Virginia is an unsettling FBI noir, set in the titular state in the early 1990s. It centers on Anne Tarver, a recently-graduated FBI special agent and her partner, Maria Halperin, as they seek to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Lucas Fairfax, a young boy and resident of Kingdom, VA – a small town with a secret.
I’m sure we all remember reading books in high school and having to decipher the symbolism hidden throughout them, for instance in the Great Gatsby , the green light represents Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for the future. This game is extremely heavy on the symbolism and relies on it and the body language of characters to tell the story…as there is not one single line of dialogue throughout the entire game. Which might be hard to digest for some gamers, it certainly confused me for a while. Gameplay is also set in a very unique manner filled with montages, dream sequences, and random cutaways for instance, you could be walking down a hallway and it cuts into a stairwell instantly and can be slightly jarring when playing.
Visually the game keeps a very polygonal feel with the graphics but gives it a clean, beautiful look especially in the outdoors sections of the game. Though it’s impossible to convey visually, it’s worth noting that “Virginia” has a stellar soundtrack, performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra which plays entirely throughout the around 2 hours or so it takes to complete this game.
As you search to seek the answers around the missing boy, you are also tasked to conduct an internal affairs investigation on your partner as well creating tension between the two main characters as you try to hide that you are investigating her throughout the game. So without words you are trying to piece together what happened to the boy and what happened and is happening with your partner. I think the game had me pretty hooked for the first 75% of it wondering what was going to happen. I do not want to give out any spoilers because I think for those interested it’s worth a play through, or you can watch my stream of the entire game on YouTube to see for yourself. But if you are expecting a true ending to this game, I’m not sure it’s there. Much is left to interpretation with the symbolism and what is going on, clearly this game was heavily inspired by Twin Peaks or X-Files and if you are not really paying attention to what’s going on you might miss something, however the relatively short time to complete this game would make it easy to replay and see if anything else pops out at you.
Overall this experience I had with this game was quite enjoyable, the story, which you basically put together yourself was gripping enough to leave me wanting more. While I won’t pretend I understood all of the symbolism in the game I think I pretty much got the gist of the story. My ONE complaint with this game which is kind of a major one for me was the “ending”. For a game that tells a great narrative in a very unique way all building up to a major payoff doesn’t quite get it ever at any point. It almost seems like they didn’t know how to end this tale and took a major cop-out with how it wraps up and took a very “artsy” approach. While it didn’t ruin this game for me by any means did instantly knock it out of scoring in the 90s for me to where it is.