Review: DOOM VFR (PSVR)

Review: DOOM VFR (PSVR)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • HTC Vive

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 Optional (1)
  • Move Optional (2)
  • PS VR Aim Controller Optional
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Title: DOOM VFR
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (25.41 GB)
Release Date: December 1, 2017
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: id Software
Original MSRP: $29.99
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 18
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
I wanted to give DOOM VFR a few weeks before reviewing it because I felt that a small patch would fix one of my only issues with an otherwise pretty awesome – and intense – shooter for PlayStation VR.

But let me get to what totally works. Playing with a DualShock controller places DOOM VFR up there with Resident Evil 7 in terms of playability and control.

The two games play very similarly, and running and gunning feels familiar and works well, even in virtual reality.

The game supports various levels of control and comfort settings, which is a great thing considering how fast it is and how overwhelming the action can become.

Using warp-turning, I was able to play for quite some time without any issues.

Aiming works a lot like it does in Resident Evil 7 and RIGS. Your head controls the direction you aim your weapon while the twin sticks determine your heading and your character’s rotation.

This makes for some insanely precise shooting, but it doesn’t give you nearly the immersion of the Move controllers.

For me anyway, Move represents the best way to play this game, despite my being extremely excited for the Aim controller support. Aiming with the Move controllers feels natural and engages you in the action more than a traditional controller. However, this scheme does not come without issues.

When using Move, the game only allows for a 180 degree turning. The rest of the turning is done with your body. This would be absolutely fine with a VR rig like the HTC Vive, where you can turn your body a full 360 degrees without losing hand tracking.

Unfortunately, PlayStation VR gets confused when you turn completely around. What that means is that you constantly have to fight with the controls in order to line yourself up with certain enemies.

I watched a few YouTube videos where some folks made this work, but regardless of how many times I attempted to work with a 180-only turning, I always felt like I was struggling.

I was sincerely hoping that Bethesda would release a patch that would allow incremental turning – like Skyrim and Raw Data. Thus, I ended up going back to playing with the DualShock.

That leaves the Aim controller.

Games like Farpoint factor in the Aim controller in terms of character animation. When you hold a rifle, your in-game character holds the rifle with both hands in order to further place you in the game but DOOM VFR doesn’t.

You may be holding the Aim controller like a rifle, but the onscreen character is holding a pistol with his right hand, while the left hand floats helplessly to your left. This is very disorienting and breaks the immersion some. It doesn’t really break gameplay but it also didn’t become my favorite way to play, as I had hoped.

While the narrative isn’t nearly as complex or long as it’s predecessor, it still tells a decent story that ties into the original game and will clock you a few hours.

Visuals:
DOOM VFR ranks up there with some of the better-looking games on PS VR, particularly on the creatures side of things. Seriously, those things look nasty up close. Aside from that visual issue associated with the Aim controller, the game runs pretty smoothly, even at frantic speeds.

Audio:
I’ve always associated the DOOM franchise with great sound design – yes, even those telltale door sound effects that seem to be in every movie. The same can be said here. It’s highly recommended that this game be played with headphones, as the effects are pretty substantial.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
I was hoping that the Aim controller would get a use after my enjoyment with Farpoint. I highly expected DOOM VFR to be the next game to take full advantage of it. Alas, I ended up playing most of this game on a DualShock controller.

While it is fully playable with the Aim and Move, and I appreciate the option to use various control schemes, this title stood out more with the traditional controls. And when it stood out, it stood out well. There isn’t much replayability here, but I certainly jumped back into it from time to time just to destroy some demons in VR.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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