Unnerving, immersive and immensely fun
It’s worth mentioning that I’m writing this review after completion of the main game.
I’ll start by saying two things, 1: I truly believe VR is the future of gaming and 2: This game is definitely not for the squeamish. Whilst this isn’t the perfect game (not far off) this is easily the best VR experience I have had and made me feel the headset was worth it’s hefty price tag ( if this is a sign of things to come).
One thing I have to start with is there were times I genuinely had to stop playing because I was too scared, it has to be said I am a bit of a wimp but I’ve never had a pause a horror film (to compare). The first time I felt scared was very early on. The ‘experience’ starts with you in a Marsh or garden, it’s cool walking around trying a gate, a car door etc. You can’t get in the house though the front so have to find your way around the back, and this is where I was scared. You approach the open back door which is pitch black inside, and I genuinely took a minute to look at the artificial sun and had to prep myself to go in. And it only gets more terrifying from then on out.
One of the first things i noticed was that the movement wasn’t fluid, this is to help the frame rate of the game being in VR and pretty detailed. So it does feel a little ‘jolty’ at times and when battling enemies it can occasionally make things difficult. But it doesn’t take away from the experience an awful lot and in your head you understand why. As a game it’s actually just really fun, Resi has gone back to it’s horror survival roots with a really creepy backdrop. The gameplay is amazing in VR, crouching underneath counters to find secrets and items; combining items in an interactive menu screen which pops up in front of you whenever needed; and the combat is excellent, I jumped so many times just because I didn’t see an enemy (a mould) creep around a corner, and when you eventually get the better weapons fighting the moulds is all the fun in the world, setting fire to them or blowing their heads off. With the added VR feel you’ll often find yourself jumping back.
The frights are also varied (as you’d expect from a horror game) and 10x worse in VR, there are times which are just god damn creepy with sounds all around you, and other times where they’ll chuck in a jump scare which often (always) made me scream like a little girl. Then the boss fights come in the form of one of the members of the family, these are always really fun arena style fights that grow in scale throughout the game. Overall it’s really really good, the general experience is brilliant and very absorbing and you definitely forget you’re sat in your living room.
I enjoyed the whole thing, i think i clocked in around 8.5 hours overall, the pacing was great the story kept you interested the whole way through and it switched from creepy horror to action shooter always at the right times. I have advised people who have only played it without a VR to try and replay it with as it’s a completely different experience.
The story starts when your wife lets you know she’s going (via a video email) and you CAN’T follow her. Obviously you track her down and eagerly follow her trail. It turns out she’s been kidnapped by a creepy hillbilly family who are now out to get you (well you did break into their house) but all is not as it seems, Mia (your wife) definitely isn’t herself and attacks you, she’s been possessed, is she a zombie, a demon, who knows? But you’ve got to cure her. She has moments of clarity and you find out she’s here on purpose but you don’t know why, the mystery unfolds and the storyline is very strong throughout the game. I don’t want to say too much more and get in to spoilers but the story gives you a purpose to explore the whole map and it never gets boring, it never feels dumb, just constantly eerie and creepy.
The graphics are never bad, but sometimes they’re not completely great. When you’re inside the house it’s at it’s best, there are times where something will look like a bland pixelated mess but you then approach it and the graphics improve, but overall indoors the rooms and items and enemies always look good. There are massive frame rate issues where it clearly drops from 100 FPS to maybe 50 FPS and you can really notice this when outside, often you’ll notice a 2d leaf or some shoddy texturing. I know they had to make changes to facilitate the VR and I think this lets you forgive it a little and you’re having too much fun in this world. This is the sort of thing which makes me worried for Skyrim VR.
Perhaps I’m putting it down too much as often you don’t notice it and it’s always completely immersive but there are times you have to literally lean your head in to work out what something is. When you get moments where everything looks great, it’s absolutely fantastic and you look around impressed by the environment you’re in, creeped the F out. However times when you’re outside and there’s any sort of ‘distant views’ you can tell where they’re made obvious sacrifices.
It’s also worth saying that all of the enemies always look great, when someone is getting up in your face you feel like they are right in front of you and they always look really good. I quite often took a moment to really lean in and appreciate how good they looked whilst I was getting stabbed or chainsawed in half.
Sometimes though it’s down to how you have your head set on and tightening the strap or moving it up your head can change your eye focus and how good the game looks, and I know the good graphics are there, you often just have to be in the right position.
I have to forgive it as much as I can because the graphics are never awful and I was never taken away from the game and I realise it’s a new technology which has a ways to go. The VR processer itself is only capable of so much so perhaps the graphics would improve on a more powerful PC version.
A fucking amazing experience. I think it’s one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had just because the Virtual aspect made it completely immersive. I was definitely never bored and was left wanting more at the end. The gameplay is amazingly fun and the whole thing is completely terrifying. I would recommend this to anyone, gamer or not. It does everything you’d want a horror game to do, and more. It’s incredibly fun and exhilarating and you can’t always say that about games.
I have to give it 10/10 because I’ve never had an experience like it.