Analysis of Deraciné, a moving fairy tale in virtual reality

Written by Kamran Haider

A mysterious boarding school where only six children live and a director. A spirit that we embody in virtual reality that will have to discover in several temporal sequences the mystery that surrounds them. In the analysis of Deraciné, we tell you its playable keys to this curious work perpetrated by the creators of the Souls saga, FromSoftware.

If anything has taught me Deraciné is that the way of telling stories from FromSoftware is neither casual nor attributed to their particular style of games. The fragmented narrative that the studio shows, again and again, is also suited to a genre as remote for the Japanese as is this puzzle adventure. Almost an attempt of the walking simulator if it were not for the characteristics of virtual reality. And although I think they have been left on the road when it comes to fulfilling everything they have proposed with this story of spirits and friendship, you can notice in your heart the soul of your games, which are not only seen, heard and read, but stimulates the imagination to connect the dots. That click in which everything (or most) fits, does not happen on the screen, but in your head.

That’s why it’s not surprising that this was not a parallel project, an eccentricity of FromSoftware, but that it was signed by the hand of Hidetaka Miyazaki himself. Again it makes me reflect if all the mastery put into the mechanics, design, and combat of the Souls saga is not part of an element often so postponed and subordinated in the realization of a video game as is the story. To that internal logic that your games invite you to discover and that again happens in this that we have in hand. The problem of Deraciné is that, although it is taking more and more momentum, at the same time it is deflating in its playable proposal.

Music always sounds powerful, magic and charming

I have spoken many times in these analyses of virtual reality that the true heart of this way of making video games is not in the perspective, but in the imagination of the creator. The use of the free camera to discover elements of the scenario, the gesticulation of movements like a puzzle or a unique immersion that a flat screen cannot give. Déraciné, with some changes that we would not miss much, could be played perfectly without VR and in situations would win the dive that is lost between the constant teleporting of our character provided to avoid the dizziness of the player. Of course, that magic would also be lost to transport to another world, in this case, a boarding school very well recreated, but that sometimes loses part of its charm to avoid the continuous movement that produces dizziness in virtual reality. Fortunately, the music always sounds powerful, magic and charming, evoking some memorable and quiet pieces of his previous works.

For a game of puzzles, I have rarely had to contemplate the stage with attention, looking for clues and thanks to the movements you can make with your head. The use of PS Move, the only means of control, may also be somewhat erratic (especially if you do not play standing) and the actions we do do not really need a gyroscopic and realistic movement. That is, you will not even have to turn a key in a lock, just approach it to the position. But more flagrant than all this is that a mechanics as interesting as the absorption of life as time remaining to give it to another being, the leitmotiv and message of the work, is used only four times and is not the engine on which turn the entire coil.entire coil

The House of Spirits

It is difficult for me to tell anything else, because where it shines the most, Deraciné is precisely in its history or, rather, in its way of telling it. As a spirit (or fairy, the translation is interpretable), we have the power to live in the stillness of time and move forward or backward in it, except that the structure of the video game constraints this will. We are born in what seems like a boarding school where several children and a teacher live, and little by little we will be influencing their lives until the events escalate dangerously.puzzles wel

Perhaps because of the need to explain his puzzles well, Déraciné starts dangerously slow. In fact, it is when the story focuses on the moment in which the argument becomes more interesting and the pen of FromSoftware, halfway between the description of objects and that fragmented narrative mentioned shines with more force. Surprising the way in which the whole supernatural system, that internal logic mentioned earlier, fits like the gears of a clock.

If he had enhanced this narrative, even to the detriment of the puzzles, or had built puzzles as original as his argument, we would be talking about around title. It is noted, however, the lack of experience of the study in the field of virtual reality that, even with good intentions, fails to guide the player and may lose it in the attempt. To the point that it gets too entangled in the end, in which a slightly mistranslated option for space problems in the text boxes and an action too hidden if you’re not careful, can ruin your experience. The consequence may end up repeating the whole game if you are not careful.PS VR

Where it shines the most Deraciné is in the way of telling its story

For an appropriate price, the virtual reality fan of PS VR, if it is also the narrative of FromSoftware, can keep the good of the work, which also has it. I think there is a sensitivity in his message and in the way of telling it that is still quite unique in our industry. You can see that the Japanese soul of marked Shinto character in which they relate to the spirits and objects. In the playable and structural, it may, however, be too simple, chaotic and even sometimes disconnected, but it can not be said, under any circumstances, that it is not seductive and personal.

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Déraciné mixes a tender story of spirits and friendship with puzzles in virtual reality. The result produces mixed sensations because although its history, although it takes to start, is becoming increasingly interesting, it’s game mechanics do not take advantage of the glasses or offer anything that stands out for its ingenuity or its execution. An interesting experiment, which benefits above all from the fragmented narrative characteristic of the study at the time of elaborating its history.

  • The music, beautiful and captivating
  • The fragmented narrative characteristic of FromSoftware keeps interested…
  • Although it takes a long time to start and get really interesting
  • Puzzles too simple and repetitive. Sometimes, uninteresting
  • It does not finish taking advantage of the unique characteristics of virtual reality


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Kamran Haider

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