Hands-On: PlayStation VR 2018 Showcase

Hands-On: PlayStation VR 2018 Showcase

*PS Nation was invited to an event in Santa Monica, California by Sony for a hands-on preview of a number of upcoming PlayStation VR titles. Travel was paid for by the studio. The games were played on PS4 Pro and a 4K HDR display using PlayStation VR.

As part of the Pre-E3 Showcase, a number of VR titles were on hand and I got some time with all of them. Below are some brief impressions of Firewall: Zero Hour, ASTRO BOTS: Rescue Mission, Blood & Truth, Creed: Rise to Glory, Evasion, and Vacation Simulator.

Title: Firewall: Zero Hour
Release Date: 2018 (TBD)
First announced at last year’s PlayStation Experience in Anaheim, Firewall: Zero Hour is a team-based 4v4 tactical first person shooter played with the PS VR Aim Controller. This was my second time playing and things have progressed nicely with the game over the last few months.

This time around the action was set in a bunker in Russia and we played as different groups trying to defend a computer network. Communication is critical to the success of your team so you’ll be calling out enemy locations and requesting help a lot.

Firewall Zero Hour 01 Firewall Zero Hour 02

If you go down your teammates have some time to come heal you, unless the other team walks up and riddles your body with bullets, ensuring your elimination. At that point, you can watch the rest of the match and, at least for this build, still communicate to the surviving team members, letting them know where enemies are.

At launch you’ll have your choice between twelve different “contractors” each with their own unique look and specialty and there are plans to add to them as the game grows. What I’ve played so far across two events has been a lot of fun but I’d like to see a little more depth to the experience before making a strong judgement either way.

Title: ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission
Release Date: TBD
The Bots are back! This time you’ll be playing a full platformer in VR with the Captain bot, ASTRO. I had so much fun with this one in the two levels and one big boss fight that I played.

The full experience will have twenty levels spread across five planets as well as six huge bosses to contend with and it’s expected to run about eight to ten hours in total. You make your way around the levels attempting to rescue more than 200 Bots. For the crazies like me, there are also a number of hidden collectibles to find.

Astro Bot Rescue Mission 01 Astro Bot Rescue Mission 02

3D platformers work surprisingly well in VR and the light humor Japan Studio brings to the Bots makes the whole experience delightful. They make clever use of the full gamut of inputs on the DualShock 4 to turn the controller into a grappling hook, a slingshot, and more.

This single player game will definitely be a fun way to introduce new players to VR.

Title: Blood & Truth
Release Date: TBD
Building off the fun of the London Heist experience in PlayStation VR Worlds, the development team at SIE London Studio has decided to flesh out the experience by taking inspiration from their favorite action movies.

The game is set in London and it’s a mix of James Bond, John McLean, John Wick, and just about every other action hero rolled into one experience. You play as an ex-SIS Special Forces soldier with two Move controllers.

I played with a smooth locomotion option that worked really well in getting me from cover spot to cover spot. This is a one man vs. an army type scenario and I felt fully immersed in the action as I made my way through a small industrial area taking down every bad guy in my path.

Blood and Truth 01 Blood and Truth 02

The action and the shooting felt great. Reloading was smooth and you can interact with the environment in places. I came up alongside a car and opened the door to use it as some makeshift cover. It was pretty awesome.

There will also be story sections with things to do so it’s not all endless action and the final game should last about five to six hours when it releases.

Title: Creed: Rise to Glory
Release Date: 2018 (TBD)
Developer Survios is back with a licensed boxing game based on the Creed franchise. While it’s not based on either of the movies, it does have a campaign mode with a new story designed to fill in the gaps in that universe.

The team really worked on making you feel like you’re a real boxer in the ring. Punching, dodging, and blocking is all what you’d expect in a VR boxing game using two Move controllers, but then it gets really interesting.

As your stamina goes down, your character will slightly de-sync from your motions, making it harder to punch and block. The Fluid Locomotion System from Sprint Vector is back and it really comes into play in a very clever way.

