Review: Apex Construct (PSVR)

Review: Apex Construct (PSVR)


  • PlayStation 4
  • Oculus Rift
  • HTC Vive
  • Windows Mixed Reality

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR


  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 None
  • Move Required (2)
  • PS VR Aim Controller None
Title: Apex Construct
Format: PSN (3.27 GB)
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Publisher: Fast Travel Games
Developer: Fast Travel Games
Original MSRP: $29.99 (US), £24.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E10+
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

The first year of PlayStation VR brought us a lot of short gaming experiences. It was a crutch that gave gaming journalists the perfect weapon to use in the click-bait-ready articles proclaiming the doom of VR.

A year later we are still getting some shorter games on PS VR, but the influx of full games that resemble what we’ve come to expect from regular console experiences has improved. Games like The Solus Project and even that headset-selling Skyrim port are keeping gamers immersed in VR for longer stretches.

Apex Construct hopes to join that roster with a lengthier adventure that has you exploring and fighting robots in a world somewhat reminiscent of last year’s Horizon Zero Dawn. Now please don’t mistake that statement with a testament that this is that same game in VR. The themes are the same – and you use a bow and arrow to fight robots – but the pacing is quite different.

Regardless, Apex Construct is an adventure game, and one with an intriguing premise, some enjoyable combat mechanics, and outside of the somewhat tedious computer logs that require you to actually type in commands into a DOS interface, an interesting story to tell.

Combat is reminiscent of other VR bow and arrow experiences whose controls reach back to the early days of the Move controllers. You don’t actually have to grab an arrow from a quiver though, and simply holding the trigger while you draw back will nock the arrow, and releasing will launch your bolt at the enemy. Options for left handed controls are available as well.

Pulling the opposite trigger will bring up a shield that allows you to deflect enemy fire. This is a welcome addition since dodging in VR isn’t always easy. During the more hectic battles, things got pretty intense and it was a blast to block enemy fire and respond in kind.

Motion controls offer various movement options. Everything from smooth turning, to teleport locomotion is available. And although smooth walking is optional, teleportation is actually required to reach certain places. I made the initial mistake of thinking that everything was accessible by walking and was stuck for a few minutes before realizing that I had to teleport over a small step.

The inventory screen is also worth noting and is a swift reminder of why VR can take something as rudimentary as an item screen and turn it into an augmented holographic display that reaches into your geeky heart and gives it a little tug.

Just grabbing an item from a table and calling up your inventory screen is a cool experience. You also use this second screen as a way to select different arrows and projectiles.

You will do some exploring and some of the narrative is told through computers strewn throughout the environments. Here is where I ran into a small love/hate relationship with the common “left behind” notes from the past that have been a part of adventure games for years.

In Apex Construct you actually have to access a DOS-based interface, type “dir” to see what files are available. Then you actually have to type “open history” to access the file.

I get it. It’s kinda neat to fully engage you in the actual accessing of files, but in VR, typing, even with huge buttons, can lead to double-tapping and missing keys, and so I’d find myself skipping computers because I didn’t want that break in the momentum. I did get faster at typing and realized that it was sometimes important – or crucial – to access these terminals as codes to open doors were hidden in the text.

The game may not have the feverish pacing of something like Raw Data, but it’s meant to be a VR action-adventure. Gameplay-wise it succeeds in that.

Trading hyper realistic graphics for a simpler stylized look, Apex Construct looks cohesive and it works. With the exception of some glitching and pop-in geometry, it also runs well on PS VR as a result. I played it on PS4 Pro and aside from some expected aliasing, everything looked clean.

Some great animations accompany the robotic enemies and give them a lifelike motion that reminds me of those Boston Dynamics videos. Equally your own technology looks awesome in VR, with your tech bow shifting and transforming when you switch from shield to attack mode.

With VR games needing to take shortcuts to compensate for rendering elements twice, this one does so with grace by giving us a believable world that doesn’t require the most realistic textures or shaders to make it work.

Since you are the only “human” left alive, a lot of the story is told through the narration of an AI that sounds remarkably like the sword from Transistor.

Spatial sound effects make for some of the better sound design in VR, since you’re not just dealing with surround sound, but locational relativity to the enemies on the screen.

This game is one player only with no online component.

Apex Construct succeeds as a narrative adventure game. It’s not an open world RPG, but it has components of such a game with an interesting universe to explore and unwind. It’s designed from the ground up for VR, so the mechanics work well with the Move controllers. It’s a little glitchy on the visuals side, but not even remotely anywhere near game-breaking.

No doubt, if you are looking for an adventure game to pry you off Skyrim for a few hours, or simply love shooting robots with a cyber bow and arrow, look no further than Apex Constructor.


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

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