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Re: Virtual Reality (Oculus Rift)
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Thanks for the flying game suggestions, but I think I'd rather have all four wheels on the ground.

Recently I've finished Budget Cuts and with a third sensor it really gets a whole lot better with the ability to turn around and face any direction. Overall it was a fun stealth game. You really have to get low in real life if you want to avoid being seen by enemies and to even fit into ventilation shafts! After crouching for long periods of time I figured I could just sit down on the floor instead.

Another "cool" trick I did was in Superhot VR. It was endless mode where you kill enemies until you die. In one of the stages there was a pool table right next to you and nothing stops you from laying on the floor under it shooting anyone brave enough to come close. I bet it looked like I was the laziest VR player ever.

Killing Floor: Incursion is sort of a mix of a horror game and a shooter. At first it's terrifying but as you get more weapons it turns into more of a shooter. Even the easiest cannon fodder enemies from Killing Floor 2 suddenly get a lot scarier when you are staring at them at eye level. Supports both teleportation movement with a cooldown and using the left stick to move. Quite difficult at some parts, could be easier in co-op. It's ok but could have been better. There's only a few guns, no classes with their special abilities, very small maps, fewer enemies than KF2... I got it on sale for 9 € which was a very good price for this.

Arizona Sunshine is another zombie shooter I bought during the Steam sales but haven't started yet. It's one of the best selling VR games so my expectations are high.

Posted on: 2019/1/5 10:52
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Re: Virtual Reality (Oculus Rift)
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Time for more Oculus Rift Vr reviews!



Nemesis Perspective

To grab your attention, let's start with a free game, and this one is a local asymmetric multiplayer one!

Imagine a third person platformer/fighter game, but it just skips you to the final boss fight. One player is in VR and is a massive boss character who can either punch or grab and throw the other player. The adventurer is very, very quick and nimble, and can either punch the boss or place bombs to hurt it. The adventurer is controlled by a player sitting on the computer, using the either mouse and keyboard or a gamepad, and sees things through a flat monitor.

It's a really fun game and free!

https://store.steampowered.com/app/537140/Nemesis_Perspective/



Arizona Sunshine

A zombie shooter where you... shoot zombies with a variety of pistols, submachine guns, shotguns, occasionally even grenade launchers and sniper rifles. There's a story mode which can be played either solo or in co-op, as well as a horde mode with frustratingly small areas to defend. There's also a DLC story mission where you play as a soldier and have access to two-handed weapons like assault rifles, but I haven't played it yet. The story mode is good fun and I bet it's at least double as fun with a friend.

After playing many VR games with melee weapons or at least fists, it was a bit of a disappointment you can't use knives or axes to survive. Reloading was done with a press of a button on each controller; you can and will have one weapon in each hand at all times. Another oddity was that you don't have to/can't holster your guns and instead they just disappear when you interact with objects. Movement is done with the sticks, but I think there's also a teleportation option.

My mind was blown when I was trying to figure out if it was possible to climb through a broken window. I tried pressing different buttons until I realized I just had to use my feet to walk to the other side.

About 40 € on Steam usually, but sometimes it's -50% off. It's quite short as in about 3 hours to beat so I would wait for a sale.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/342180/Arizona_Sunshine/



Onward

This is considered to be the most realistic VR shooter at the moment, and many compare it to Insurgency. There was a free weekend on Steam but I only had a few hours to test it. It has a shooting range to test out all the different weapons (weapons, attachments and other gear have a weight and you can't exceed a certain limit), solo/co-op against bots in terrorist hunt, and some online multiplayer modes. I had enough time to check about a third of the guns on the shooting range, and the terrorist hunt mode.

The arsenal consists of assault rifles, machine guns, shotguns, sniper rifles, an RPG, a shield, hand grenades, pistols, knives, even a controllable drone, and maybe something I'm forgetting. Realism is the focus here, so you reload the guns in the way you do in real life. It even goes as deep as to show the difference of taking out the magazine of an M16 and an AKM; with the M16 you press a button and the magazine is ejected, but with the AK you have to hold down a button while pulling the magazine away... except I think the button is pressed with the wrong hand.

