Sat. Feb 4th, 2023

Our week or so with the Oculus Rift hasn’t provided enough time to provide full, in-depth reviews of all 30 games launched alongside the hardware (although we did find the time for a full VR playthrough of space station float-em- up Adr1ft). For those early adopters getting their shipments now, here are our early impressions of some of the games that have filled Rift’s eye holes the most in recent days.

Eve: Valkyrie

Developer: CCP games
Price: $59.99 (free for pre-orders)

Definitely the most impressive Rift exclusive we’ve played to date, Eve Valkyrie has the potential to be a long-term killer app for the headset. Space plane dogfights are far from new in video games, but the same old genre manages to feel entirely new in VR.

That’s mainly because it’s much easier to track the opposition when your sight isn’t focused on the small window of the monitor directly in front of you. To play Valkyrie, you learn to quickly turn your head to follow the enemy as they fly past your main screen and to the side and/or behind you. Keeping an enemy in your sights as you slowly re-center them in your forward-facing reticle is a hugely satisfying experience.

The game even uses your gaze directly for gameplay, allowing you to achieve missile lock by keeping a fast-moving ship in the center of your view for a few seconds. The compelling 3D effect on the Rift also makes it much easier to measure distances and aim precisely in the large, often debris-strewn arenas (the translucent 3D radar hovering above your cockpit is a particularly nice touch).

CCP’s team added a lot of design elements to make the space combat comfortable and easy to follow in VR. That includes a huge, solid cockpit that helps keep your stomach in place during complex flight maneuvers, soft ion trails that make it easy to track where other ships are coming from (and where they’re going), and nice visual and audio cues when you connecting bullets and missiles. The focus on online combat, with plenty of different play modes and in-game bonuses you can earn over time, gives this game a potential for longevity that’s also missing from much of the Rift launch lineup. It’s a must buy.

Lucky’s story

Developer: Playful
Price: Free (bundled)

On the one hand, the virtual reality perspective opens up some new ways to play this family-friendly 3D platformer. Now you can lean your head around a shelf in the foreground to see some hidden coins, for example. Being able to see what challenges and dangers are ahead with a quick glance, rather than fiddling with analog stick camera controls, also feels instantly natural.

But on the other hand, while it’s easy to twist the camera’s point of view around your neck like a tripod, Lucky’s story makes it impossible to pan the camera around the fox-like hero for a different take on the action. That means if you have to go back at all, you’re essentially letting Lucky run blindly at your face with very little idea of ​​what’s to come. So far at least that’s made the levels a bit more linear and less exploratory than I’d like.

The first few levels I played were also relatively easy, and they won’t be much of a challenge for someone with genre experience. While that could change later on, the inherent issues with the camera seem to be something designers of third-person VR experiences will have to deal with in the long run.

Defense Grid 2: Enhanced VR Edition

Developer: Hidden Path entertainment
Price: $29.99

The widely used tower defense genre seems an unlikely candidate to be really improved by the jump to VR, and as far as direct gameplay goes, defense network 2 doesn’t really get much benefit from being on the Rift (unless you factor in a somewhat pointless mini-game of seek and find on every map).

Still, it’s hard to overstate the jaw-dropping impact of having the entire battlefield lined up below you like a huge table full of miniatures coming to life. It’s like going from looking at a flat, static war map to one of those detailed dioramas about battlefield planning that you often see in old war movies. The ability to dive down to miniature scale and view the field from an individual tower’s perspective is also a nice addition.

The Rift itself also serves as a near-perfect interface for the game. Instead of tapping keys and swiping around with a mouse, you make decisions in VR by simply looking at the target location and clicking the remote (or the A button on the Xbox One controller) to launch your menu. to open. Another quick look and a tap on the menu and your will is done. The feeling is somewhat like telekinesis.

By akfire1

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