DISCLAIMER: “This game contains realistic depictions of violence, which can be very disturbing. Also, note that some of its themes revolve around alcohol and drug abuse. Some of its content may not be appropriate for all ages. Player discretion is advised.”
Hey, Gamerz! I am continuing my month-long journey of playing spooky games because nothing says Halloween like some spooky games. I know that some people, including myself, tend to stray away from eerie games. I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and play some spooky games. Today I will be diving into Visage, a new game that just became available on Steam. Once I saw the stunning visuals in the trailer, I knew that I needed to review this game.
What is Visage…
Visage is a psychological survival horror and boy is it a mind-f&$#. You find yourself in a vacant room in an empty house. Prior to being left alone, you are forced to watch a gruesome scene unfold in front of your eyes. It is unclear who you are or why you are here but the only thing to do is to find your way out.
Visage has a sound structure. That being said, you never know what will happen during each stage of the game. The first stage is exploration. The goal is to understand your surroundings. Opening doors, collecting items, and turning on lights allow you to map the house out while also achieving that eerie feeling that you are not alone. While traversing, you will get inside your own head, radios and televisions turn on at will and light bulbs explode. This affects your character’s sanity. Losing sanity, at first has an ambiguous effect on you, leaving its true identity for later in the game.
Once you learn the layout of your surroundings, you find your next goal. You see some doors that are locked and require a specific key. Likewise, you could be presented with a location that the game obviously wants you to find. Regardless of the task at hand, taking the next step is up to you. This is where curiosity meets fear. You want to move forward but at the same time, your uncertainty is what is stopping you.
In Visage, you are defenseless. Of course, if you can fight back you lose some feeling of vulnerability. You can, however, run like a b&%@!. You are armed with a lighter, camera, and pills. If darkness is your enemy, you are fit to slay the best of them!
You can pick up some objects in the world and play around with them on a 3-D plane. Most of the things are just detailed objects without any real significance. Sometimes, the objects have some importance or are hiding a key item behind it. The game does a great job at making sure you are allowed to backtrack to find some item for progression. However, the longer it takes you to find your way forward the more likely you are to be haunted. Following the well-placed clues will lead you in the right direction but it isn’t as easy as walking forward. This is why the exploration phase is crucial to your gameplay experience. Calling back on an item or a door you have seen before may be the solution that will save you time. In a game where time is your enemy, taking in the surroundings may save you from being terrorized down the line.
You are just a bystander as the story unwinds violently around you. Everything in this carefully designed environment seemly has a purpose, yet you don’t understand what the purpose pertains to. The clock reads 3:33 at all times, you are frozen in time. The rain is coming down and life goes on around you. The floors are littered with newspapers. You are the only living being in the house but you do not feel alone. With each step forward, there is an uncanny feeling that you belong here. That you once lived here. That you are experiencing this on an infinite loop.
With progression comes change. Following the beckoning calls of the environment will bring you to a new location in time where there is no going back. Subtle changes bring on more difficulty. While the games itself doesn’t have a health bar or a timer counting down, your understanding of the world will become more difficult to determine. Light sources will become scarce and more predators will creep around the grounds. The only way out is to continue on your path of discovery. By obtaining the truth you will become liberated of the timeless plane.
I want to see more from this game. Since it is still in early access, some parts of the house are not yet available. They leave me prying for more. Like I said above, I tend to stray from scary games. Cheap tricks and pesky jump scares never give me enough to warrant a playthrough. Visage, however, does more than give you a thrill. It has an elegant setting that encourages you to investigate. Subtle changes bring attention to specific areas that you may have one time just strolled through gaining no real benefit only to find out that there was something significant to your progression. I strongly recommend this game to any horror enthusiasts. Visage is a truly beautiful game that deserves the same amount of attention that the developers put into it. I can’t wait to experience more once it is updated with more content.