The Following is a script from the Youtube video that is embedded below. Please enjoy the written form if you prefer.
Hello VR aficionados, I’m Kinglink and today… we’ll talk about VR.
So as I mentioned in my yearly update, I got a new computer, and I picked up an Oculus Rift S. I was excited because my experiences at E3 showed me that people still are supporting VR devices a bit. So I wanted to see what was already out. When I got home I bought a bunch of games on Steam during the Steam sale, and almost all of them are VR enabled.
With that said… well, I honestly don’t know how much I’m going to play or review them, but I wanted to take a look at a few of them because VR is an interesting technology. The fact is just putting on a helmet so when you look left and right you’re still in a game alone could make any game better. It’s a unique display system that can make a simple demo with one object to play with, take a half an hour, or a ten-minute visual experience is worth playing a few times just to see what you’re missing in every direction.
I think price-wise, I’ll be honest, most VR games are more expensive especially when talking about total hours of a single playthrough of the experience but quite a few are worth the higher price because this is a one of a kind experience, and it’s replayable. This isn’t a normal game where if you miss out on Call of Duty, you have Titanfall, Battlefield and hundreds of other FPSes out there or even watch someone else play the game. But VR, especially good VR, is kind of like an amusement park done well. It’s a unique experience that nothing outside of VR can capture. You can tell me that Back to the Future and the Simpsons roller coaster ride at Universal are functionally the same ride, but I wish I could go on those rides back to back multiple times because it’s like nothing else.
So with that said, I’m going to talk about four games today, I only beat one of them so far but I wanted to talk about a few aspects, rather than review the games We’ll talk about the control system that they use, how does it actually control, the experience and the immersion in the experience, and compare the game to non-VR. We’ll rate the games based on how necessary the VR is to the experience. VR might make any game better, but is it a low improvement, a high improvement or somewhere in the middle.
Let’s begin with
The Talos Principle VR
Now, Talos Principle VR got me excited. I’m a fan of the original game, in fact, I think it might be my favorite Croteam game, I’ve beaten the normal game, and I love puzzle games especially very clever ones, and Talos Principle is very clever with its level design. So I like the Talos Principle a lot.
How’s the VR? Well, the simple fact is any game in VR is better at a base level just for the level of immersion. Of course, there’s going to be bad games that ruin this, but the experience of being in the world is unique and why VR is so easy to enjoy.
Talos Principle VR allows you to fully experience the world with the Oculus Rift Touch controller, and it is good, you can reach out and grab items, you can interact with the elements of the world, move boxes and cameras, and place them as you want. It’s what I expected when I heard about the game.
VR is always going to have problems with movement. There are a lot of choices with this system, and I’ll be honest, I’m not well versed in exactly why things work or don’t work, but Talos Principle doesn’t work with the movement, and it’s one of the things I dislike. There’s almost a teleport experience when moving in Talos Principle VR. It’s a quick flash rather than a smooth transition and it doesn’t work that well.
At the same time, I’ve only put about an hour into Talos Principle VR and the reason is this is the same game I’ve already played. If you haven’t played Talos Principle this doesn’t matter, but this is a game I can directly compare to the original game, and while if a new player asked, VR is perfectly fine here, I also think it lacks a real purpose to a person buying the game a second time.
Also, teleportation…. I’m not sold, I think the Xbox controller worked better, and personally, the warping is a big piece. The movement of objects works but it doesn’t add enough to the world outside of better aiming of objects. It’s cool to move your head and aim your beams, but I just don’t think it’s important.
It’s not a very expensive game, I bought it for 6 dollars during the sale, and I think it’s only 10 for the normal price, the same as the non-VR, but honestly… VR makes any game better, but I think you could be safe going for either version.
So for this VR integration. I’ll give this a Low improvement. It’s still a good game but the VR doesn’t add that much to the experience. What’s strange is I thought this would be an easy win, and for some reason, it’s not.
Next up we come to The Climb. This is a VR only experience created by Crytek but now an Oculus Exclusive, so it’s limited to just the Rift, Rift S and Quest, sorry other VR headset owners, and while I believe it can use a controller or the touch controllers, it’s gotta be the touch controllers.
So what is The Climb? Essentially you get a giant wall in front of you and can scale up it grabbing different handholds and moving around the wall. It amounts to a simple climbing wall with you reaching for each grab. There’s actually an interesting stamina system, and a chalking system to grab places longer, and if you have both hands on the wall you’re able to rest, but it also is a fantastic experience.
I’m impressed at how well your hands grab the wall and grip different holds. The experience is really unlike anything else and, yeah, I know I’ll say that a lot with VR because it’s true.
The graphics are also really interesting. For most of the game you face is going to be inches from the wall, but you can look around at different points and see interesting vistas, and beautiful locales. When you’re climbing you might see little critters, ladders, a giant mammoth’s head the sky’s the limit here, and honestly, it works well to differentiate everything you see.
The big challenge of the game is the leaping mechanic and man that’s quite fun but I will say that it sometimes fails and I fall and I’m unable to know exactly what I did wrong. Still, it’s entertaining especially when you’re climbing the more advanced areas or climbing cracks or such objects.
The one real negative I have for the climb is one that I would have for many Oculus games, you are limited to your head and hands. You can move left and right but you’re unable to brace your feet or push off. That would be harder for sure, but it is a limited experience. There is a bit of a stretch and arm workout when playing the game which is good.
So The Climb is kind of the type of game which I would say that not only does Oculus enhance the experience, the only way to truly have this experience would be to use the Oculus, and I’m sure someone could get the same attempt with just a tv, it just wouldn’t be even close to what I experienced and is so much fun.
