you made to make this particular submit amazing. Fantastic task!

  46. My wife and i were very contented that Peter could conclude his inquiry with the ideas he gained in your blog. It is now and again perplexing just to find yourself making a gift of procedures which often a number of people might have been selling. We figure out we need the writer to appreciate because of that. These illustrations you made, the straightforward website navigation, the relationships you can help to create – it’s got many fantastic, and it’s really making our son and the family know that this theme is cool, which is certainly quite important. Many thanks for all the pieces!

  47. I like the helpful info you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I’ll learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  48. Automotive says:

    I want to express thanks to you for rescuing me from such a instance. As a result of scouting throughout the the web and getting opinions which are not pleasant, I assumed my life was well over. Living devoid of the strategies to the issues you’ve solved as a result of your main guideline is a crucial case, and the ones which might have badly affected my entire career if I hadn’t encountered your web blog. Your good natural talent and kindness in touching all the stuff was priceless. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I had not encountered such a solution like this. I can also at this point relish my future. Thanks very much for your professional and sensible help. I won’t be reluctant to endorse the sites to anyone who should have recommendations about this subject matter.

  49. Business says:

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is great blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

  50. Business says:

    Great paintings! That is the kind of information that are meant to be shared around the internet. Shame on Google for not positioning this submit upper! Come on over and visit my site . Thanks =)

  51. Ted Youngs says:

    “Great Blogpost! Hello there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m definitely enjoying_ your blog and look forward to new posts.”

  52. As I web-site possessor I believe the content matter here is rattling fantastic , appreciate it for your efforts. You should keep it up forever! Good Luck.

  53. Technology says:

    Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to assert that I get actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently quickly.

  54. “Great Blogpost! Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I _genuinely enjoyed”

  55. Some genuinely great posts on this internet site, thanks for contribution.

  56. Recreation says:

    I have recently started a blog, the information you offer on this website has helped me greatly. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  57. Good site! I really love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I’m wondering how I could be notified when a new post has been made. I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed which must do the trick! Have a nice day!

ComiConverse with us...

Yes No