With less than a fortnight to go before the worldwide release of Sony’s PlayStation VR headset, I have been anxious to get some hands-on time with a number of titles to help give you guys a heads up on how the experiences hold up before taking that leap of faith and forking out the purchase price. I was fortunate enough to be invited to a preview event by Sony at the EB Expo the night before it was open to the public in Sydney. While most of the attendees were only allowed to play a couple of VR demoes due to limited availability, I was stealthy and patient enough to get a decent amount of playtime with seven VR titles. As the launch of PSVR looms, I thought I would give my impressions on one title every second day leading up to the big day.
Commonly referred to as the grandfather of modern virtual reality, EVE: Valkyrie has been prominently featured in demo kits for Occulus Rift and PlayStation VR since they were originally announced. This dogfighting game takes place in the popular EVE: Online universe that developer CCP has crafted. The game has already released on Occulus Rift and the HTC Vive and has been generally well received by fans. So understandably I wanted to see what the fuss about. It was my last demo of the night as everybody was starting to leave. Knowing the demo only lasted for a few minutes, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity.
I am going to make a couple comparisons to the Call of Duty: Jackal Assault mission, which I also played through (you can read my impressions of that title here.
Firstly, the graphics are far better than in Jackal Assault; the details in the cockpit, the beautiful skylines as well as the sheer scale of it all is a lot more impressive. I played the demo using a Dualshock 4. While I do see the value in motion controls for VR games, the dualshock worked fine for simulating the cock-pit scenario. The usual system checks were done through an intercom. This was an opportunity to bring my attention to certain things within the cockpit. The detail of the cockpit itself was fantastic and looking above and around the gave a satisfying responsiveness that really put you in the space. However, my favourite part of the demo was when the intercom announced a countdown and then shot me into space. As soon as my warp drive kicked in, I had instant goosebumps and a smile on my face.
While I complained that the first half of the Call of Duty demo was boring, EVE: Valkyrie has a similar slow initial pace, but there is so much more going around to look at which makes it far more enjoyable. Flying under a space carrier and observing the scale is mind-blowing. The head-tracking aiming, which involves looking at enemies to lock targets, was also more responsive than the Call of Duty demo as well.
The action is as hectic as the Call of Duty demo, except it seems EVE: Valkyrie’s controls are more polished. This is understandable as this game has been around in one form or another for almost three years now. I am worried about how quick the novelty will wear off though, and the asking price is a bit high at $79.95. The fact Occulus Rift gets the game packaged for free brings up a number of questions, perhaps best discussed elsewhere.
EVE: Valkyrie is definitely a marvel that shows the power and wonders of VR. PlayStation VR will also get all the content, cross-play with Occulus/HTC and new modes for its launch on 13 October 2016. Remember that the free demo disc packaged in with the device will include EVE: Valkyrie, so give it a go before forking out the high asking price.