Ubisoft's New Thriller Transference Isn't Very Thrilling

Stacie Ponder

It is spooky to traverse through the simulated reality of the psychological thriller Transference, but it feels like countless spooky experiences I’ve had before. Scientist Raymond Hayes has created the means by which a human consciousness can be uploaded to a digital simulation. To test his experiment, Hayes uploaded the brain data of himself, his wife, and his young son. Predictably, this alternate reality goes haywire, and players must enter this glitched dimension to discover the fate of the Hayes Family. If you’ve played any of the exploratory adventure games of the last few years (often derisively known as “walking simulators”), then Transference will feel overly familiar, a bit like Soma, Gone Home, Layers of Fear, and P.

T. mashed into one. You see the game world in a first-person view. You interact with objects and find video logs that will provide background information and provide some puzzle clues. You walk down hallways, figure out how do open locked doors, and solve a mystery.

You’ll encounter a few scares along the way. The most unusual feature is the mix of live-action footage in computer-generated environments. The story, too, is filled with recognizable tropes: A brilliant, eccentric man doesn’t feel recognized by the world at large. He becomes obsessed with his work and neglects his family. His wife gives up her career to support him and regrets it.

His growing mania puts everyone in danger. Disappointingly, it hits all the same old beats and plays out as you’d expect it to.

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