Maybe it’s just me, but if I approached a spooky manor that’s doors seemingly opened on their own to let me in, I’d just walk away. Why uncover whatever frightening horrors lie within? I’d rather go home, grab a blanket, and chill out with Netflix without the worry of ghosts constantly jumping out at me.
Well, in AFFECTED: The Manor you’re given no choice, and instead explore an eerie manor full of terrifying sights, possessed dolls, and a spooky girl (wouldn’t be a horror game without one, right?) who’s always happy to show her face and frighten the life out of you. It’s been around on the virtual reality scene for some time, but it’s finally brought its satisfying scares over to PlayStation VR and it makes for a frighteningly memorable experience.
One thing that’s worth mentioning from the get-go is that AFFECTED: The Manor is more of a ‘haunted house experience’ than anything else. You shouldn’t go expecting a ton of involving gameplay, because all you’ll be doing is walking through a series of rooms and experiencing the frights that come with them. There’s no running or hiding from ghosts and ghouls either, so it doesn’t even play like a conventional horror game in that sense. Those who want a bona fide VR horror game will want to stick to Resident Evil 7, but those who just want to be scared with minimal player interaction? They’ve come to the right place.
So I’m a big fan of horror and it has automatically made AFFECTED: The Manor one of my favourite PlayStation VR experiences. You’re armed with just a torch (that seems to cut out quite often) and are sent to explore this eerie manor, which just so happens to be full to the brim with frights. Sometimes they’ll jump out at you, sometimes you’ll hear them around you (the sound design is both great and terrifying), whilst other times they’ll slowly appear in front of you as you stare at a seemingly inanimate object – AFFECTED: The Manor’s scares come in all different forms.
The thing is, they’re best experienced first-hand and not spoilt for you in a review. There are so many frightening things which happen in AFFECTED: The Manor that I’m busting to talk about but doing so would ruin the surprise, which is what makes the game so good to begin with.
It might be worth mentioning that there are a lot of jump scares though, which are pretty divisive in the horror game community. Fortunately, they don’t feel cheap here since the game is intentionally designed to keep frightening you, and they certainly did their job of making me jump out of my skin and let out a shriek on more than a few occasions. Fortunately, there’s a good balance of psychological scares thrown in for good measure too, so you’ll always have a tense and unnerving feeling whilst exploring the manor anyway. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted.
The team at Fallen Planet Studios deserve some praise for making AFFECTED: The Manor look so good, with plenty of genuinely eerie sights to uncover that manage to look detailed and clear in the PlayStation VR headset. There is a slightly pixely look on show when staring at the darkness, though that’s pretty common in gloomy games like this – thankfully, when your torch is shining or you’re in a well-lit room everything looks clear. The team have done a good job in offering a location to explore that not only feels authentic but also manages to terrify at the same time, whilst the fact that the visuals are absolutely on point makes the whole thing feel all the more believable.
AFFECTED: The Manor has a basic control scheme in place with the DualShock controller the only option available. You’ll use the left stick to walk around and the right stick for smooth turning – those who find incremental turning at fixed angles more comfortable can use the face buttons, though the slow speed of movement in the game should ensure that most people don’t feel nauseous when moving around anyway. It’s one of those games where your path is mostly a clear and straight one too, which is a lot easier on the stomach – there is one twisty room that might cause a few issues for those who aren’t acclimatised to virtual reality, but for the most part it’s easy going for both newbies and veterans to the hardware.
It won’t take gamers long to beat AFFECTED: The Manor, with just two routes to take that last around ten to fifteen minutes each. There are two different endings to find per route too, though all they really change is where you experience the final scare as opposed to the playthrough as a whole. It’s definitely worth checking each ending out, though you can probably expect to see everything that AFFECTED: The Manor has to offer within an hour.
That sort of short length might be an issue for some gamers, though the fact that the game costs less than a fiver to purchase ensures you get plenty of bang for your buck. Plus, the ability to watch your friends and family get frightened by the game ensures there’s plenty of hours of entertainment to be had long after you’ve finished it too, which is always a big plus.
Developer: Fallen Planet Studios
Publisher: Fallen Planet Studios
Platform(s): PlayStation VR (Reviewed), HTC Vive, Oculus Rift