• Gungrave VR Review: Better Left Buried
    Gungrave VR Review: Better Left Buried

    I’m not sure exactly who was campaigning for a Gungrave resurrection, let alone one in VR but, judging by just how ludicrously detailed the game’s Wikipedia entry is, they’re out there. If you are one of the few waving that flag then best strap yourself in; this is not going to be pretty.

    Gungrave VR is probably the worst game I’ve played in VR this year. It’s a stripped back PS2-era shooter that can be beaten in less than an hour and has absolutely no reason to be in VR. It’s entirely incoherent, utterly devoid of intrigue and, despite releasing in Japan last year, plays like it’s half-finished.

    This isn’t a port of the original game, though it may as well have been. In the 14 year gap between releases developer Iggymob hasn’t made a single change to the way you control protagonist Grave, who uses all of the same animations from the 2002 original let alone the 2004 sequel. For the most part, you run around in third person, dodge incoming bullets and then return fire by holding R2. The only difference between playing in VR and the old games is that you now aim with your head.

    But what was an already-dated design is made worse here. At least the original Gungrave had a simple linear level structure and some impressive destruction, for the time. Gungrave VR’s three on-foot missions consist of, at most, three tiny areas in which you’ll just need to shoot enemies that pour in to set points until you’re allowed to move on. The destruction is completely gone and, aside from text-based mission briefings that you’ll miss if you don’t return to the main menu between levels, there isn’t any explanation for the different scenarios you’ll suddenly find yourself in.

    It was a random, lifeless hour I spent inside VR.

    There are missions that implement on-rails first-person shooting but they’re entirely unremarkable, lacking any sort of punch to its presentation and relying on the same basic set of enemies from start to finish. Perhaps the one level with some semblance of justification for being in VR is a mission on an air bike in which you face off against a massive blimp. But the game switches between fighting the blimp and fighting regular enemies at random. The blimp just suddenly disappears and then there are new enemies in front of you. It’s dizzying and disjointed nearly to the point of being unplayable.

    All of this might be forgivable if the core ‘gun-fu’ aspect of the game was at least fun to play. In reality, Gungrave VR is one of those ugly reminders that some games don’t play as well as you remember them. The controls are stiff and animations have to be seen through before you can attack enemies as they arrive. Though the entire campaign is quite easy on Normal difficulty, there are some boss fights that will lock you into cheap attacks that push you over, repeating them until you die (at which point you need to start the level over).

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  • Gungrave U.N. Review: Somehow Worse Than Gungrave VR
    Gungrave U.N. Review: Somehow Worse Than Gungrave VR

    I’m left somewhat lost for words by Gungrave U.N.. It’s a standalone ‘sequel’ to Gungrave VR which I just called maybe the worst VR game to release this year. That game comes and goes in 50 minutes without making any hint of an impression on you. U.N. does that all over again, this time in about half an hour.

    I couldn’t work out what twisted reality I’d stumbled into when I booted up U.N. to discover it recycling the same main menu. Oddly enough, the third-person gameplay that forms the bulk of Gungrave VR is given slightly more polish here; your attacks seem a little faster and more lethal and levels are actually linear environments you have to shoot your way through. It’s still largely pointless, stiff and pretty much without merit, but it is just an inch better than the main game.

    Just when I thought this expansion might come out on top over the original, though, U.N. introduces its side-scrolling sections.

    Yup, the game’s mainly comprised of a barebones side-scrolling shooter in which you use your headset as a cursor to aim. The controls remain exactly the same and you just fight the same type of enemies over and over again for another 30 minutes, aside from three more forgettable boss encounters.

    I really don’t know what to say at this point other than there is literally no reason to put yourself through playing these levels; they find even less purpose for being in VR that the traditional sections do. You slog through one side to the other, your brain wondering off elsewhere for the duration.

    Final Score: 3/10 – Bad

    Gungrave U.N. is a leaner version of an already short game with utterly vapid side-scrolling sections and the same dated design as its predecessor. Don’t do it to yourself.

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  • Battling Zombies is Easier With Mates, buy one get one Free With Arizona Sunshine The videogame is celebrating its second birthday.
  • 10 Great PC VR Games Confirmed Or Hinted For Oculus Quest
    10 Great PC VR Games Confirmed Or Hinted For Oculus Quest

    In Spring 2019, Facebook will launch Oculus Quest– an all-in-one (standalone) VR headset with room-scale positional tracking and Oculus Touch controllers.

    The company is primarily marketing Quest, which will start at $399, as a games console. Oculus CTO John Carmack sees it as competing with the Nintendo Switch in the market. Boasting a wire-free experience with similar tracking capabilities to the Rift, Quest could be a big leap forward for gaming. As such, Facebook has invested money in porting some of PC VR’s best games to the headset. Here are 10 great games either confirmed or heavily hinted getting a port:

    Superhot VR

    Superhot VR is a unique shooter experience where the faster you move, the faster time moves. If you keep completely still, time will freeze. It is a perfect blend of mental and physical challenge, and perhaps one of the best VR games ever made.

    When we reviewed the game on Rift we gave it 9/10, concluding:

    SUPERHOT VR is a pure, distilled, injection of unadulterated adrenaline that will get your blood pumping just as quickly as time stops in the game itself. With every movement you make, time creeps forward ever so slightly, and everything from the level design to the way it feels to dodge a series of bullets in slow-motion is orchestrated to reinforce the core ideals of the experience. From start to finish it plays out like a fantasy ripped from the screen of every action movie; an indulgent cacophony of visual and gameplay excitement.

