By Jerrad Wyche
Virginia is a game developed by Variable State and published by 505 Games. On the surface, Virginia is a walking simulator following the investigation of a teenage boy, but after only an hour or so, the layers of twists and turns unfold, leaving the player questioning every interaction moving forward.
Virginia, from a pure gameplay perspective, is super minimal. Players are simply prompted when actions should be carried out via a simple button press. That being said, the prompts are small white diamonds that avoid pulling players out of the experience through constant controller visuals. The game seems to run smooth and for the most part transitions from scene to scene with little to no loading at all. Towards the later parts of the game, however, Virginia tends to have slight performance issues when it comes to transitioning from scene to scene. The game's lack of mechanics actually lead to the player's immersion and allow the story and characters to take the forefront of the suspense thriller. Approaching Virginia as an interactive movie, instead of a tradition video game, can help you understand the lack of gameplay mechanics and enjoy the story for what it is.
Virginia follows Special Agent Anne Tarver, a newly appointed FBI agent working on the case of a missing teenage boy. Through twists and turns users are guided through a surreal, intriguing, and surprising narrative. Considering the lack of actual dialog, Virginia relies on character body language and score to direct players along this suspense thriller in the small town of Kingdom, Virginia. It offers players an unreliable yet deeply fulfilling narrative experience. The score in Virginia is utterly astounding and is the backbone and driving force behind the complete experience.
Without a single line of dialogue, Virginia does the unthinkable and enthralls the player in a suspenseful narrative, making sure you never leave the edge of your seat. From the opening sequence, that feels like an HBO show, to the last "what the?" moment, Virginia delivers a suspenseful, beautiful, and engaging experience that will leave players questioning what exactly happened in Kingdom, Virginia.
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