Listen to The VRverse Podcast


Madison VR Review

Madison has been proven to be the scariest game ever by ‘The Science of Scare Project’, and now it steps up the fear and scares by coming to Virtual Reality. For me Resident Evil VII has held the best VR horror game since its release 2017, but can it now be stripped of this title?

Release Date: May 2nd 2024
Developer: Bloodious Games
Publisher: Perp Games
Price: US $34.99 / CAN $46.99 / €34,99 / £29.99
Reviewed On: PlayStation VR2
* Code Provided For Review *

Happy Sixteenth Birthday?

In the game you play as a teenage boy Luca, who has received an instant camera for his sixteenth Birthday, which belonged to a serial killer called Madison thirty-years ago. After waking up with blood on yours hands and your dad shouting at you from the other side of a locked door, you escape into a large manor. As you try to escape you find yourself ending up in yet another strange room or chamber. If this isn’t enough to make you feel uncomfortable, you might also be possessed. Can Luca find his way out of the manor and survive these horrors?

Something Sinister Is Afoot

Madison follows some of the tried and tested elements of making a horror game, with the majority of it playing out in the manor and claustrophobic locations. Which became very popular following the release of the criminally cancelled P.T demo.

With the games main gameplay element coming in the form of puzzles, to help progress the story, activate the next room/chamber and the horrors that Madison holds. These puzzles do see you back-tracking a lot through the manor in order to find elements for the puzzles and then complete them. Where some of the puzzles are straight forward, some of them will have you scratching your head. I found that where it is a plus that all the puzzles weren’t straight forward, there was also the negative side they it slowed down the pace of the scares Madison is so famous for – but, this also allows for some much needed respite for the player.

Using the camera is an essential element of some of the puzzles and when Luca is being hunted. So, I would recommend taking as many snaps as possible, as this this could provided a hint or even be an element of the puzzle. You have unlimited film so don’t be photo shy and even if an area is pitch black, just take a photo so the flash shows if there is anything you needed or to help get rid of the nerves something is waiting for you in the darkness. There is no combat in the game when being hunted, this will require you to blind/stun them with the flash of the camera, giving you chance to get away.

One thing I found a real negative for the game its the inventory system, this really high-lighted that the game was made flatscreen and then ported to VR. Where I personally didn’t mind the limited inventory slots for carrying items, as this is something I think works well in horror games, it was just how it was implemented and some of the choices made. With the main frustration being when you grab a puzzle item out of your inventory you cant move with it in your hand – and if switching things around you had to take the item and put back in your inventory to select it again. This became frustrating quickly when the item placement was just next to each other, or swapping things around in a room.

Get Clean Underwear Ready

The horror element of the game is really brought to life by how good the game looks, and feels like a true PSVR2 title and shows what the hardware is capable of. Every part of the manor/chambers are full of high quality textures and the lighting is outstanding. With the OLED and HDR on the PSVR2 making the dark sections of the game, really feel pitch back, all building the tension that something could be hidden and waiting to give you a scare at any point.

I really appreciate that the team decided to give the game the slight delay, after a recent unity update allowed for them to use the eye-tracked foviated rendering to get the game from sixty-frames with reprojection to a native ninety-frames. This really helped the horror and environments having smooth frames.

To go with these outstanding visuals come the best ambient sound I have witnessed in a horror game. The game starts with a recommendation to use headphones for the best experience, I used the Pulse 3D headphones and honestly I have felt some uncomfortable from audio in my life. With every little sound happening around me, having me on edge, turning and taking photos to make sure nothing is there. The visuals and audio together had me getting goosebumps, cold blooded and feeling fear like no game has caused before.


The Verdict

Madison VR has finally knocked Resident Evil VII from the scariest VR horror game, which is no mean feat after it has held the crown for seven years. The story, atmosphere and attention to little details in the visuals and sound design are exceptional. All coming together to make a brilliant horror game. The scientifically proven scariest game award certainly makes sense now I have experienced Madison for the first time – and this is just intensified by feeling that you are actually in the game, which is offered by Virtual Reality.