Movement is only with the sticks as far as I know. As for aiming, the pistols are quite easy to aim. But with two-handed weapons it gets tricky to "mime" an invisible gun with both of your hands when there isn't actually anything solid between them. But maybe it only takes some time to get used to them. You can also buy some kind of a rifle-looking controller, but I can't say how well do they work or are they worth the price. Another problem is occlusion; I aldready noticed that my left arm was blocking my Oculus Rift sensors from seeing the headset properly at specific times.

Terrorist hunting is intense when you're all alone in the dark, even if you do have a flashlight attachment. Compared to old Rainbow Six and other games it really is different when you feel like you're there. Crouching and going prone is done by crouching and going prone in real life. You can also lean around corners and blind fire in any way you like. Crouching isn't one stance like in most games or three (five?) stances like in Arma 3, but it's all about how long your thighs can last in the hundred increments between standing and full squat.

All in all, it's a very well made game, and probably the most realistic shooter in VR if you can get used to miming an invisible gun.

About 23,00 € right now on Steam Early Access. Very good price for a game this good.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/496240/Onward/



Crisis VRigade

This one is basically an arcade light gun shooter but you are inside the game. The graphics are cartoony, but don't let that fool you. Expect to hide behind doors and police cars, duck under tables, and shoot like hell. All the movement you can do is around your play area; after you've cleared each area you get the choice between two, or sometimes just one route, and then you get transported there.

The basic weapon is a pistol, and you have to eject the magazine, take one of you infinite magazines from your hip, put it in and pull the slide. If there's already one in the chamber, you shouldn't pull the slide or you'll just lose the bullet. There are power-ups you can shoot to pick up. Most of them are assault rifles or submachine guns, but there's also extra health and a bullet time power-up. You can stabilize the pistol just by holding your off hand under the shooting hand, which feels really good. With the two-handed weapons you have to place your off hand near the barrel and pressing a button. Once again this feels a bit floaty and I rarely even use these power-ups.

It's easy to die from one or two bullets, and you are always sent back in the beginning. Right now in Early Access the game only has one level separated into multiple sections with a time limit always ticking in the background. The time limit is shown in each scene transit, on you watch, and on all screens you can see. The bank is littered with bombs that explode from a stray bullet, so you should be careful with blind firing. The time limit is 7:00 minutes but that's plenty enough time for you to die.

In case it wasn't obvious so far, the game is really difficult. There's bullets firing constantly at you, you are just as vulnerable as the enemy, the AI companions die all the time, and some scenes are very difficult. But it's really addictive to finally make it to the next scene, getting better at the game and getting better scores on your personal leaderboard. It's also really fun in how physical it is. Once again you really do have to crouch and lean yourself, so hunching down behind a cop car may leave your legs sore for the following day...

About 5 € on Steam Early Access right now. After 3 hours of playing I still haven't beaten it, even if a single full playthrough is only less than 7 minutes. While there have been some moments that feel like bullshit, most of the time it's just so much fun being a Hollywood cop. Absolutely worth the price if you ask me.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/939000/Crisis_VRigade/



Tardis VR

Have you ever wanted to travel across time and space in a blue police phone box? Now you can! This is something that can technically be played on a flat screen (I may be mistaken) but it's completely different in VR. It really is bigger on the inside! You can fiddle around the 11th Doctor's (Matt Smith) Tardis and make it travel around to a handful of locations. You can also explore the insides of the Tardis, with some pretty cool things to find... For those who don't know, this is the time machine used in the Doctor Who series.

Free!

https://feroxxy.itch.io/tardisvr



Serenity VR

This is the space ship Serenity from the tv sci-fi show Firefly. Pretty cool, but there isn't much else to do than steer the ship with the joystick in the cockpit and explore the ship. Quite buggy. You can ascend and descend ladders by using both hands one at a time, which was quite cool.

Free!

https://kavehth.itch.io/serenity-vr



Ctrl-Shift

A free asymmetric local multiplayer game in which one player is in VR sneaking around using the sticks to move (while crouching you move slower!), and the other player is a hacker playing with mouse and keyboard + monitor. To be fair, I haven't played this but I have played Black Hat Cooperative with almost identical idea, and it was a lot of fun.

