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View Poll Results: Far From The Maddening Crowd

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  • 10 - Far Out

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Thread: [PSVR] Farpoint

  1. #1

    [PSVR] Farpoint

    I have been thinking a lot about what to write here. Some context first, I haven't really played a VR game for about four months as I have been busy moving house. I also took the cheapskate option and bought the standalone game rather than shell out the 100 that the PlayStation Aim controller currently runs for. This means that my impressions come from using the standard PS4 controller. There is currently no option to use the move controllers. This seems odd at first but from a design perspective it becomes clearer when you start to understand what Farpoint sets out to do.

    A lot of VR games would be more properly labelled as experiences. Usually impressive but lacking in the qualities that might normally be associated with video games. They lack challenge, they are immersive and interactive but they don't tend to require much in the way of skill from the player. They are at the same time the most interactive entertainment products around (look if I touch my belt I 'pick' up a Batarang!) but with some of the least interesting input / output design choices (look I can throw a Batarang at.... some moving targets that the batarang is guided to by heavy aim assist). Farpoint sets out to step above that.

    Farpoint sets out to actually be a video game. What it doesn't do particularly well is showcase that fact to players in the first hour. There is a story which is well written and engaging but not exactly earth shattering in the scope of what it sets out to achieve. It gets you to where you need to be, essentially a far off planet with some hostile native creatures and a linear path to follow. You trundle along your path following your mission and it seems like your control options are limited to looking around. It feels like a walking simulator where you can only move very slightly to the left or the right of one long (but visually open) corridor. You defend yourself from the local wildlife and the game does a good job of explaining how to use the various weaponry you find along the way.

    What is should tell you right from the start is to go into the options menu and change the settings so that you can use the right stick to move your line of sight to look around. I can understand why this isn't set as the default option, people who are new to VR will likely need some time to bed in but once you have changed this to move along the horizontal axis you get the benefit of 'looking' around with your head but much greater control over where you are heading to. When you first start Farpoint you get the feeling that you can't turn around or really deviate from the set path. You can though. You have full control to go wherever you want. And later on you're going to need that control because Farpoint gets hard.

    As the story progresses so do the enemy encounters (both in number and variety) and the intensity of the gunplay. There are design concessions that I suspect are related to the of the default control setting. For example, it is rare that an enemy will try to outflank the player by running behind them. They will flank to the side but not to the back. At first this seems odd but when you stop to think about it it's a sensible design choice. Shooting your virtual gun is much harder than anyone will be used to. Aiming with twin analogue sticks is easy. Aiming a 'real' gun is not. The gun control feels much more natural, that is to say, difficult. Gamers long been used to running around blasting the crap out of anything with pinpoint accuracy. This is the first time I have actually thought, this is what it would be like to do this for real. The internal space it occupies in your head far exceeds what you get on a flat TV screen. The takeaway message here is that VR can do this type of game and it can do it well.

    The other thing that Farpoint does very well is a sense of scale. There is a moment, late on in the campaign, where you are walling alongside something much bigger than you. The scale is equivalent to BT from Titanfall 2 but BT never felt that big. This does. You look up and it towers above you. You are insignificantly small next to it and the feeling simply cannot be achieved without the VR tech. There are a few enemies of a similar scale and the feeling of being there in these moments really excels.

    Improvements could be made but overall I am impressed with what Impulse Gear have achieved here. It is a VR experience but more than that it is a game. There are challenge missions, online coop and a decent story. I hope there is a sequel and I hope this gets more recognition than it seems to. People need to get behind VR tech for it to succeed and as a developing technology it really should get the chance it deserves. With this and Resident Evil 7 proving that full game experiences do work, all we need is more. More developers and more buyers. Improving traditional screen resolution will only get you so far. VR really does feel like the future of gaming. It's great.

  2. #2
    What an excellent write up, I completely agree with everything you say. With free movement enabled, and increasing the turn rate, I feel this proves that any 1st person shooter can work in VR.
    The sense of "being there" is incredible. I still get a buzz of fear every time a giant starship trooper style bug rushes towards me. Waiting till the last moment to thrust your shotgun between his Armour plated scales and into his mouth really gets my heart going. It's pathetic, I'm a grown man.

    For the first time, cover actually works, you can blind fire around corners or above your head. Firing from the hip is wildly inaccurate, as it should be. If the front and rear sights aren't perfectly aligned then you're going to miss. It's makes the game more skill based rather than reflex based. It's wonderful.

    A little tip I discovered is that you can load a gun in the background. Hit the reload button and immediately switch weapons, it'll continue loading on your backpack. In this way you can keep a near constant stream of fire going which is essential in the excellent time trials.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by MrSpiggott View Post
    What an excellent write up, I completely agree with everything you say. With free movement enabled, and increasing the turn rate, I feel this proves that any 1st person shooter can work in VR.
    The sense of "being there" is incredible. I still get a buzz of fear every time a giant starship trooper style bug rushes towards me. Waiting till the last moment to thrust your shotgun between his Armour plated scales and into his mouth really gets my heart going. It's pathetic, I'm a grown man.

    For the first time, cover actually works, you can blind fire around corners or above your head. Firing from the hip is wildly inaccurate, as it should be. If the front and rear sights aren't perfectly aligned then you're going to miss. It's makes the game more skill based rather than reflex based. It's wonderful.

    A little tip I discovered is that you can load a gun in the background. Hit the reload button and immediately switch weapons, it'll continue loading on your backpack. In this way you can keep a near constant stream of fire going which is essential in the excellent time trials.
    The high price of entry means that only grown men will get to experience this! That or the rich kids of Instagram...

    You're spot on about the cover and the blind fire, COD wouldn't work as it exists today in VR and for that I am thankful. Glad to see another player enjoying this though, you might even catch me trying to connect to a co-op game at some point. Thanks for the tip on the reload as well. The challenge missions are difficult to say the least! I have yet to 3 star any of them.

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