Occasionally here at Player2.net.au, we will play something that deserves your attention but probably doesn’t need a full review written for it. Be it DLC for the latest AAA title, a little indie game or even an Android/iOS title. We play these titles for a blockbusting amount of time (2 – 5 hours) and report back to you the reader on what we found. So grab your popcorn and settle in for the latest episode of Blockbuster Gaming.
Blockbuster Gaming – DOOM VFR
PSVR, HTC VIVE
I couldn’t hold back my intrigue and excitement when at E3 2017 Bethesda revealed that it was bringing some of its biggest IP (DOOM, The Elders Scrolls, and Fallout) to Virtual Reality platforms. Though the first steps of VR had been promising ones, I was yet to be convinced by the future of the platform, and I was looking for larger studios (aside from Sony who had their own VR platform) to make the jump before I convinced that a future for VR existed, beyond the immediate one. With Bethesda coming aboard, and their titles being an AAA bookend to a year that began so promisingly with Resident Evil VII, I’m convinced VR has a good future ahead of it – now is DOOM VFR any good?
The 2016 release of DOOM was the reboot the franchise so desperately needed and was one of the best games of its year. When DOOM VFR was announced I expected similarities between it and the 2016 release but as far as the framing narrative is concerned, the beats each game hits are near identical. Not that anyone ever cared much for the story of DOOM anyway, but a paper-thin story has been invented, that is mightily similar to the 2016 release and takes you through a series of small levels or arenas that are mostly ripped from the DOOM 2016 campaign/multiplayer.
Unfortunately and perhaps not unexpectedly the transition from traditional controls on a flat screen, to the VR space has not been a particularly smooth one. Bethesda provided me with a PS4 code for the game, and as such, certain advantages and constraints are present on the platform that cannot be found on other VR systems. When playing on PS4, you can choose between the Dualshock, a pair of Move Controllers or the aim controller. The Move Controllers, despite their accuracy in aiming, are the worst option of the three because your ability to pivot your stance is severely impacted. Regardless of whether or not you choose the Aim Controller and Dualshock, you’ll require an analogue stick to turn yourself in increments of 30 degrees at a time, and within your given range of vision, you use your head to aim and fire away. Enemies will move around you in the same fast, multi-directional way that they did in last year’s release, but when your movement is restricted to teleporting from point to point and turning in 30-degree increments, combat becomes more difficult than it needs to be – even on the lowest difficulty.
There are two big questions being asked of any VR game at present; the first is one that we ask of any game – is it fun. Your enjoyment of DOOM VFR hinges on the way you opt to play and your answer to question two – how is it on your stomach? DOOM VFR can be rough on the stomach due to many of the points outlined in the review so far. When it gets to the point that Cacodemons are chasing you, Pinkys and Hell Knights are charging your way and Revenant are blasting at you from range, you’ll find yourself needing to teleport through the environment quickly, whilst also swinging your head to aim and shoot. It can get kinda rough, but if your stomach can handle it, or at least begin to acclimatise, the fun factor begins to kick in. As you begin to see DOOM VFR picking up the kitchen sink, the fun escalates, flipping between your weapons, launching grenades and teleporting through the environment evokes the same sadistic laughs that last year’s release generated.
DOOM VFR, despite taking you back to some familiar locales doesn’t stick around for nearly as long as its elder, clocking in at around 4hours of playtime, with very little to stick around and do post-game, aside from repeat efforts on higher difficulties and clean-up of the one-or-two DOOM guy figures. There’s very little to find outside of the demons you find on the path you walk – there are a few opportunities to upgrade your weapons and arms, but these aren’t especially hard to find thanks to the in-game mini-map being as detailed as it is.Some design decisions have hampered the DOOM VFR experience, but when you’re locked in an arena with the spawn of hell coming for you, the fight for survival carries you through the experience. It’s a very familiar game but if you were a fan of the 2016 release, and you’re like me then you’ll be happy to return to the fray… just don’t have too much to eat before playing.