Transference – Enter A Corrupted Mind
Transference goes about introducing Raymond Hayes, a researcher at Harmony Labs, who has achieved the impossible, finding the key to Vita Eterna (Latin for Eternal Life).
For as long as we can remember, scientists have been theorizing about ways to achieve eternal life. With technology growing at exponential rates, one theory sounded more plausible than the others, transferring an entire cognitive system to a virtual space. Raymond Hayes has achieved true one-to-one consciousness replication and in Transference, you get a glimpse of that.
Webster defines transference as “the redirection of feelings and desires and especially of those unconsciously retained from childhood toward a new object.” In this instance, the game attempts to redirect the emotions of a broken family through a virtual world. It connects us to the Hayes family using Transference as a media and the musical score it features as an emotional enhancer.
Through the virtual reality headsets or your screens if you don’t have the technology yet, you go through important moments of the Hayes family. The idea is for you to “relive” some of the memories and feel the emotions that they have felt during those times. Their feelings and desires are both represented visually and melodiously.
Putting the Pieces Together
Transference is a narrative game with puzzles to solve in order to continue going forward. It mainly takes place in a house, the home of the Hayes family, where most of the members spent their time. As you find yourself solving a puzzle, access to certain areas, or rooms, will be restricted. The way the game was designed is to force you into finding the answer for the puzzle within the limitations you are given.
For what its worth, the puzzles are decent and don’t require much effort. Most of the time, the game will, in its own way, give you a hint for what you are looking for. Given the theme exploited in Transference, puzzles could have had a lot more spunk to them.
Put the piece together and escaped the corrupted mind!
Music is Key
In music, there are such elements people refer to as keys, tones, melody and more. In Transference, there is a significant focus on music as it is used to amplify the emotion being relayed to the player. There are five major features in music, some of which are used more than others to optimize this effect.
Loudness: This represents the amplitude of a sound. It associates with power. Louder sounds associate better with anger and other powerful negative emotions.
Tempo: This is the speed of the sound being played. Slower sounds have an affinity for calmer emotions such as sadness and serenity. Faster ones, however, tend to associate with stronger and more exciting emotions like happiness and anger.
Mode: This is also a synonym to tone. In music, keys set the tone. Minor tones associate darker feelings, like sadness and anger, while major tonality identifies with joy.
Melody: This string of sounds can either complement each other in a harmonic way or clash into one another. Harmony caters to relaxing feelings whereas chaos associated with the unpleasantness.
Rhythm: The ‘beat’ or pattern of a musical score defines the peacefulness of the music. The smoother and more regular the rhythm, the easier it is to associate it with more peace of mind emotions.
Being a game that goes through various periods of the Hayes’ life, there is all sorts of subtle changes to the musical score. Practically every emotion has a little spotlight. However, being somewhat of a horror game, Transference tends to have a little more chaos. Emotions such a fear, regret, anger, denial…darker emotions are prone to be represented. That said, the music and its frequencies used have an overall darker and irregular vibe. The experience with VR is a lot more intense in the sense that your senses from the real world are mostly cut off, giving you a stronger cognitive response to what you see and what you hear.
Missing File: review/object/visuals.doc
Transference has a strong auditive element that is crucial to the experiment hidden within the game. Forcing you to be a lot more receptive to certain feelings through the frequencies of sounds is indeed intense. Alone, however, they are practically meaningless.
The visuals adopted in this installment are quite surprising. The color tones change depending on the emotions felt by certain characters during a certain segment of their lives. The attraction here: darkness.
The colors used overall are indicators of the reality you are in. On one side, lighter color, but an emphasis on white and grey, and the other, filters of darkening tones with variations of dark yellows, reds, purples…hot colors on their darker tones basically.
Matched with the proper visual effects (such as motion blurs and glitching), musical backup and a script that sounds like a story coming from Stranger Things, the game puts you, the player on the front row seat of an emotional roller coaster.
An interesting addition to all of that must be the writing on the walls. As much as you would like to avoid them, you can’t. The drawing on the walls tell a story as well, and those hide a lot of secrets you might want to stay away from if you are weak-hearted.
A Deep Emotional Reach
Transference is in its own way unique in design. However, the colors and the general feeling addressed by the game reminds me strongly of P.T., the game released by Hideo Kojima. It sets itself apart thanks to its ability to manipulate your feelings and perception of emotions through music, frequencies, color and character tone.
The overall experience is a lot more satisfying on VR, but in terms of what the game is, I feel as though there is a lack of puzzle solving. The horror theme also could have been explored a little more. Those two components aren’t as satisfactory as they could have been, but where the game lacks, it makes up for it with its impeccable presentation and ability to reach players on an emotional level.
- Great VR Experience
- Good Storytelling
- Relatable Characters
- Impeccable Use of Sounds/Frequencies
- Weak Horror Elements
- Lack of Challenge
- Graphic / Sound10
- Lasting Appeal6
- Fun Factor7