A Virtual Reality Awaits Vol.5
It’s been a few months since the last volume of this feature. To be honest up until a couple of weeks ago I hadn’t really used my headset much since then, a GPU upgrade last month distracted me a little too, but the recent release of PSVR2 seems to have increased interest within the gaming sphere for VR – seems to have rubbed off on me too. The ol’ Reverb G2 has seen daily usage since, some old games and some new (Polybius never gets old though and Narcosis seems even more terrifying than before) so you can expect speedy dispatches on this feature for a little while at least.
If there’s one thing I miss about the PSVR, its the slick VR port for the Wipeout Omega Collection. Sure there’s a few futuristic racers on PC, like Redout for example, that can get the job done but they don’t quite scratch the itch. BallisticNG doesn’t quite cure that itch, but it at least eases it, as it offers up a more classic Wipeout experience – along the lines of Wip3out with all manner of CRT & graphic settings to give it a more classic PS1 look.
Obviously though we ain’t here to chew the fat over the flat version, as good as it is, as its the VR we are interested in. There’s no motion control support and most of the retro graphic options are disabled, unsurprisingly, but it is the full game playable at least. You would think that the PS1-era scale of the tracks might not be a good fit, but there’s plenty of atmosphere in a rain soaked metropolis for example that begs to differ. What really sells it for me is that, instead of having a single generic cockpit, each ship has its own unique cockpit. Not only that but the shape of the ship dictates where the cockpit is as you see on the model which can also have a realistic effect on visibility. A ship with a low cockpit and long nose for example can have the front of the craft blocking your view when going over a crest which leaves you having to move around to try and view past it. I guess you could say its a little more active than expected of a cockpit VR racer.
Given the Steam Workshop support for more craft and tracks etc, as well as continued updates from the developers, this should be worth a purchase for anyone interested in classic Wipeout – even without a VR headset. VR just sweetens the deal. To be honest I’ve had this since before I had any VR headset, but being priced at just £11.39 on Steam these days is a bargain – even with the additional DLC its still under £20.
Star Wars Squadrons
I’ve actually had this game for a while, but the last time I tried it in VR was the Riftcat days which weren’t too kind on it to be fair. Not that it didn’t play well or anything, but the image quality suffered and it had some weird glitches during the cinematics. With a G2 in hand it seemed about time to return.
I’m glad I did. Granted, its not a game-changer in the space combat genre, missions usually consist of ‘defend this ship’ or ‘blast the rebel scum’, but its probably still the best VR experience for Star Wars. The high-resolution display of the G2 really brings out the detail and quality of the cockpits you find yourself in, you get to fly numerous rebel & imperial ships after all, as everything you need from health to power settings is right there in front of you. Aside from objective markers there isn’t anything else to really draw you out of the experience, with VR really bringing out the scale of some of the dogfights or capital ships you’ll be engaging. Surprisingly I also liked the squad member chats between missions, each member had enough character that you’ll decide who’s worth keeping an eye on when the shooting starts – the briefings were also pretty cool done in that classic Star Wars way with the large hologram. I suppose the only downer is that I don’t have a flight stick to add to the immersion, but it plays fine with a controller.
With the whole game playable in VR, story & online, there’s plenty to get through for the meagre price the game can be found for these days on the likes of CDKeys. The origin version can usually be had for a few quid, and works through Steam VR perfectly fine just by toggling VR in the options menu. If you have any interest in Star Wars then you can’t really go wrong with this game in VR.
Pixel Ripped 1995
Every now and again just browsing for something new to play in VR can lead you to a surprising game you may never have seen elsewhere, that’s where this little gem came in after a browse on Kinguin. Pixel Ripped 1995 is a nostalgia fuelled journey that follows on from the previous 1989 game, fully playable in VR with several games to play along your journey.
You’ll generally be playing the 16/32-Bit styled games at home or at a store etc with plenty of annoyingly 90’s things like tryhard bullies and nagging parents to contend with. The game uses these as additional challenges, early on you’ll need to regularly distract your mom from turning off your console to keep progressing on the game you’re playing, before the game breaks the 4th wall and has the boss battle play out on the living room floor in front of you. It’s these moments that really sell the game for me, as well as the visits to the game worlds themselves, There’s just something nostalgic about sitting in front of a big ass CRT in ya jimmies playing games, before going into the games and having them break from their cartridges like you wished they’d do back in the day
It can also be played with either a pad or motion controls, though to be fair the distractions are a little easier to contend with when using motion controls. As noted before its a game I’ve never really come across, the Steam VR section has never showcased it, and stumbled upon it by chance when browsing the VR section on Kinguin. There it cost around £12, which isn’t actually much cheaper than on Steam itself (£15.49) after checking, so may be better served getting it direct.
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