The Exorcist: Legion VR came out of nowhere for me as I hadn’t been following its development and I’ve not heard of it previously due to not really being the biggest VR horror fan. However, as soon as I saw it was available something within me took control and before I knew what was going on, I had received a code for me to review. Developer Wolf & Wood set out to create a truly immersive world in which you will jump, scream, cry, and cower within, and it’s just my luck that they succeeded in every aspect! As a person who can’t even play Rush of Blood all the way through, due to it scaring the hell out of me, The Exorcist: Legion VR is on a whole other level and literally had me on the floor shouting at virtual demons!
So, is the game really as horrifying as I think it is, or is it just me? Let’s jump in and find out why I ended up shaking a lot and had to take breaks mid-game…
**All images are taken from a recording of the social screen – the game is much clearer in VR**
The Exorcist: Legion VR is presented as five episodes, with the first three available on PSVR now and the rest coming soon. You don’t actually play the role of a priest within the game, as you would probably expect when playing a game based on The Exorcist. Instead, the game is based on The Exorcist III: Legion. You play as a homicide detective from the Boston PD who just so happens to be working late and is about to experience a few cases which will leave him, and you, scarred for life.
Your role, as a detective, is to investigate various crime scenes and spooky buildings as you search for evidence and make notes of the sadistic events. Each chapter holds a new location for you to travel to with each one being more intense and horrific than the last. In the three chapters that are currently out on PSVR, you will find yourself investigating the ‘suspicious’ death of a priest, travelling to an isolation ward of a secure hospital, and facing off against Lilith as you’re surrounded by mannequins in the pitch darkness!
The Exorcist: Legion VR definitely isn’t for the weak of heart or those who don’t like jump scares and intense horrifying wtf moments! The VR also emphasises and enhances the overall experience beyond any measurable amount. However, not everything is peachy as there are a few issues I had whilst playing the game, which I’ll get into down below…
First things first, I’m going to mention a few things here which the developer has already addressed as being looked at in terms of ‘known issues’ and ‘requests’. For all the information directly from the developers regarding what they are taking a look at, head on over here: Official Website. They basically have three elements which are key points – Calibration, Comfort and Movement Speed. If I mention anything they have on the list then I’ll advise so.
The first thing I try and talk about when reviewing a VR game is its controls and how easy it is to get into the game. I’ve seen online that some people have had issues when initially calibrating their zero-point location on the PSVR but I never experienced any issues. However, I played the game sat down due to a back injury I have, but the game does recommend you play it stood up, so that might be why the calibration worked fine for me? Who knows? The solution that most people have found is, if you are initially calibrating, turn on the game with you standing right in front of your camera and then walk back until you land on the spot it wants you on. Once it’s done this once, you’ll never be asked to do it again either. This is an issue that is being looked at though.
In regards to the controls, I’m not a fan – and both ‘Comfort’ and ‘movement speed’ updates cover what I’m about to say. If you’ve read my Doom VFR review then you’ll know that I’m quite picky about my VR controls. I like to use the Move controllers but I want full access to both hands as well as the ability to move and look in any direction, whether seated or standing. The Exorcist: Legion VR worked great in some aspects and not in others. The great part is the hands – both work independently, you can pick up pretty much anything you see, and they work exactly how you would expect. The bad things are movement, looking, and using your inventory.
Okay, so maybe ‘bad’ isn’t the right word, but they sure are clunky. One of the things I really didn’t like was the inventory management as it felt clunky and hard to operate when under stress and a demonic attack. You basically rotate your various items around your left hand and then grab the items with your right hand. Things like your crucifix and holy water are stored in a case which you must select, then open, then grab in order to use – a process you instantly forget once you really need to grab the bloody cross! I think I swore at my left hand whilst playing this game at least 30 times for not giving me the item I wanted/needed. However, my mate who likes VR horror games didn’t have as many issues with it as me as he remained calm under the pressure – I think I just get a bit freaked out too easily!
When moving in The Exorcist: Legion VR, you walk very slow. The developers have said this is by design as they want you to explore and take your time whilst looking through the various areas. I fully understand and get that, but when you are trying to move away from a demonic being and you’re just strolling along, it doesn’t feel right. Also, the game uses blinders – a lot – and we know what the VR community thinks of blinders! Again though, the developers said Sony advised the game had to have blinders in it, which is strange as I can name numerous VR games which move much faster which don’t have blinders that can’t be removed if the user wishes to turn them off.
