While Vir­ginia isn’t the kind of game to which Achieve­ments and Tro­phies seem par­tic­u­larly well suited, Vari­able State has adopted a play­ful ap­proach to the op­tional ac­com­plish­ments, with enig­matic de­scrip­tions to be de­ci­phered. The pres­ence of flow­ers in some scenes at first ap­pears to be a jar­ring ad­di­tion – col­lectibles in a game such as this? – but it steadily be­comes one of the many re­cur­ring mo­tifs, fit­ting neatly along­side the north­ern car­di­nal, the buf­falo, the bro­ken key and Halperin’s trea­sured locket. It’s a rare op­por­tu­nity to take pause, and the act it­self is pe­cu­liarly sat­is­fy­ing as Tarver plucks the bloom gen­tly and firmly from the earth. Those you’ve col­lected will show up in later scenes, aid­ing the il­lu­sion that your ac­tions carry some weight.

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