225 Published Reviews
Winter Fury: The Longest RoadPC
The lack of proper feedback, the strange glitches (including the ability to shoot through scenery sometimes) and the graphical fidelity simply aren’t good enough to make this game worth your time despite the handful of bright spots. The game is, at the very least, true to its name, it certainly feels like the longest road, despite the incredible short playtime.
Path of the WarriorPC
Twisted Pixel have done a good job of replicating what it would feel like to go inside of a Streets of Rage-type video game and it mostly succeeds on that front. To be clear: Path of the Warrior isn’t a bad game, but with only five stages that take less than two hours to clear, repetitive combat, and not much depth at all, it’s nowhere near as impressive as it could be.
Budget Cuts 2: Mission InsolvencyPC
For all intents and purposes Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency is a bigger and better version of its predecessor in virtually every way. The scope is larger, the bow and arrow adds significantly more depth and strategy to combat, levels are designed more thoughtfully, there are fewer bugs and AI issues, and it all around feels like a more complete game. Budget Cuts 2 feels like the game that the original Budget Cuts wanted to be, but never quite lived up to.
That need not be such a damning statement, though. Boneworks never sweeps you away on the same kind of rollercoaster ride its biggest influences charted, but you’d be hardpressed not to get carried away on its own journey; one of interactive wizardry, devilishly gratifying combat and stunning physical authenticity, even if that occasionally works against you. Ultimately it might not be the VR shooter to turn the heads of the masses, but if you want to see where that future lies, you can’t miss Boneworks.
This isn’t the ultimate VR racing game by any means, but it still manages to deliver the fun of competent combat racing in spurts. With a small offering of tracks and vehicles, no real progression system, and no customization it’s a bit bare bones, but the thrill of seeing explosions and drifting around a giant pinball machine salvages a lot of the intensity.
With a lackluster story, an obstructive UI experience, and a niche concept, Stardust Odyssey isn’t this holiday’s killer app, but it remains something of a standout for VR deep-divers due to a first-of-its-kind setting and solid movement controls that feel floaty and fun just as they’re meant to. Add that to the game’s risk-reward stealth gameplay, and Stardust Odyssey is a flawed game, but not one that shouldn’t be bartered for.
Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR SeriesPC
It gets closer to fulfilling that mission than you might first think, and it might come at the cost of the depth some will miss, but this is an adventure any fan can pick up and play. Vader Immortal might not age well as the years move on, but as an early example of how VR is truly different from what’s come before, it will surely be immortalized.
Vader Immortal: Episode IIIPC
A mostly welcome ending to a mostly excellent series, then. Vader Immortal’s ambition has occasionally outstretched its capabilities, and, even for a two-hour adventure, its pacing hasn’t always been on point. But Episode III offers the best of the series’ combat, some of its most memorable high points and a relieving lack of its lowest. As far as the concluding part of Star Wars trilogies go, that’s a very good spot to be in.
Espire 1: VR OperativePS4
Espire 1: VR Operative is unquestionably the best expression of the stealth action genre we’ve seen in VR yet. The small touches of polish go a long way towards selling the immersion and opening your mind to the creativity on display to complete missions and the inventive VR-focused mechanics make it a pleasure to play actively in a roomscale space. While a larger budget, more time, and overall more resources could have elevated Espire 1: VR Operative to the status of being a landmark VR game that pushes the boundaries and redefines the genre even further, it’s still extremely good and certainly worth playing.
When it comes to virtual reality and the rhythm genre, there might be better options out there. However, not many (if any at all) will allow you to experience a complete narrative while you play the game, and even fewer also give you the opportunity to explore a 3D environment – complete with puzzles – in between songs. While many might be playing Deemo Reborn for just its rhythm roots, they’ll find a much deeper game once they jump in, and fans of any gaming genre might even be able to find something to enjoy about this title.
By the end of the experience, I finally felt in stride with its intricacies, learning when to press the attack and when to hold back. But the game’s needless desire to brutally punish your mistakes paired with occasional combat bugs that are annoying at times and unforgivable in others had me torn throughout. When Golem’s working with you, it absolutely shines, but it also has a stubborn desire to test your patience to the absolute limit.
There’s plenty more work to be done, then, but when looking back at the shape of VR shooters over the past three years, Stormland shines as a real achievement. Many of its dizzying strands of design are dreamlike in delivery, from the seamless UI and scaling cliff faces with Olympic proficiency to effortlessly surfing its bed of clouds or unloading a rattling barrage of bullets on enemies. Its stumbles are as obvious as they are numerous, but it picks itself back up again time after time. The seas of VR shooter development are still stormy, but Stormland sails them with aplomb.
