PSVR Review Code Provided by Signal Space Lab
While many films out there provide an emotional experience through a story told through the directors vision, it isn’t often that viewers get the chance to play the role of co-director. Signal Space Lab had this exact opportunity in mind when they made Afterlife, a VR-only viewer experience available on Steam and PSVR. Giving us a dramatic setting, we follow a story from the midst of it all while making choices, both knowingly and subconsciously.
After a tragic event takes place within the Doust family, each of the remaining members are left to learn to coupe and move forward. However, death isn’t something that is easy to get past and can sometimes take a toll too large to overcome. Now the family is left to struggle through this hard time and attempt to mend their relationships with each other as well.
While this VR experience is mostly a movie to experience, there is some light gameplay to be noted. This gameplay lies solely on the choice based moments that take place throughout the game. The story line is broken up between a variety of different path ways, all able to be followed given the player makes the correct decision to do so.
Decision making is done in one of two ways: knowingly and subconsciously. Here are how both of these work:
- Making a decision Knowingly is when the movie will pause and a series of options will appear on the screen around you. Once you point your controller or move stick in that direction and hit the interaction button, the choice will be made and that pathway of the movie will begin to play.
- Making a decision Subconsciously is when the movie is currently playing and who, or what, you are paying attention to will decide how the story progresses. This is an interesting mechanic and made for an interesting experience as simply paying more attention to a different character gave a whole different scene or pathway for the story to progress through.
At the end of each chapter, a pathway screen will appear. This will show you the pathway you took by highlighting each segment while showing you all the other options that you could have taken. This also shows you how to get to different set ups and scenes in the story, so that in a future playthrough you can make sure to focus on the right character or make a specific decision.
Afterlife is a choice based VR-only movie experience. It requires multiple playthroughs in order to see all the endings and the different events that could take place. If you ask me, there are two happy endings and one bad ending to the story. But it has replayability as up-until you see all the endings and scenes that you wanted to see.
What Could Be Better
It would have been nice to have a chapter select option after you complete the game. Even if it would have been based on my last playthrough of the story, it forces you to start from the beginning of the whole movie in order to get to the point you want to see the other option being picked. While this isn’t too big of a deal since the movie length isn’t very long, it would have been nice to jump to the point I was interested in instead of having to restart.
If you are looking for an emotional drama movie that you can control, then Afterlife is the perfect movie-game for you. It features a short movie with pretty decent acting and makes you feel like you are there through this families struggles. The unique choice-making mechanic and new game style makes this more than just a new title, but a new direction they are taking the genre. Simply put, it is a well made, unique experience worth both the time and money.