Torn PSVR Review
Torn is a mystery puzzler in which you play as an outgoing journalist who finds herself in an abandoned mansion filled with puzzles. You meet a scientist with an interesting story and past while working closely with him to solve puzzles throughout the mansion to unravel more of the plot and find an escape from the mansion.
Quick Notes Genre: Puzzle Game Controller: Move Controller Price:$29.99 Game Length: 6-8 hours PlayPSVR Score: 6.5
I have been waiting for Torn for a long freaking time folks. With very little information on the game and based off what I did know, I thought it was going to be a scary creepy horror game where you solved puzzles in an abandoned mansion to save your life. Well, I was right and wrong. It is an abandoned mansion, it does have loads of puzzles, but it is not scary, creepy or unsettling at all. At that I was disappointed. But it was only because in my mind I believed it would be that way. Also if it was based off Black Mirror, the TV show, which is certainly dark and creepy, I don't fault myself for believing that. Next time maybe this studio will give a more descriptive idea of what the game will be like, regardless, don't prepare your mind for that type of game and it still doesn't diminish what Torn does well.
The graphics of the game are good, nothing amazing to be honest, but it looks good on the PS4 Pro. Some details seem a little grainy and blurry which I was surprised, but I have no complaints about the looks of the game. You surround yourself in a mansion that is cluttered with a mad scientist's inventions and extra spare parts. It kind of reminds me of an episode of hoarders, like there is stuff everywhere and you can interact and move almost anything in the house. The controls are good for the move controllers (which always have problems it seems). Nothing notable in the controls, but that is a good thing. Most of the time if you have to talk about the controls, it's not for a good reason, so take that as a win.
Torn is all about the plot and puzzles. So lets break these bad boys down right now because this is going to be the determining factor of whether you will buy this or not.
You begin by walking up to a beautiful mansion that looks forlorn and possibly abandoned. As a snoopy journalist, you are looking for something to write a story about that is intriguing until you find yourself trapped within the mansion. You meet this fairy looking thing that reminds me of the fairy that follows Link around in some of those games (like ocarina of time I think?.....idk Im not a nintendo fan boy). Anyhow you find out that this little bugger is actually somehow a manifestation of Talbot, a scientist who has somehow trapped himself in that form. Throughout the game this little fairy looking thing will guide and follow you to help with puzzles, give hints and dive into long monologues.
It is later found that Talbot is looking for his lost wife. He has no clue where to find her, but by solving puzzles you gain some power that helps Talbot remember things of his past. As more puzzles are solved, more memories are unlocked and you progress through the game.
I like this plot and find it interesting, but I still don't see where it meets Black Mirror very much and again if you are looking for a scary adventure or something that will keep you on the edge of your seat this isn't it. Yet, I find myself wanting to uncover more and more of the mystery. There are little bits of side action too where your journalist shows signs of only wanting fame and money while Talbot himself is really mysterious and shows reasons to believe he isn't all that he is portraying either. The plot is good and unwinds at just the right pace to keep you interested but slow enough to ratchet up the anticipation.
As you fight through repetitive puzzles (see below) at times the only thing that may keep you going is the plot. Honestly, for me, the game play is very poor (again, see below). However, the plot is intriguing enough that I had to find out more and see it through. Without this excellent aspect of the game and the wonderful story telling, Torn would have been a major bust. At times the dialogue can be a little slow, but overall the game benefits from it.
PlayPSVR Subscore: 9
So the puzzles are the big boy in this equation since this is the main game play component, There is no combat or real "action" just a puzzle solver. So the puzzles involve using a flashlight of some sort that Talbot created in which you can rotate, push/pull and move objects how you wish. This pendant is also used as a key, a handle to an alternate dimension and other useful things, so you will get used to this thing quick.
Now comes the bad part. You will notice right off the bat that in rooms you can use your flashlight (I call it a flashlight because it shines light that you can see hidden circuits within the wall, I don't know if it is really a flashlight) to uncover white "circuits" that are missing vital components to complete it. So some of the circuits will have a circle missing, others will have a three pronged shape, others will have squares that must bear some weight to be activated. So your goal is to move objects in the room that correspond to these shapes to the correct position in the circuit.
So you do this in the room, then the circuit is complete and guess what? You have to do it again for the same room. The second time it may require more objects, but I wouldn't say it is more complex or mind evoking. Then some rooms make you do it three times!! Almost the same puzzle, just in different variations. And get used to this, these types of "puzzles" are the game. You do this over and over and over and over in every room to find those memories to progress the plot and open new parts of the mansion.
There are so many issues with this. First, these aren't puzzles guys. You know when you have to find toys for a 2 year old and they have those things that have like 4 shapes, a star, circle, square and triangle and it is to teach the kid that the star shaped block can't go in the square hole, etc. Essentially it's to learn your shapes I guess. This is what this game is. These aren't puzzles at all. The only time I was puzzled at all was figuring out where to go a couple of times. But these "puzzles" weren't mind evoking whatsoever. I just can't comprehend why this became the basis and foundation of this game.
The game discusses and admits their game revolves around puzzles. But the definition of a puzzle is this: "cause (someone) to feel confused because they cannot understand or make sense of something." or "a game, toy, or problem designed to test ingenuity or knowledge.". The only thing Torn tested was my patience. If it weren't for such a interesting and mysterious plot I would have quit after the first two hours when I realized that there wasn't going to be any other types of puzzles. In this regard, Torn is a huge disappoint, I just don't know what else to say.
PlayPSVR Subscore: 4
It's too bad Torn doesn't deliver on the challenging puzzles because it could have been a great game. At $30, I am torn (see what I did there?) on whether to advise you to buy or not. $30 isn't cheap, but this game is easily 6 hours+, so the return on investment is pretty good. The plot is great but the puzzles are just so so repetitive and uninspiring. I suppose my advice would be this: if you are looking for a simple, repetitive yet lengthy game with the best story telling in PSVR then consider Torn. However, if you want challenge or intense game play, this is going to be a hard pass.
Torn had the potential to be great, but it's flaws of repetitive and easy "puzzles" doomed the game and I'm afraid sent it into PSVR obscurity. It seriously has some of the best (if not the best) story telling and plot of any PSVR game, but you just have to wade through hours of the same mind numbing puzzles.