The next wave of PS VR titles is on the way… and it's arguably the strongest lineup yet.
Ahead of E3 2018, Sid and I got a chance to play six new games being shown for PlayStation VR, including a few that only just got announced! Here are our first impressions on each one.
Bonus: click the play button above to listen to the very freshest takes on each of these titles, with special guest Geoff Keighley!
Creed: Rise to Glory
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I donned the PS VR headset, but Creed proved that boxing is an outstanding fit for the VR hardware. The dual PS Move motion controllers capably handled blocking and punching, while leaning back and to the side dodged incoming blows. It felt natural, intuitive, and utterly unique.
Creed is no flail-fest, either. I quickly learned to scan my opponent, searching for stance vulnerabilities, while always remembering to keep my hands up for defense. As my confidence grew, I started hammering away with 3- and 4-hit combos, and sneaking in jabs whenever he revealed a cheekbone or eyebrow.
Creed is one of my favorite VR experiences to date, and a great workout routine to boot — I was a sweaty mess after just one match. This one’s going to be a crowd pleaser.
Astro Bot Rescue Mission
An adorable new 3D platformer starring everyone’s favorite little DualShock-dwelling robots, Rescue Mission puts players in the metallic frame of a much larger robot, who oversees the playfield (sometimes modifying the playfield itself by, say, knocking your head into things) as you control Astro in a series of 3D platforming levels and boss battles.
Somewhat surprisingly, Rescue Mission ended up being one of the main highlights from Judges’ Week play sessions. I was impressed by how densely the developers packed inventive uses of PS VR and DualShock 4 tech into the levels I played. Naturally, since you’re actually inside the game’s levels, you’ll peek around corners to find secret routes and hidden collectibles. In a fun end-of-level minigame, your lil’ bot buddy hops up onto your DualShock 4 touchpad, which you use like a slingshot to fling them through a row of moving rings.
The most impressive moment here was a boss battle against a gargantuan gorilla on top of a skyscraper. The goal here is to use a combination of Astro’s attacks to break the monster’s teeth as it chomps down onto the playfield, followed by a grappling hook gadget built into the in-game DualShock 4 (flick up on the touchpad to fire the hook, then after it’s attached yank the controller back) to slam his head down into the ground. This particular battle illustrates how a creative developer can use PS4’s and PS VR’s various technologies pack natural-feeling, just plain fun interactions into their games.
Firewall: Zero Hour
PS VR’s eagerly anticipated competitive online shooter has seen a new round of polish since its debut at PSX last year. That build demonstrated great promise, but First Contact Entertainment has added a ton of visual, gameplay, and UX upgrades as the game readies for launch later this year.
A new map set in a tightly wrapped warehouse was a perfect showcase for this game’s unique sneak-and-peek shooter gameplay. Scampering around the map and covering flanking positions is a truly one-of-kind experience in VR, giving you a tense and tactile handle on the level layout and blind spots. You can now select different contractors that each boast a special skill (reduced damage, extra ammo, reduced recoil). And a new interactive lobby lets you suit up alongside your teammates – a cool touch.
I have never, ever played a game quite like Firewall, especially when coupled with the PS VR Aim Controller. My matches were tense cat-and-mouse games that consistently stiffened the hair on the back of my neck. This is one to watch.
Blood & Truth
London Studios, the team behind PS VR launch experience The London Heist, returns with a fully fleshed out campaign that casts you as the hero in a high-octane action blockbuster.
The ideas and mechanics first explored in Heist return here with a few updates: your gear is holstered on your shoulder, back, and belt — sidearm, heavy weapon, and ammo clips, respectively — putting them within easy reach of each of your PS Move-equipped hands. The act of slamming an ammo clip from your belt into your weapon is a welcome kinetic upgrade over simply pressing Square and watching an animation play out, and having to physically perform each reload adds considerable tension to Blood & Truth’s firefights. I quickly realized how important it is to keep track of how many bullets are left in your chamber.
You traverse by looking where you want to go and pressing the Move button, or by pressing X or Square to strafe left or right between cover. Some of the most intense moments in my play session saw me strafing into the open while taking potshots at an enemy, then ducking into cover before they could retaliate. Just like in the movies!
Things getting out of hand? Press both Move buttons simultaneously to enter Focus mode, slowing everything around you down to a crawl and evening the odds against the waves upon waves of thugs trying to cut your mission short.
We’ll share more on Blood & Truth as soon as we can convince the folks in London to let us play more of it — stay tuned!
This one’s best played with the PS VR Aim Controller and an online pal. Co-op shooter Evasion is the most ambitious title we’ve yet seen from the small team at Archiact.
Step one: choose a class. There are various roles to fill (think tank, healer, DPS in an MMO or in a game like Overwatch), each with their own abilities, strengths and weaknesses.
The key to success here is to play roles that complement each other — secondary “tether” abilities that you use on your teammate can accomplish different goals, like healing them or buffing their attack power. Your primary attack varies as well: the Striker class, for instance, fires a fairly weak laser as you hold the trigger, but as you hold it on an enemy you’ll lock on to them, firing a more powerful blast in their direction once you let go.
A big standout in this one was the soundtrack. As things got more and more intense during our time with Evasion, the intensity of the music ratcheted up, eventually evoking memories of Doom 2016’s fantastic Mick Gordon-composed ragefest. This is already a Very Fun Game™, but its energetic score elevates it into a real virtual reality blood-pumper.
Owlchemy Labs returns to PS VR with a polished follow-up to the legendary comedy laboratory Job Simulator. The game’s larger scope is immediately apparent: you can quickly hop between multiple activities, from building sand castles to grilling burgers to “sports.”
Using dual PS Move controllers, I noticed that interacting with objects felt more responsive compared to Job Simulator. This made manipulating objects far easier and more intuitive.
Owlchemy believes the secret to improving on Job Simulator is to empower player creativity and improvisation, so it’ll pay to experiment with different objects and approaches to each activity. We’ll see if they’re right when Vacation Simulator lands on PS VR later this year!