Torn is the latest virtual reality walking simulator, with puzzles sprinkled in which sets it apart from the likes of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Gone Home and What Remains of Edith Finch. You take on the role of a journalist, Katherine Patterson, who stumbles across a mansion in the woods and decides to start exploring. As it turns out this abandoned old mansion is owned by Dr Lawrence Talbot, a well-known, long missing scientist who appears in spirit form throughout your journey. The narrative is mysteriously intriguing and will have you itching to know more, whilst the simple puzzles add a calming nature to the setting. The combination of the two creates an enjoyable experience that you’ll want to see through to the very end.
As you explore the mansion you’ll come across lines covering every room which have gaps that need filling, you must find specific objects to connect every line and complete the circuit. Once the entire circuit is complete in a room, it will power on a sciency machine invented by Talbot which will send you to The Parallel. This is a spirit world where Talbot will narrate more stories to you, filling you in on the mysteries of the mansion and what happened there; we won’t say much more in fear of spoiling it. The puzzles themselves are very basic and require minimal brain cells to finish, it’s a real shame as a little challenge would have made these conundrums far more satisfying to solve and improve the whole experience.
The game will last around 5 hours from start to finish and the majority of your time will be spent completing the various circuitry puzzles however there are moments of exploration and narration which are very welcome breaks from the overly simplistic stimulants.
The controls are well implemented with a wide variety of options. You can opt to use move controllers or the standard Dualshock 4; use free movement or teleportation, whatever you feel is most comfortable. All of the options available mean you’ll most likely find a variation that feels comfortable for you and won’t experience any motion sickness. We opted for move controllers and free movement which allowed us to walk wherever we wanted and interact with any object easily; it was silky smooth with no issues whatsoever.
Visually Torn is nothing special but it does stand out in terms of detail added to environments where other VR titles have opted for a bland and simple option. All the rooms are full of objects to interact with and it gives off a very homely feeling. There are tables with vases on, chairs covered in books, bottles in wine racks, you get the idea, the environment is jam packed full of interactive items to keep you entertained. The sound is equally detailed with ambience building tension at some points and music playing softly in the background at other points to create a calming atmosphere.
Torn is a very solid virtual reality, narrative puzzle game with a mysteriously intriguing story and impressively detailed environments. Although the core gameplay is enjoyable it lacks any sort of depth or difficulty making the entire 5 hour journey a very simple stroll with very little satisfaction. We’re very Torn on whether to recommend this title but if you’re a fan of heavily narrative driven games then you’ll certainly enjoy what this title has to offer.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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