I give the Climb a High improvement to the experience.
Scanner Sombre was made by Introversion software, the guys who made Uplink, Darwinia, Defcon, and Prison Architect and more. I picked this game up at launch over two years ago, apparently, I was one of the first 6000 who bought this game, but I also haven’t played it yet. So while I was talking to my friend J, I started playing Scanner Somber. We were chatting about VR, I did a private stream for him, and he got to see this and a bunch of other games. We kept talking about it, and I ended up finishing the game while talking to him. Granted, it was like a two and a half-hour playthrough.
So how is it? I honestly don’t have a full review, I might touch on it at the end of year wrap up if I do another of those. Or maybe I’ll do one soon, I have enough games I want to talk about but don’t want to give a full review for.
That being said, for VR, this game works well. This game also uses the touch controllers, and you get a little scanner that you wave around to “scan” walls and see around you in the darkness. You need to find your ways through the caves that you find yourself in.
Honestly, it’s an interesting concept, but I hate to say this, it’s not a great game, though it is more interesting in VR. This is a perfect example of an average game that can be elevated by the VR headset and just being immersed, in fact, I kept saying that to J, because it feels like you are actually in the cave, lost in the dark, unable to know where you are, which is an amazing experience.
The downside is the movement is a little wonky, just to be clear, there are good movement systems and I think Scanner Sombre is overall on the positive side, but there are a couple of places where Scanner Sombers movement system took me out of the experience or just made the overall experience harder especially when you had to traverse a small bridge over a chasm, or had to run away from monsters in two locations. It’s not bad but not great.
The thing is Scanner Sombre isn’t a great game, but the VR experience can be both a boon and a negative. I think Scanner Sombre is a better game in VR, but also a touch more frustrating.
This is where I would give a Medium improvement. It’s good but also a touch bad. Still, if you do have this game in your library, and haven’t played it, definitely try it with VR, I think it’ll be better in VR.
Super Hot VR
I had high expectations for the other games on this list. The Climb had to be great, Scanner Sombre is by my favorite companies, and Talos Principle is a great game.
I also really like Super Hot but there are certain things about it that I’m not a huge fan of, the overall typing motif is a little bad, and while the gameplay is good, it has its limits. I do like the time moves when you move idea.
But people liked Super Hot VR so I might as well have tried it, and dear god, I’m thrilled I have. It’s easily one of the best games I’ve played for VR.
The reason for this is several big things, but each one really is how the developers redesigned the game from the ground up for VR, they took what was a fantastic PC Game and threw it in the trash and started from scratch to see how to improve on the experience with VR headsets.
The simplest example is how you beat the first enemy, there’s no weapon, you can just reach out and punch enemies, anyone who is within your reach should quickly be punched and just touching them will knock them out. Want to have more fun? You can hit them multiple times if you find that fun, what ever floats your boat.
Going beyond that, everything is done with that time moves when you do idea. By that means you can actually see and dodge attacks, and while the game is usually pretty good at guessing if you are in the way of a projectile, (usually erring on the side of allowing you to dodge bullets), it’s so much fun, plus you can use your hands to block bullets at times as well.
Of course, shooting is freaking amazing as well and how you aim your guns will matter, but the fact is picking up and throwing guns and objects are almost always spot on, and you can feel how good or bad you are at the motions.
And of course every time you move your hands you’re speeding up time and stopping it by standing still.
SUPERHOT is still shouted, but you’re not seeing a replay of your actions (That would be sick inducing), and each level is multiple scenes, though you’re not required to move between the locations, the game teleports you, but if you duck behind an object, enemies can’t shoot you at all. That’s… Honestly, that’s awesome and it just shows how unique the experience is.
Listen, I clearly like Super Hot VR, and there’s even more that I want to say about it, they drop the original story, but… .there’s a unique and interesting story with the game, and it can be a little disturbing at times but … where the other games are good, Super Hot is one of those games that changes the entire game. This is what great VR games need to emulate because Super Hot is just so much fun to play.
If you have a VR headset, you need to try Super Hot. I was afraid I was going to be playing the same game again and… it’s so much better.
I don’t think there’s a question, This is a HIGH improvement for adding the VR headset, I’d even go beyond it. The Climb is what I think players should expect, Super Hot is what the players should crave, this is amazing.
And there you have it, four games each done in VR with various successes. Now, this isn’t a true review, but if you are curious, I’d probably recommend the Climb for people who want something different, and obviously I heavily recommend Super Hot VR. I think most VR headset owners have the game, but dear god, if you don’t, you’re missing out on one of the best experiences.
Perhaps not the best, you know, I’ve picked up at least 12 games for VR, have even more available. So I will go through a bit more shortly, and maybe we’ll do this as a monthly cycle. I will say I do want to talk about Dance Central, I picked it up the day before writing this, but I haven’t played enough, that might get a full review though. And I’m waiting for No Man’s Sky, the Beyond edition, might be out already, I think it’s time to review that game and see how it has improved… VR will get a section, of course.
With that said, what do you guys think? Are you VR owners, VR fans, VR curious or just a fan of mine? Really what do you have for a VR system, I ask because I want to know how people will react to exclusive titles, like The Climb, versus Super Hot which I think every headset can use. Let me know what you think.
Consider subscribing if you’re interested in more from me. For fans of my other videos, as I’ve said a few times, don’t worry, I’m not going only VR, but I am kind of interested in it so we’ll cover it a bit more. But next up, Slay the Spire. I got you guys too.
Until next time, I’m Kinglink and thanks for watching.