Virtual reality is seen by many as the next big frontier for videogames to try and tackle. For decades, we’ve spent our gaming time peering into the virtual worlds being conjured up by our PCs and consoles through a tiny window, but whether it’s with the forthcoming head-mounted displays or with more advanced technology in the future, VR wants to completely immerse us and place us within these worlds.
Even if it ends up being the next big fad that fades from memory in just a few years – remember when everyone was banging on about 3D TVs? – it looks set to bring us some fascinating new games and experiences along the way.
Be sure to come back later today, for a look at a selection of games more attuned to and exclusively for the PlayStation VR.
EVE: Valkyrie has long been the poster child for VR, with one of the most compelling examples of what VR can do. Which science fiction fan hasn’t dreamt of stepping into an X-wing, a Viper or any other starfighter and dogfighting in space?
EVE: Valkyrie looks to make that a reality, with a multiplayer-centric online space dogfighting game. There’s elements of Battlestar Galactica in there, from the manner in which you’re launched into space to the appearance of Katee Sackhoff in the Recall scenario missions, but the heart of the game is really in drawing you into believing that you’re in the cockpit of a starfighter and making the best use of that.
Valkyrie excels in that, and will be leading the line for VR on both PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift, with the latter platform seeing the game bundled with every pre-order.
Job Simulator is a terribly silly game, in the vein of Surgeon Simulator and Goat Simulator, except that this is a game that’s full of cutesy charm, as it transports you to the year 2050, in which robots have made human work all but redundant.
Instead, we get to play at working, and JobBot is there to teach humans what it is “to job”, without truly understanding what a job is. You’ll be photocopying staplers, tasked with firing employees, chatting with fellow coworkers around the water cooler and more in the office environment, but there’s plenty of other abstracted jobs for you to take on.
Job Simulator will be on its way to PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
With the limitations of the first generation of VR, Arizona Sunshine is an excellent attempt to work around the inability to actively run around in a first person shooter. Instead of resorting to some combination of analogue controls for movement, it instead reverts back to the classic form of the light gun game.
As zombies come toward you in the sunbaked Arizona wilderness, you pick up whatever guns come to hand, sticking within a small area and trying to nail the enemy with pinpoint accuracy. It makes good use of what you have available to you in the HTC Vive’s room scale experience, but it could go even further, heading towards something more like Time Crisis and House of the Dead – the classics of the light gun genre.
Arizona Sunshine is being brought to Steam VR and HTC Vive with room-scale VR central to the experience.
Rock Band VR – an Oculus Rift exclusive – takes the wish fulfilment of the Rock Band series to a whole other level.
Of course, you’ll still have the familiar plastic guitar in hand – with an Oculus tracking ring on the end – and the actual rhythm action game will be near enough the same, but where on console you are playing to crowds on your screen, now you’re going to be in the venue, live on stage with the rest of your band alongside.
Insomniac Games flew Sony’s coop a few years ago – while admittedly still making Ratchet & Clank games – working to bring new and interesting IPs to market, when the industry is currently quite reticent to do so. Edge of Nowhere marks their first foray into VR, as an Oculus Rift exclusive.
Interestingly, it doesn’t have you playing in the first person, but in the third, as you travel to and scale Antarctic mountains in an attempt to find a missing team of explorers.
Of course, life is never that simple, and the rescue mission will turn into something altogether more unsettling along the way.