Layers of Fear PSVR Review (PS5). - EllexMay

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Monday, 10 May 2021

Layers of Fear PSVR Review (PS5).


Publisher:  Bloober Team
Developer: Incuvo
PSVR PS5 Review

*Disclaimer: I was sent the code for this game in return for a review, all opinions are mine and mine alone. 

Playing horror games is something I tend to avoid because of how panicked it makes me feel, there are however exceptions to this and one of them has been Layers of Fear on PSVR. I wanted to try and immerse myself in the tension and horror that comes with this game just to see how well I cope for once, this was both a good and bad idea because I liked the game overall but hated what came with it and that was how badly VR sets off my motion sickness and vertigo, I pushed through in the end to see where Layers of Fear would take me in the end. 


From what I knew about the game before was that its not your typical horror it's more of a physiological thriller that definitely freaked me out from the very moment I started playing, you play as a tortured painter I walked around my house which turned out being a lot bigger the more I explored the rooms. My mind would play tricks on me and walls would extend, rooms would get smaller whilst strange things around me would appear. I have never played the game before so playing it for the first time on VR was probably more scary for me as I was so close to what was going on around me, my first play through was ended abruptly due to the game freezing, I left it and came back to it the next day and worked fine again.


The storyline began to unfold before my very eyes, it was pretty easy to grasp without collecting all of the notes around the house, the masterpiece you're working on seems like the most important thing in the your life right now whilst his family takes the back seat in his life, it's clear it's affected them to a point where his wife is fed up, with the added complication of a child to the mix his paintings start to mean more to him that his own family. The main focus is collecting what you need to finish your painting there are 6 cupboard doors in the room where your canvas stands, each time you collect the right material a door will unlock and inside you will find written words with what you have collected in order to finish your painting. I did feel slightly panicked at times, when walls would move in or move out it made me feel uneasy and brace myself for what would happen next.

At times you would come across a creepy figure that I avoided as much as I could throughout the whole of my gameplay but since playing I've seen that some people are caught by it and from the looks of it they die and come back to life. I'm not sure what possessed me to avoid its presence but I do know that I didn't fancy being more scared than I already was, it would have made me panic a lot more if I had chosen to keep the visions on but due to how sensitive I am to the motion I turned it off like instructed when I first booted up the game. Puzzle solving was easier than I first thought, I only had to look up a guide for one of the puzzles and even then I realised how obvious it was to solve, I would have prefered if they were a little more challenging to be honest.


I spent a lot of my time walking around the corridors and getting a feel of how the game mechanics works until it suddenly mixes things up with unsettling sounds and rooms changing around me the more I turn in circles, the name of the game goes well with it as it builds up on it's layers of fear you experience but to be honest I felt scared the first half more than anything. I personally felt I would have experienced playing Layers of Fear normally rather than with the VR as I constantly had issues and freezes when trying to open doors, pick up certain objects etc. At one point there was a vial on the floor and I just couldn't pick it up, the game wouldn't allow me to until I stood awkwardly at an angle in the game to reach down and pick it up. 

Although I turned off the visions to help motion sickness there were instances where some of the visuals would cause me to have to stop playing or I would look at the ground to compose myself, due to this it took me about 5 hours to finish the game in intervals over a period of a week as I had to prepare myself. I wish there was an option to use the game controller instead of the VR controllers as I found them difficult to control, especially moving my head, body and the walking forward it was very tedious for someone like me with bad hand eye coordination. There are 3 endings to this game, I was a little confused with the one I had at first but I looked around the rooms until I found what I needed to pick up to trigger the trophy for a conclusive ending, there was no inkling what to do after I had finished my painting so be sure to have a good look around if you get the ending I'm referring to.


There are  options to be able to sit and play which left me relieved as I can't stand for long period of times, my main issue were the VSVR wands, they were clunky to use, the buttons took me a while to get the hang of, here are my VR tips when playing Layers of Fear: 

  • I firmly kept my feet on the ground with a fan pointed at me to help the motion sickness, I get overheated due to motion sickness so the fan brought my temperature back down stopping me from feeling like I was about to be sick.
  • Wear something light, it will help with the overheating.
  • Keep a cold drink next to you to sip on, having hard boiled sweets to suck on help too.
  • Set the game to seated mode, there was no way I would have been able to cope with playing if I was stood up.
  • Take breaks, it's ok if you can only play in small intervals.
  • Turn off the visions, they will make it a lot harder for your head to stop spinning.
  • VR games usually state to clear the area around you, for me I had to have a coffee table to the left of my feet and one to the right of me as a feeling around me with too much space made me feel off balance and more dizzy. 

Overall I enjoyed Layers of Fear, the story was interesting but it's not something I would want to play on VR again, I would probably play the second game without it just because how nauseous it made me feel. It's a shame playing it in VR ruined my experience, hopefully other players never ran into the same kind of issues as me.


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