Creed 01 Creed 02

When you get knocked down, you’ll be thrown from your body and out into a black abyss beyond the ring. You need to frantically swing your arms forward and back in a fluid motion to “run” back to your body before the ref gets to 10. Each time you get knocked down, it becomes harder to get back.

This incurs a natural penalty since you’ll be tired from swinging your arms madly to get back in time and you’ll have to immediately continue the fight a little more fatigued in real life. It’s a brilliant use of the motion and the Move controllers to really make you feel the tiring nature of a real fight, if not the brutal physical punishment.

Title: Evasion
Release Date: Fall 2018
This one’s a bullet hell first person shooter designed around co-op. Yeah, wrap your head around that. And guess what, it’s really fun.

Developed by Archiact, a team of twenty-five based in Vancouver, the four to five hour campaign can be played entirely in co-op with up to four players. There’s a two player campaign mode and a survival mode for up to four players with shared lives just to make things more interesting.

Evasion is built in the Unreal engine and it uses the PS VR Aim controller and the team worked really hard to push several different types of locomotion including a completely free move option for a true FPS experience in VR. There’s also a dash step which snaps to pre-defined areas and Jogging which is somewhere in between the two.

Evasion 01 Evasion 02

What’s cool is that you can try all of them out in a pre-game tutorial area to find which one works best for you. This is where you’ll test out the four different classes, the Surgeon, the Striker, the Warden, and the Engineer, along with their different weapons and tethers.

The game has a bit of a Farpoint vibe to it but the classes, weapons, and tethers make a difference. You can use the tether to grab items dropped by your enemies as well as power ups for your weapons.

I played through a level on my own and it was an intense and really fun experience. It would certainly have been easier with a partner and I’m excited to check out to full campaign when the game hits this Fall.

Title: Vacation Simulator
Release Date: (TBD)
Developed by Owlchemy Labs and set in the same Universe as Job Simulator, Vacation Simulator see our robot overlords of the future trying to understand vacations, which make even less sense to them than jobs did.

I was at a beach resort for my vacation and the improvements from Job Simulator and even Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality were readily apparent. The game was tailored specifically for each platform, taking into account the uniqueness of each VR setup.

This was done by creating an actual cage out of PVC pipes in the office and trying to play the game within it. If the tester reached out and hit the sides of the cage, they knew something needed to be tweaked.

It makes reaching for things around you a much better experience. This also required some creative thinking of how to keep things within reach and how to bring them back if you decided to throw them away.

Vacation Simulator 01 Vacation Simulator 02

What really got me excited was the sand castle platform. I was about to build but it felt a bit high. I saw a handle on the front and grabbed it and I was shocked and thrilled when I was able to adjust the height. One of the things Owlchemy Labs has learned is that things need to be more fluid in VR to accommodate different people. And on that note, whether you’re five feet tall or six foot seven, the bots will always be at your eye level. It requires a lot of extra work but the end result is a better experience for everyone.

You now have a backpack as well which will allow you to carry multiple items around including pictures you’ve taken with your new camera. One interesting thing you can do with the camera is turn it around and take a selfie. So yes, you now have an in-game avatar which is highly customizable. The customization even became such a big thing with the development team that it had its own Slack channel.

They’re being tight lipped on what other experiences will be available so you’ll just have to speculate on what the bots would consider a vacation and how they would implement it. Whatever scenarios they come up with, the game is already much bigger than Job Simulator and from what I played, a much more refined and fun experience. We’ll know more as we approach a release date closer to the end of this year or early next year.

Written by Josh Langford

Josh Langford

Josh has been gaming since 1977 starting with the Atari 2600.
He currently owns 26 different consoles and 6 different handhelds (all hooked up and in working condition) including all consoles from the current generation.

Josh is currently the US PR & Marketing Manager for Fountain Digital Labs and has recused himself from any involvement on PS Nation arising from posting or editing any news or reviews stemming from FDL.

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