Free demo:

https://the-hive.itch.io/ctrlshift-demo



Aerospace Security Training

Another free asymmetric local multiplayer game. The VR player tries to smuggle contraband items through the border. The mouse+keyboard+monitor player uses the X-ray screen to approve or deny suitcases going though it. Sounds fun but I haven't played it yet.

https://teampanoptes.itch.io/aerospace-security-training



A very good channel for finding out about new and exciting Vr games:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSVjrpufOzTd3jZsUGs-L0g



Some interesting games I have on my wishlist: Unknightly (basically Thief in VR with climbing), Doom VFR and Sairento VR (both are fast paced shooters), Abode (room escape), Virtual Virtual Reality, Megaton Rainfall (Superman simulator), The Spy Who Shrunk Me, and maybe either Skyrim VR or Fallout 4 VR. Skyrim or Fallout would provide a game lasting more than just a few hours, but I'm not a big fan of either (Fallout New Vegas was pretty good though) and I don't know how long can I just stand on my feet at a time...



Edit: A huge thing I only just noticed in VR: because you really are viewing the world through two eyes/screens, you can sort of see through your hands/gun because one eye is aiming and the other one is a few centimetres away looking from a different point. As far as I know, there's only one "game" that does this and it's VBS or Virtual Battle Space, the military simulator which Arma is based on.

Posted on: 2019/2/8 13:33
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Re: Virtual Reality (Oculus Rift)
#13
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Awesome, Al. Appears the game making support is present for the VR realm.

Posted on: 2019/2/8 19:56
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Re: Virtual Reality (Oculus Rift)
#14
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Alright, time for more VR experiences, with slightly less text than in War and Peace.

Boneworks

This is a highly praised and awaited VR game. According to rumors the developers made a VR Half-Life game and showed it to Valve, but Valve told them to change everything related to the Half-Life games before releasing it. You can still swing a crowbar at an enemy that acts exactly like a headcrab. The ammo is also found in familiar looking ammo crates that must be broken to get the ammo. On its release day it reached top 100 player count on Steam and was the best selling game on that day. It was among the top 20 best selling VR games of 2019, even if it was released in December.

Enough about sales figures, more about the actual game. Like the Half-Life games, there's combat with puzzle elements. There are a few things separating this one from the numerous other VR games out there. The campaign is about 11 hours long, while many other VR titles are only half of that. Boneworks is a physics-based action adventure game with puzzle elements. The enemies are mostly unarmed zombie-like creatures, but there are also some enemies with assault rifles as well as the totally-not-headcrabs.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to buy the game until I saw a gameplay video where the player had to figure out a way past a turret. You could try shooting it if you have a gun or you could sneak past it, climbing a few walls along the way. But in the video the player grabbed a nearby trash can, put it over his head and ran past the turret while bullets ricoched off the trash can. Outside of the box or inside the can thinking? When I got to that part I picked up the trash can lid and used it as a shield like Captain America.


Combat and realism

The arsenal of weapons consists of pistols and SMGs (using the same magazines) and assault rifles with various barrel lenghts, attachments and sights. There are also lots of melee weapons from knives and swords to crowbars and baseball bats. The combat with melee weapons can be a bit clumsy. The game simulates your body's physics and you can't swing a sledgehammer as easily as a knife, for example. The game instructs you to act like you're holding a heavy item in your hands and slow down a bit. It takes some time to get used to. You can also punch with your fists.

The guns and everything else is a physical object with mass and volume. You can't stick your gun through walls or enemies. If an enemy surprises you in close quarters combat, an assault rifle can be a bad choice with its long barrel. You can do CQC like Solid Snake, with a pistol in one hand and a knife in the other. You can also dual wield anything you like; pistols, knives, assault rifles, or combine them any way you like. There are no restrictions, it's VR! Of course reloading becomes a problem when you don't have a free hands to do it with... Speaking of reloading, it's quite realistic with you having to eject the magazine (either pulling it out or by clicking a menu item, or by hitting the magazine with another one, all a bit strange ways to do it), putting a new one in and cocking it.