By default, the blinders will be active if you use free movement whilst walking around and if you have smooth-turning on and turn around. If you opt to rotate at a set angle with the push of a button, you can opt to turn the blinders off and teleporting obviously blacks out the screen for a fraction of a second as it moves your character. Hopefully we’ll see the blinders come off at some point, but until then I found using the move controllers with free movement and a 45-degree quick-turn worked fine. You can also use the DS4 instead if you wish, but I just used double Move controllers instead. Oh, this game also has something I’ve only ever seen in Skyrim VR – a crouch button!
Okay, with the negativity and my own personal grievances with The Exorcist: Legion VR out of the way, I think it’s time to talk about something I’ve said before but It’s going to be a while to beat this time – this game looks amazing in VR on the PS4 Pro! No lie, the game looked like a non-VR game in VR – not as in it looked flat (because it didn’t, it looked perfect), but as in the visuals are so clear and sharp, you can read all the text with no issues, you can make out tiny details, and the horror elements are even more horrific thanks to the amazing quality the game is. I seriously spent about 15-20 minutes in the police station at the beginning just reading things, picking stuff up, wandering around, and trying to stop saying “OMG, this looks great”.
I’ve seen some great VR games recently and I still believe either Sony has done something to boost the quality of PSVR via the PS4 Pro or more developers are using supersampling in order to clean up the image in the headset. The last game I saw that looked amazing was Along Together, which still is amazing, but that was in a cartoony art style, The Exorcist: Legion VR is modelled out of realistic graphics and setting and it does not fail to deliver an outstanding looking game.
Combined with the perfect use of ambient sounds, whispers, noises all around you, music, and overall atmospheric sounds – you’ll be lucky to find another game on the PSVR which injects this much dread and fear in you. I’ve not played Resident Evil 7 in VR but my mate has and even he agrees that the perfectly planned-out jumpscares and horror elements at times are more frightening than RE7. I would even go as far as to say this game freaked me out more than Paranormal Activity and the Inpatient, and they really creeped me out.
Each chapter will take you around 30 minutes each to complete which for me was perfect as it meant I wasn’t being scared to death for very long! However, my mate was a bit shocked when the chapter came to an end as he felt it was just starting to get interesting. With that being said though, as I said before, each episode is more intense and interesting than the last so you are getting a really high-quality game for your money here. Although, once you’ve played the game and know where the jump scares are going to happen the game isn’t as bad on subsequent playthroughs as you locate and gather any items you may have missed.
So, if we are to presume that all of the chapters are about 30 minutes long, that means for £24.99 you get around 3.5 hours of intense scares followed by about the same amount of time looking for items and admiring the overall design of the game. So about seven to eight hours of gameplay for the completionist without a guide isn’t that bad – I’ve played games that are much shorter! I guess it all boils down to what you want from a game. Do you want more playtime for your money or would you rather invest in one of the best looking PSVR titles on the platform with genuine scares? Also, if you’re like me, you wouldn’t be able to handle more than about 30 minutes of the game at a time anyway!
Official Trailers [Playlist]:
The Exorcist: Legion VR is the scariest game of the year so far on PS4/PSVR. The developers have gone above and beyond and delivered a game that not only achieved what it set out to do (scare the pants off you) but also looks amazing in the process as well. I’m not a fan of the clunky control scheme and the blinders are something I would like to see less of (pun intended) due to the fact a large majority of us don’t get motion sick and would rather play the game with no restrictions. Although, if you love your horror games and you have a PSVR, Vive or Rift headset, then it’s a no-brainer really – you will love the game and get so much sadistic entertainment out of it.
If you’re still on the fence though, you can pick up the first episode, try it out, and then either buy the other episodes separately or as a pack. Just remember to close your windows and tell anyone in hearing distance that you’re about to play it, otherwise, your neighbours may knock on asking if you’re okay – just like mine did… twice!
The Exorcist: Legion VR£24.99
- Simply the best graphics in PSVR to date
- Very interesting story with each chapter covering a completely different aspect of the game
- Immersive and creepy soundtrack and sound effects
- Very, very scary and high quality gameplay
- You can interact with pretty much anything you can see in the virtual world
- Each episode is technically about 30 minutes long (so some people may wish it was longer)
- Once you've played through it once, the jumps aren't as impactful anymore
- Walking speed, Blinders and calibration isn't great - but all being looked at by the devs
- The inventory can be pretty clunky when you're trying to access it in a hurry