As VR gaming enthusiasts, we have come to expect a few things. Chiefly, there are a large number of sadists in the VR gaming development ranks. There are the maniacs behind Resident Evil 7, to the monsters behind the first-person-shooter Farpoint, who discussed having the jumping spiders from that game crawling inside the players mask. Can you even imagine what that would have done to us?
Despite my completely normal aversion to anxiety, I loved those games. Nevermind that I still haven’t mustered the intestinal fortitude to finish RE7 in VR. That’s all about me and not that particular horror masterpiece.
With a lump in my chest and a piece of me screaming in protest, I volunteered to review The Exorcist: Legion VR, from Wolf and Wood Interactive, when a code arrived at Pure PlayStation HQ. The first three chapters are out (with the final two coming later this summer), and I’ve played them. Are they scary? Are they fun? Is Exorcist worth your hard-earned scratch? Take my hand, why don’t you, and I’ll tell you if these demons are worth your time.
The game got off to a rough start. As I booted up the game, it asked me to stand inside a square that was designated as the play area, so it could calibrate. The only problem was the square was about ten feet behind me. I reset the game, erased it from my hard drive, and redownloaded the game only to get hung up in the same spot repeatedly.
Finally, as a last-ditch effort, I booted up the game standing no more than a foot away from my tv and the PlayStation camera which rests on a stand another foot above my TV. It still suggested the game area was way behind me, but now I actually had enough room to walk backwards inside the designated area.
From there, the calibration started on its own, and my long national nightmare was over. Since then, I’ve booted up the game multiple times, and it has performed perfectly. I’m not sure what caused my problem, but I’m happy to say it’s been smooth sailing since then.
The story is this: you play as a homicide detective in the Boston Police Department working the late shift. You can walk around the department, hit up the coffee machine, the evidence room, the chief’s office, and, of course, your own office. Your office is where you’ll start each chapter. There will be reports scattered about your office that offer clues and backstory for each chapter.
As a detective, your job is to walk around each creepy and increasingly sadistic crime scene, carefully studying and logging the evidence. You can play The Exorcist: Legion VR with both the DualShock or the PS Move Controllers. The DualShock offers twin analog sticks to allow you to freely walk around in the tried and true manner in which gamers have been walking around fake worlds for generations. The downside is that you’re stuck with only one good hand, while the other hand just floats there, looking weird and getting in the way.
On the flip side, the Moves offer fairly decent hand tracking, allowing you to pick up each piece of evidence and inspect it as carefully as you need. Sadly, the navigation controls with Moves let us down. You move forward and backward pressing the left-hand square and X buttons respectively. You can turn and strafe by pressing the corresponding buttons on the right Move controller.
It’s a clumsy setup. Even when you think you have it down, the moment the you-know-what hits the fan, and it feels like you are literally going to die, you forget it all, and you end up spinning in circles or pulling out your phone.
The control scheme is reminiscent of the controls in the PSVR port of Raw Data. They work, but, in my opinion, they would have been better served to use the Skyrim Move control scheme. Despite the less than ideal movement controls, I preferred the Move controllers so I could freely use both hands.
As with most (if not all) VR games, the default movement is teleport, and I used that only for a moment. It worked fine, but, if a game offers full locomotion, that’s what I’m using. They also offer smooth turning, along with snap turning in several different degrees. I usually choose smooth turning, but, like the walk speed, the turning is extremely slow. In this case, the snap turning of 45 degrees suited my play style.
The walking speed is painfully slow, and, prepare yourself, comfort-setting haters – the FOV blinders are locked on whenever you’re moving. Field of view blinders are the cone of darkness that surrounds your vision when you move. It’s designed to curb motion sickness, and it works. The problem is that it obstructs your view, darkens the game, and can be immersion breaking. It’s a bit frustrating when you don’t need the blinders to keep from blowing chunks, but you can’t turn them off. I’m guessing they will patch in an option to remove them, but, for now, they are locked.
With that stuff out of the way, the game looks really good, and the music and ambient noise is great. And by great, I mean scary as hell. You could argue that most of the really scary stuff is ultimately jump scares, but, if you take the task of solving each of these mysteries seriously, then each of the jump scares is well-earned.
The downside is that after you’ve played each of the short chapters, it’s not nearly as scary, effectively killing most of the replayability. The first mission took a little more than a half hour, mainly due to acclimating myself to the controls. The other two chapters took a little less time. Although some missed collectables kept me from 100% completion, I’m not sure I will bother going back.
Each of the chapters got better, with unique settings and circumstances. Most importantly, they were as scary as anything I’ve ever played. So, on that score, The Exorcist: Legion VR delivers in spades. I’m not sure it’s the best value at seven dollars a chapter and barely lasting thirty minutes.
If you like horror games, and especially The Exorcist source material, then it would probably be worth your time. For everyone else, hold out for a sale and maybe a patch or two.
Review: The Exocist: Legion PSVR Review
The Exorcist: Legion VR looks great and is scary as hell. Each chapter clocks in at around a half hour, so there isn't much bang for your buck, and both control schemes leave plenty of room for improvement, but if you love Horror games and/or William Peter Blatty's source material, then I think The Exorcist: Legion VR is worth your time and your money.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4.
When Jeremy isn’t writing books or playing video games, he’s living his life one random movie references at a time.