This period I’m gonna write a lot of reviews. Today I want to tell you my experience with Face Your Fears, an experience by Turtle Rock Studios.
As the name suggests, Face your Fears has the objective of making you try different situations that may scare you or create high discomfort in you, like very high places, ghosts, snakes and whatever has come into the sadic developers’ minds.
I’ve tried the Oculus Rift version: there’s also the GearVR one that is far more complete (it has a lot more experiences), but my phone for some reasons refused to make me try it (damn!).
Once started the Oculus application, I was presented with the initial menu: it was not a 2D menu, but an immersive menu, a menu embedded into the game environment. If you’ve read my review of Sneaky Bears VR, you know how much I love this kind of menus and the presence they offer, so I loved this choice. You are in front of two doors of two little houses and you have to choose where you want to go: you know that every one will take you to some experience you won’t like, but you absolutely don’t know what you will presented to, so you just choose using your gut.
I picked up the right door and I was taken into a dark bedroom. A new immersive menu let me choose between three books to read before going to sleep, that correspond to three different experiences of this environment. I picked the first one and waited for my torture.
I was in this very well crafted bedroom, the bedroom of a baby. No noise, just a little ambient light from the outside. Sometimes the lights of the cars passing by gave a little moment of full light to the room, but then nothing, only silence. I was waiting for something scaring me. Nothing happened, until I started hearing some noises… but looking in that direction, I saw nothing. Silence again. Then other noises: at that moment I could clearly see that some objects were moving by themselves. Again silence.
The game is all about that: it is well played on you waiting for something that may scare you. And while in the beginning will happen things that won’t scare you that much, the more you go further, the more jumpscares become effective. I must admit that while other experiences like The Affected have scared me more, Face Your Fears has given me some thrills. I think that they’ve played very well with the alternance of jumpscares and quiet moments, because in the end you live in a consistent state of anxiety waiting for the next thing that will scare you. Also the graphics, the sounds and the lights are all well crafted and studied. I particularly loved how they used lights and sounds to increment the fear of the player, it is wonderful.
Another thing that I appreciated about this experience is that it follows what the user is doing: I mean, to avoid the fact that the jumpscares happen at your left while actually you’re looking at the right part of the room, the experience doesn’t go on until you look at the point the devs want you to look. So, if you hear a noise on the left, the noise will continue to be emitted until you look at your left. If you’re too scary too look… well, your only choice is to close your eyes and turn your head! (Or maybe to pick a more relaxing experience like Dear Angelica)
The three bedroom experiences are very similar and in all of three you have to deal with this annoying little monster (it resembles a bit Gollum to me). Also the ending is very similar… if you have ever played with a VR horror experience, you may already know that there’s never a happy ending.
Finished with the right door experiences, I was quite satisfied, but I didn’t feel like living another horror adventure. So I entered the left door of the initial menu and I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that this experience was completely different from the other one.
I was in an office in a skyscraper, looking out of the window, when I saw some planes fighting against an evil huge robot.
An explosion happened and the wall with the window wasn’t there anymore. The robot took me and climbed the building while fighting with planes. I was there, on him, while he was climbing a skyscraper… not that comfortable. But the worst happened when it put me on a very little metallic platform on the top of the skyscraper (seemed something like a piece of the antenna of the building), while he continued his fight. This platform was very thin and was the only thing preventing me from falling down hundreds of meters. Scary. But things got even worse when the structure of the platform began to bend and move. I really felt the fear of height in that moment. I really felt discomfort. I really felt I was going to fall down. It has been the moment where I got the biggest fear of height in VR. Wow, incredible. Then… well, I don’t want to spoil you, you have to play the game by yourself! Anyway, I can say you that the experience continued giving me emotions.
Unluckily there are only two experiences in the Rift version, so after I tried this one, I was left with the willing to play again to try a new different scary situation, but I was unable to try it. In the Gear VR version, instead, there are many more, like one where you are haunted by birds like in Hitchcock’s movie and another one with a crazy girl…
In the end I found Face your Fears a very nice game: I especially appreciated the experience on the skyscraper, because I found it quite original (I’ve seen too many horror demos in VR). I like the approach of making different episodes with different scenarios and different types of humans fears. Graphical quality is really good and the experiences can really generate emotions into the player. My advice is giving it a look for free on the Oculus Store. Cheers… and don’t miss my next article about Google ARCore!!!
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