Surprise! Liverpool-based developer Firesprite is cooking up a disturbing first-person horror experience, and it’s coming to PlayStation VR.
The setup is simple but fun. You’ll play onboard The Persistence, a research vessel sent to study a collapsing star. When an experiment triggers a catastrophic failure, the ship’s computer attempts to save the day by reconstructing the deceased crewmembers. Unfortunately, it also introduces hideous errors in the process, transforming them into gibbering mutants. Oops!
Playing as a crewmember awoken from cryosleep, you’ll navigate the doomed ship, try to get the engines back online, and escape the ravenous clutches of the nearby black hole.
The ship itself is procedurally generated, so each time you die, you’ll awaken as a new character facing a new ship layout, different threats, and new opportunities. And die you will — death is an integral part of the gameplay loop.
As you play, you’ll collect stem cells you’ll use to enhance your character after death. Benefits like increased speed, health, and stealth that will help you stay alive long enough to complete the game.
As for weapons, your trusty sidearm is the Stem Cell Harvester, which syphons precious cells from enemies, with fatal results. The Gravity Bomb drops a miniature black hole to devour nearby mutants, while a Rage Serum injector grants you temporary super-strength for hand-to-hand pummeling. There are more conventional firearms, too, including a pistol that fires dark-energy-infused rounds.
I enjoyed my time with the game. Its techno-horror atmosphere gave me flashbacks to System Shock 2, and its roguelike qualities should give it some serious longevity. I also liked how the developers introduce systems to better accommodate VR play, such as a teleport maneuver you can use to close the gap on helpless enemies.
I also got a peek at a smartphone companion app that could make the game a party hit. Nearby players can log in to the ship’s computer to view the level layout and identify upcoming threats or items. Help or hinder? The choice will be yours.
No details yet on a release date, but The Persistence is heading to PS VR and it’s definitely on my radar.