Horror/psychological thrillers are not a new concept to video games or movies, but until you strap on the PlayStation VR headset, you don’t feel completely immersed in the nightmare. Weeping Doll doesn’t feature cheap scare tactics but sets the mood for this game set inside a creepy Victorian style manor. Powered by the Unreal 4 engine, Weeping Doll has a very different feel to many of the games developed for the platform using Unity. There are so many subtle effects, such as the hanging chandelier reflecting in nearby paintings, to the dull weaving of smoke coming out of the fireplace, creating a gentle haze in the room. Seeing it on a Television is one thing, but the game feels so much different when you are literally standing inside the rooms using the PSVR.
Launching on October 27, 2016, just in time for Halloween, you take on the role of a maid returning to the eerie manor, except you can’t find any of the family members or children that live there. The entrance way to the residence sets the mood, as you look around the foyer, and see a creepy looking doll sitting auspiciously in the lone chair. Using the DualShock 4 controller, you can turn around using the shoulder buttons if needed, but you can teleport around the environment using the left stick. As you move the analog stick, you see a silhouetted outline of your character, complete with a stereotypical and periodic faithful maid uniform. Using your head and your body, you are capable of leaning around corners and changing your viewing angle, which I find to be the best way to immerse yourself in VR. This comes in handy when you teleport too close to an object, or a door and need to lean backward slightly to resituate yourself.
As you might expect, you need to solve puzzles in order to advance throughout the game, as you’ll come across a multitude of locked doors, cabinets, and desks. It almost has a Resident Evil vibe with the puzzles, without the flesh eating zombies. Once you pick up an item, such as a key or picture frame, you’ll see the maid hold them out in the hand used to grab it. With that said, you are able to hold two items at the same time in order to combine them together. This was used to place the correct doll heads on the matching doll bodies. If you no longer need an item, you can simply drop it on the ground. A picture frame held the combination to a closet door, and once memorized (or so I thought), I flung the picture frame to the ground. It was still in reach if needed, and I did happen to glance down at it for the final number that slipped my mind.
During my hands-on demo with the game, I was chasing one of the children that live in the house, a little black-haired girl in a white dress. I wasn’t able to squeeze any more story elements from Martho Ghariani from Oasis Games, but I am looking forward to exploring more of the mansion. I did find out that not all the doors in the manor can be opened when the game launches, as developer TianShe Media plans to add additional story content to the game after it launches.
Weeping Doll definitely leans towards the psychological side of the genre, as you’ll re-enter rooms only to find things appear out of place or come across dolls in unnatural locations. In fact, one of the dolls that I put together in a puzzle, reappeared in a bathtub full of water only this time it was life size. While peeing over the bathtub, I was expecting the doll to reach out for me, but thankfully it didn't animate, yet still kept its spooky demeanor.