Have you ever felt sorrow and even though you had loved ones around you, you still felt alone? But if one of those loved ones that you cared so much about passed away, would emotions such as sadness, sorrow, depression, or even maybe regretfulness be felt? For some, any of these could be a possibility or more. But what happens when you need to have that escape? What if you’re in a pandemic like we are now, how do you think you would handle it all? These are all really good questions that hopefully you do not have to encounter. But does Developer Recluse Industries shows us how to escape if it were to happen or to really think about it all? I will answer it now…yes, they do. Let’s find out more with Separation for the PlayStation VR.
In Separation, you are welcomed to a dark room with no reason why you are there. The only thing you see besides the walls and the door, is this compartment that with the press of a button reveals a bed and on that bed a teddy bear. It’s when you pick up that bear that the mysterious whispering voice is calling out in way that you want to follow to see where it leads and some how guides you on this journey to the unknown.
But it’s when the door opens and you walk out and see this world that sets up the tone the really draws you in. The world just from the looks of it, has a story to tell before really getting into everything. A story that was full of life and hope only to now have the emptiness that one feels from the inside when something so dear to them leaves an empty void that in hopes can someway, some how be filled to a fraction of what it used to be. As my steps took a forward motion questioning what did I leave from and why am here that kept me really intrigued as something of my own personal experience was almost being awakened when I tried so hard to put it behind me.
Using the DualShock 4 controller, you will use the X button to interact with objects and puzzles while looking in the direction you want to go. As big as the world is in Separation and as you can pretty much take your time and just explore for as long as you would like, you will want to pay attention to a few things. For one, the voice that keeps whispering to you when are you getting close to certain parts. Second, there are these beams to be on the lookout for where lights will shoot leading you to the next beam. Sometimes it can be a simple path while others may lead you to a puzzle in which you will need to solve in order for that light to lead you to the next destination. I will say that there are a few puzzles that some may find to be challenging, but do not let that discourage you from experiencing Separation as I found them more of a representation of the struggles I personally had than the actual puzzle element.
The journey within Separation does seem like it can go on for a quite a while and just exploring by foot for some may have some wondering, but I will say that there are different ways that you will be moving, but I do want to spoil anything for anyone as it is part of the journey to explore to find the meaning. With that said, I will say that traveling by boat (not really spoiling anything) and watching the way the lights reflect off the water when it’s day time or just the peacefulness when it’s night time is really breathtaking. There were times where I would just stand or sit and just be in awe of this world.
But I do want to talk about the boat for a moment. As calm as it was to be on the water, the controlling of the boat was not as smooth all the time as I had the speed, but because you need to look and the direction and even with the click turning of the DualShock 4 controller, I did run into walls on more than one occasion only to then have to make a turn in order to get to where I needed to go. But once you can figure out the movement, you start to get the hang of things. So just don’t be in too much of a rush and enjoy the immersion.
What you also want to be on the lookout for are what appears to be statues that located over the world as sorrows are within each of them. You will need to find all the sorrows in order to be able to get to the end. Each sorrow will have a different saying that has a meaning. I will give you one hint, that in order to get one of the sorrows, it will have to be the right time of the day, but I will let you figure out for yourself.
Let’s talk about the sound. From the moment I took my first steps all the way to the very end, the ambient music and sounds made me feel right at home. Hearing the crows in the distance (which you will want to go check out any time you hear or see them) mixed in with the music just added the right amount of distraction (in a good way) as I knew I had to go check something out, but the music and path also piqued my interest. Looking at the graphics, as I mentioned earlier, I was in awe many times just from the art direction alone. Sure in the distance you one could look and say that’s flat, but I was more focusing on what was around me, and even with the far off distances, it just gave me as much hope as I could not wait to see it all.
If anything I would like to see added is maybe some additional control options from turning, (walking speed you can adjust in the settings), to maybe using the Move controllers or even add the ability to use the 3DRudder for those that have one. I am sure these details can be added with an update that I hope gets added. If not, Separation is still enjoyable.
For someone that lost their parents within a year, I am thankful for the hard work that the solo developer who also lost their Father, created this world…this space not only for him but for anyone to find and explore those feelings of emptiness, sadness, and regret no matter how hard one tried to hide those feelings as I have, to have what I thought I thought was buried and forgotten, to then have them rise again within the reflection, I applaud that from the bottom of my heart and say thank you.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I just need to go back in just enjoy the view.