I went into Weeping Doll with sweaty palms and the expectation that I’d be scared witless by the end of my playthrough. After 15 minutes I was nothing but a little bored, and by the end I was utterly disappointed.
Fair to say, then, that Weeping Doll isn’t going to be on my Game of the Year shortlist. The game is played out through the eyes of a house maid who is mooching around a big, supposedly empty house. Weeping Doll actually starts off quite strong in its opening five minutes or so with a genuinely creepy atmosphere, not to mention the bald, naked dolls that have taken up residence in the hallway.
From here it’s all downhill. The game is played using a DualShock 4 controller rather than the PS Move wands, and as a result it loses the ability to really draw you in by letting you have a good rummage through the game’s world. Instead you’re relegated to turning your head to look at things, and then picking up objects by pressing L2 and R2. It works fine enough but it’s a little fiddly at times and just doesn’t give you a fair reach into the world as some other PSVR games do.
The biggest problem in the controls department is movement. Put simply, it’s awful, and that’s putting it nicely. Instead of using the analogue stick to move through the world, you move a ghostly version of your self to the position you want to be in, then press X and you’ll be teleported to that position. It’s janky as hell and I never got used to this style of movement. Couple it with the fact that the game relies on your exploring and you’ve got a recipe for a poor player experience.
Poor controls aside, there is something that resembles a game with Weeping Doll, even if it’s only fleetingly. You’ll need to solve a few puzzles while moving awkwardly around the house, and there’s a story, too, but don’t get excited; it stinks, and so does the voice acting. Damn, I’m actually being really harsh, aren’t I? It’s not without reason, though, because Weeping Doll is simply not fun, nor is it very scary. Instead of giving players cheap thrills that at least elicit some kind of reaction, the game forgoes the traditional jump scares and what not in favour of odd bumps and bangs, little giggles from disembodied voices, and a bunch of dolls scattered around. I’m a bit of a pansy when it comes to horror games – I screamed with the Kitchen demo and even got the sweats at the end of Batman: Arkham VR, but Weeping Doll was laughable. For the first couple of minutes I was a little wary that if something does pop out at me, I can’t just look away, but that fear alleviated pretty soon.
It’s not all negative with Weeping Doll, but they do outweigh the very few positives. Presentation wise the game is pretty good, at least until you get up close to something, but from a distance it does a good job at presenting you with an eerie house. As mentioned before, the opening few minutes aren’t too bad and there’s definitely a bit of tension; it’s just a shame it couldn’t manifest itself into something good.
Weeping Doll - PS4/PSVR
Weeping Doll has the potential to be a thrilling little haunted house mystery game, but it ultimately falls at every major hurdle. The opening few minutes are interesting enough and seem to promise a proper little fright fest, but after playing through the game's meager 1-hour running time, there's just nothing there.
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