Journey For ElysiumPC
Journey for Elysium’s gorgeous black and white visuals offer a terrific atmosphere and the trip to the end is fun, thanks to the variety of game play elements. But the game is over way too soon with some frustrating boating sections and simple puzzles.
Battlewake is a very solid pirate ship combat game that has great presentation, fun gameplay, and good core mechanics, but it just doesn’t have enough depth. The campaign is over just as you feel like you’re coming to grips with each character, multiplayer lacks the breadth and depth it needs, and generally it’s missing a unifying framework to tie it all together more strongly.
The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under PressurePS4
The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure borrows not from the forgotten heap of licensed tie-in games of the past and instead looks to mimic some of co-op gaming’s recent hits. It does so admirably and comes out as a game surprisingly worthwhile if you’re playing in co-op. When flying solo, persistent issues hamper the game, but with a flock of friends or family, it’s a happily hectic and cleverly built game for the VR player and their sidekicks alike.
Groundhog Day: Like Father Like SonPS4
What a pleasant surprise, then. Against all odds, Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son nestles itself neatly amongst the growing number of VR titles that marry compelling, involving narrative with thoughtful interactivity. It’s a game with a welcome amount of heart, refusing to settle for the usual standards of tie-in media. Dare I say it, it’s even a worthy follow-up to a movie you’d have thought best left untouched. Bravo.
Fans of VR RPGs need not look further: Vanishing Realms and its new accompanying expansion are fantastic. The Sundered Rift content is a pleasant surprise as not only does it continue on from the base game’s first two chapters, but it delivers an experience that’s longer, larger, and more ambitious. Zones feel more open and varied, there are close to a dozen new enemies, and tons of new weapons and challenges.
Acron: Attack of the Squirrels!PC
Acron is something of a delight, then. Certainly not an epiphanic bastion of VR immersion, but a hectic hassle of shouts and screams that exposes the platform’s more playful side. Played with friends, it’s a wickedly entertaining package that will have you passing the headset in rapid succession. There’s a slickness to the production and design here, one that removes much of the baggage of other VR party games. Even as VR headsets start to become more accessible, Acron is remarkably light to the touch.
Despite Pinball FX2 VR’s lack of motion controls, it is nice to have another game for the Quest where you can just sit down and be immersed. Soon the minutes fade away, as you pursue the next high score. Perhaps Zen Studios will bring over more tables from the non-VR version of the game in the future, or maybe even bring Pinball FX3 to VR, but for now this is the only way a pinball wizard can show their magic while on the go.
Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot has all of the right ingredients to be an exciting VR game focused on murdering tons of Nazis, but ends up feeling like it’s just too safe with far too little content. Mechanically it works well and there are some quality moments of fun, but just as the world starts to get interesting it’s all over.
Naturally, all of this is just slightly sharper inside practically every PC VR headset over PSVR. If you own an Index, then the winning combination of incredible screen clarity and crystal-clear off-ear headphones will bring Tetris Effect to a new level. But even on Rift S, Vive or otherwise, itâs an appreciated step up.
Gorn is the product of two years of tireless Early Access development. What started out as a laughable bit of nonsense has gradually evolved into, well, a much more polished and expansive bit of nonsense. It’s a toybox filled with razor-sharp playthings and endless action figures to use them on, upheld by a combat system that bends reality to eschew awkwardness. Ultimately it might just be a glorified tech demo for VR combat, but it’s one that will produce enough laughs and gasps that you’ll be willing to risk bodily harm playing it. For better or worse, that’s a potent example of immersion.
Rise of Insanity isn’t a perfect game, but it doesn’t try to be. The story has some satisfying twists if you’re paying attention and the environments are well-designed with nice vistas and some top-notch jump scares to keep you on your toes. I’d have loved motion controller support or a more fleshed out VR integration, but as it stands as a gamepad-only VR title it certainly delivers good scares wrapped up in a solid story at a brisk two hour pace.
In the end Defector is a good, fun game at a very fair price point that offers some cheap thrills, loads of replayability, and a handful of truly thrilling moments that successfully let you live out your Bond, Bourne, or Mission Impossible power fantasy from the safety of a VR headset. But it could have been a whole lot more because that’s all it is: a highlight reel. It never digs deep enough, shoots fast enough, or runs far enough to be considered worthy of mentioning in the same breath as those spy thriller greats as anything other than a cursory imitation with a small bit of heart.
FREEDIVER: Triton DownPC
Freediver: Triton Down is better than it has any right to be. What could well have been a soul-crushing slog turns out to be a pleasingly immediate palette cleanser. Its got some B-movie style missteps, but sharp design punctuates every element of a game that never outstays its welcome. So take a deep breath and grab your goggles; this is one adventure that’s worth undertaking.