One realistic thing is that the bullets do come out from the barrel and the sights are aligned to about 50 m away. There was a time I aimed at a nearby breakable padlock with the iron sights and a laser right, but I couldn't hit it. I had a look at where the barrel was pointing and it wasn't at the padlock. You can't adjust the sights but most of the combat takes place at about 50 m away anyway.

As with all the other VR games I've played, one handed weapons like pistols and knives feel the best and two handed weapons feel a bit floaty. You have to pretend you have an invisible assault rifle in your hands, which can be difficult in hectic situations. In real life you would easily find the barrel with your support hand by feel but in the game you have to rely on visually seeing both the hand and the barrel. You can place your supporting hand under the barrel or on the base of the magazine. In the game placing your hand further away from the magazine seems to be a more stable way of holding it. In the army I found it quite straining and like many others began holding it on the base of the magazine.


Inventory

The inventory works in two ways; either you put pistols or other small weapons/items in underarm holsters, two weapons behind your back and one weapon behind your lower back, or you can access a menu for quick access. At times it can be difficult to reach the specific weapon in the heat of the battle, and especially the two rear inventory spaces get mixed up easily. Sometimes a weapon you are trying to put away just falls on the floor. At the end of the level you can throw any found weapons into a vortex to use them in the arena and sandbox levels. The inventory is reset between each level, but most levels start with a weapon shop where you use magazines as currency. Luckily there's a lot of ammo to be found, although some are in hard to reach places.


Climbing and VR comfort

You can climb almost anywhere you want to. Your hands are usually all you will need but you can also use a crowbar or a similar item to reach higher places and pull yourself there.

A side effect of the player character being affected by physics is that climbing can feel like you're made of jello, wobbling around as you go up. The first time I played it I got a bit nauseated by this, and I have played a lot of VR games with no problem. But that was the only time, maybe I had a too long pause from VR gaming. This is not a game for people who get VR sick or who are new to VR games. The only movement option is "sliding movement" with the stick which makes some people sick. There are no dark bars around the edges of your vision while moving, not even as an option. I'm fine with it, but many people do get VR sick. You just need to play for as long as it feels good to and then play again the next day, building a tolerance.


Saves and plot

At the moment the only saves are between levels, and some levels can take more than an hour to complete. This is annoying as there isn't a way to know how long a level is going to be, so playing on weekday evenings you better start early if you want to go to bed in time. A checkpoint system is in the works.

And oh yeah, there is some sort of a plot about being trapped in a VR world but it's barely there. The game is all about physics interaction and combat, the plot is there to barely justify you being there doing what you do.


Summary and verdict

While I haven't beaten the final level yet, I think it's safe to say that all in all it has been a very enjoyable experience, setting a new standard for VR games to come. At a regular price of 25 € for more than 10 hours of gameplay it's a good deal. Compared to Arizona Sunshine, a very good zombie shooter with a 3-5 hour story mode and a base price of 40 € Boneworks is a steal.

Other notable VR games

Half-Life: Alyx is coming in March 2020 and will most likely be a must-buy for any VR gamer. I know I will buy it the moment it becomes available.

Another one worth noting is the recently released The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners. Yet another zombie shooter but reviews say it's very well done, interactions are close to what Boneworks has and the campaign is about 15 hours long. There are some problems like you can only crouch with the press of a button, not by crouching yourself but there's a patch coming to fix that. I haven't bought this one yet but probably will in the future.

The stealth game Budget Cuts got a sequel, Budget Cuts 2. More teleporting and throwing knives at patrolling robots, but there's also a crossbow to use this time around. Reviews say it's good and expanding on the first game with more variety. Another one I will surely buy in the future.

The Spy Who Shrunk Me is inspired by Ant-Man & Austin Powers while being a gigantic love letter to the legendary No One Lives Forever series of games. It's a stealth game set in the 1980s where you are armed with a shrink ray you can use on your enemies and yourself. It's a short game made in Finland with a regular price of 10 € (I got it for 2,50 € on a sale) and that's the next one I'll tackle after I'm done with Boneworks.

Posted on: 2/1 14:49
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