EVE: Valkyrie is a game that has been built precisely to fulfil the fantasies of those who would want to be piloting fighters in space, performing 360 rolls, attacking large carrier ships, and flying through asteroid fields, but were born a few millennia too early. CCP Games has tried to capture the feel of what the could be like through this VR shooter, and for the most part it works really rather well.
You’ll begin with a couple of short single player missions that give some background. Essentially you are the clone of a pilot long dead, resurrected by another clone that flew alongside you. Your new life sees you in the services of the pirate group known as Valkyrie, who you will conduct missions for. These missions are in the single player Chronicles mode, though this is mostly set up to help you get ready for the online arena. What I found surprising while flying around at different speeds was the lack of queasiness like some other VR games had given me. It felt quite naturally moving in a 360 degree space while looking about to spot enemies.
In Chronicles there is the training module to help you get used to the three ship classes in the game, these being the fighter, the heavy, and the support. The fighter is what you would expect it to be, a fast and nimble ship that is armed with rapid firing guns and homing missiles. The heavy has a flak cannon and the ability to warp short distances, while the support can replenish allied shields as well as being able to deplete enemy shields very quickly. Each of the training missions follows a similar pattern; navigate a course, try out abilities, destroy hostile ships. You can train in each ship for as long as you like after completing the mandatory objectives, leaving the session by flying through a gate.
Chronicles features four Recall missions where you relive the memories of a pilot, which are mainly combat based. There are Scout missions too which are exploration missions where you search for salvage and echoes without being beset by enemies, and then there are the Survival challenges where you aim to survive for as long as possible against wave after wave of fighters. It won’t take long to 100% these tasks, with Survival being the one people will come back to most to beat the others on the leaderboards, split between novice and pro difficulties.
The most substantial part of the game is the multiplayer where you’ll not just play with PSVR users, but also those on Oculus Rift with Vive support coming soon too. You have the option of working together in co-op vs the AI in one of the modes available. There are only three match types on offer though with Team Deathmatch, Control, and Carrier Assault. Team Deathmatch is your standard combat where teams vie to win by destroying each other, while control has three points in the matches to capture and hold.
It’s Carrier Assault that is the most enthralling of the three modes on offer. This match comes in stages where you first need to capture relay points which weaken the main carrier ship’s shield. That will go down for a limited time and it is during that window of opportunity you are required to strike weak points while evading the opposing fighters as well as the carrier’s turrets. This requires you being able to move quickly and it is quite thrilling flying towards the carrier while dodging incoming fire as you hit the weak points. Once the weak points are dealt with the carrier’s core becomes exposed and to destroy it you need fly through a trench while firing at the core. It makes you feel a little bit like Luke Skywalker, guiding his X-Wing towards the Death Star. The three modes are accompanied by just five maps, and while they all have a unique look about them with their own hazards it does mean you’ll see what the game has to offer rather quickly, outside of new ships and upgrades.
When it comes to looks EVE: Valkyrie is fairly impressive. When you’re sitting in the cockpit it feels like you are in an actual space ship. There’s holographic images showing different statuses and as you look all around it feels very mechanical and industrial. Look down and you have the ship’s controls in hand. The majority of the weapons use head tracking and as you prepare for launch looking around moves the guns in the direction your looking. Head tracking is also used to select menu items. The game even looks great when you get killed. The colour is sapped away with everything getting a blue hue to it, while your ship interior gets covered in ice after the cockpit is breached. The launch sequence is great too as you travel through a tunnel out into the void. In match loading screens you can look around and see other pilots sitting in pods waiting to be taken to their ships.
As you play matches you’ll rank up and earn silver which can be used to buy upgrades, skins, and implants. Some upgrades do require silver and xp to unlock, and even early on you can tell there will be a lot of grinding to really increase ship attributes. Implants allow bonuses for limited time depending how much you spend, and can prove to be expensive. There is also the Gold currency which can be purchased using real money, or you can exchange silver for gold.
EVE: Valkyrie could be one of the definitive multiplayer experiences for VR, though it does feel like you’ve seen everything within the first couple of hours. The multiplayer is a bit light on content, but what is here works really well. You can’t really beat that feeling of being a pilot in a space battle even if it is pretend, and EVE: Valkyrie lets you live out that fantasy well. It will need a really active community and regular updates to make sure it has long term appeal, otherwise the game will begin to feel stale as the same few maps and modes cycle over and over. If you are getting a PSVR headset and have always wanted to partake in a space dogfight then EVE: Valkyrie may be for you.