Developer: Signal Space Lab
Perhaps I am missing the point here, but nothing was fun, nothing was engaging and everything was painfully boring to watch. This game single-handedly drives home the fact that 360-degree video experiences are not the future of video games, especially when it feels like a hugely amateur production with horrible attention to detail with their own intellectual property.
Afterlife falls into those cracks between game and cinematic creations and is worse for it. Without a UI or any indication on how to experience its branching narrative without blindly stumbling through it, it fails as a VR game. Without the set cinematic frame, of the direction that all standard movies have, you can miss some of the better moments in the because it’s going on behind or to the periphery of your vision. The performances and the more powerful moments of this experience make it easy to see it has been nominated for a number of high profile awards – but for me, this virtual voyeuristic experience lacks the clarity provided by the staples of either medium to really capitalise on its more powerful moments.
The concept of Afterlife is very interesting, combining FMV with hands-free choices whilst within VR. I’d say the producers did a great job of seamlessly transitioning you down the various pathways as I didn’t even realise there were branches until the timeline popped up. However, the lack of trophies for the ‘gamers’ and low-quality compressed video file reduced my overall enjoyment of this experimental experience, despite actually enjoying the story and being immersed at all times (once I turned off the subtitles so the 3D-mode was enabled).
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