Creepy is the first vibe you get when booting up Transference by Ubisoft. The initial starting segments of even the load up screen giving off a cheesy 90’s horror film vibe.
The game continues down this road within the first opening moments of gameplay. In which you start in a world that is eerily reminiscent of the upside down in Stranger Things and immediately had me reaching for the ESC key on my keyboard. Upon finding my big boy pants, I was able to traverse forward into the world. As I did so, I found small jump scares around surprising corners and a small but well thought out script.
Let me start by saying that if you are looking for any type of hack and slash horror game than Transference is not for you. The game plays out like an interactive story and obviously wasn’t meant for those of us who enjoy games like Resident Evil or the like. That said, while short, Transference still has something to offer in terms of enjoyability due to its storytelling. If you are a gamer who liked Firewatch and just could enjoy interacting with the environment as it tells you a story – then Transference is for you.
Without giving away to much, Transference is a game where you find yourself within a corrupted VR simulation. The corrupted data is seemingly constructed from the memories of its’ creator Raymond, his wife, and his son. As you interact with the world you begin to glean bits and pieces of their family history, which seems to match the darkness of the world. For as the story unfolds, you begin to realize it’s hardly a warm cozy nuclear family that we are witnessing.
To progress forward in the game, players must fix corrupted pieces of memories that are scattered throughout the world. This allows you to continue forward, but also seemingly calls an odd shadowy figure to chase you throughout the halls of the families old apartment. This shadowy figures appearance more than once had me back around a corner in an attempt to hide from him, all to no avail.
While traversing through the world, you can also find little video segments that are seemingly small memories that have been stored within the world. These videos feature live actors, as do all memories scattered throughout the world, and add to the storytelling of the game quite well. The memories allow gamers to piece together what happened to this family, and how far they have fallen due to Raymond’s search for brilliance. While some memories merely are troubling, such as a fight between parents, others are far more alarming, such as Raymond in a panicked state and slightly covered in blood, all while apologizing profusely.
The audio of the game is quiet when necessary, but always has you listening to one member of the family. Their regrets and their hopes plain for you to hear. All of which adds to this sense of urgency, and underlying fear, that perhaps something is out to not only get them but you as well.
All in all, Transference is a really short game and a good jump scare for those of you who have the time and a little extra cash laying around – as the game only costs $24.99 USD.
I do feel I should remind gamers that the game is very short. As long as you go in aware that it isn’t going to be long, and not action packed, you can leave feeling satisfied – mostly. I do feel that the story could have been drawn out more, and the why’s of Raymond’s madness could have been explained better. This would allow us to delve even farther into the characters and their stories. Much like Firewatch by studio Campo Santo, I was hoping for a game that slowly played off my fears and lead me down the rabbit hole, only to pull the rug out beneath me. However this is the first time I’ve seen Ubisoft really take a step in this direction, and that said I think it’s a good first attempt.