    We got a chance to try out Superhot on Quest at OC5. There was no noticeable difference in graphics, and with no cable to restrict your movement it felt “amazing and freeing in a way VR hasn’t really yet”.

    Beat Saber

    No VR game so far has quite captured public attention as much as Beat Saber – the musical experience where the player slashes incoming blocks to the beat of a song using lightsaber-like energy blades. When we reviewed the PSVR version of the game we gave it an 8.5/10, calling it “the most addictive VR game to date”.

    Since its initial PC VR release in May, Beat Saber has become one of the most popular VR games with over 6000 Steam reviews, as well as being an audience favorite among VR streamers and YouTubers.

    When asked on Twitter whether the game would come to Quest, the developers replied “😏😏😏”. This seems to be a good sign although not a confirmation. Representatives from Beat Games, the company behind Beat Saber, declined to comment further on the possibility.

    Robo Recall

    Robo Recall was the Rift’s flagship game for 2017. Developed by Epic Games and funded by Oculus with an estimated budget of up to $10 million, the game has some of the best gunplay mechanics seen in VR to date.

    When we reviewed the game for Rift, we were impressed, giving it a 7.5/10, noting that “frantic moments of shooting action are so thrilling that you are just swept up in it”. It almost feels like being inside an arcade

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  • Why A Fisherman’s Tale Is One Of Our Most Anticipated VR Games Of 2019
    Why A Fisherman’s Tale Is One Of Our Most Anticipated VR Games Of 2019

    A few months ago I bumbled along to a Gamescom appointment to see a new game from Innerspace, a VR developer I’d grown much respect for after experiencing its Firebird series. I’d assumed there would be another delightful little experiment to enjoy in its latest title, A Fisherman’s Tale, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the degree at which the game would break my brain.

    Four months on and I’ve just played it again. Much to my relief, it still manages to amaze me.

    In A Fisherman’s Tale you play as a puppet fisherman that’s confined to his cozy lighthouse home. He awakens one night to find that all is not right with his comfy abode, and sets out on a supernatural adventure unlike anything else you’ve seen. I played through the game’s second chapter last week and instantly fell back into my state of enamored admiration for what Innerspace is trying to do. Here’s why.

    There’s An Incredible Central Mechanic

    The first two chapters of A Fisherman’s Tale revolve around one of the most immediately engaging and mind-blowing concepts I’ve seen in VR. Inside the fisherman’s lighthouse there is a model of… the fisherman’s lighthouse. But this is no simple diorama; remove the roof of the hut and you’ll see the ceiling above you disappear. Peer down into the model below and, sure enough, there’s a miniature version of yourself mirroring your every move. Open the window and you’ll look out to see a bigger version of the room surrounding you.

    It takes a few minutes to fully adjust to the eye-opening ramifications of this mechanic (during which you’ll probably try and poke yourself with your own giant finger) but once you manage to get a grasp on it, it gives way to some truly impressive puzzling. Need a smaller version of an item to solve a puzzle? Reach into the model and pull the mini-me edition out. Need something bigger? Drop that item into the scene from above and it’ll fall right in front of you at an enlarged sign.

    It’s difficult to believe that it works so well, but it really does. And the game puts it to great use in the first two chapters, twisting the concept in several ways and mining it for all it’s worth. And it all works so well because you simply believe that there are worlds within worlds around you.

    But It Promises Not To Overuse It

    As captivating as this device is, though, I could easily see it running thin before the game’s credits roll. Fortunately, Innerspace has reassured me multiple times that the remaining chapters will introduce some new twists of their own and won’t lean as heavily on this concept. Wondering what other kinds of virtual acid trips the developer is preparing for later on has me very anxious to get my hands on the full game.

    There’s a lot that Innerspace could do with this world beyond that initial idea. In my first two demos I moved between two rooms of the lighthouse and met some

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  • Preview: A Fisherman’s Tale – Angling for a Unique Experience Seeing more of the title has just increased the interest.
  • Follow in the Footsteps of the Suffragettes With the BBC’s VR Experience Make Noise Viewers need to 'make noise' to see the experience change.
  • Astro Bot: Rescue Mission Wins at the Game Awards 2018 There were no other VR related announcements during the show.
  • Google’s 6DOF Controllers Shown With Trigger And Grip Buttons
    Google’s 6DOF Controllers Shown With Trigger And Grip Buttons

    New photos of Google’s developer kit for 6DOF controllers show the complete button design, including trigger and a “grip” button right next to it.

    The controllers are part of a developer kit add-on for the Mirage Solo standalone VR headset. Google is currently accepting applications for the kit which comes with a faceplate for the headset that plugs into the side. The design uses inexpensive components to provide full freedom of movement for both hands.

    Mirage Solo, which runs apps from the Google Play store, started shipping earlier this year with only a single pointer-only controller. This Solo controller is based on the capabilities and layout from earlier phone-based Daydream headsets. This controller, however, is extremely limited because of its 3DOF tracking.

    The new developer kit for Mirage Solo relies on Google’s approach to optical tracking while the newly revealed buttons should bring the system closer to parity with similar controllers powered by technology from Microsoft, Facebook and Valve.

    We hope the kits are a sign Google is committed to developing a low-cost standalone VR headset that can compete in the same class as Oculus Quest. It is odd the controllers have both a USB-C port and a battery cover and we’re curious how easy it is to press the “grip” button by mistake. This is an “experimental” developer kit, of course, so we assume they could improve before becoming a final consumer product. Google hasn’t committed to shipping a consumer headset based on its 6DOF designs, but the company’s teams are behind some of the most popular VR software requiring natural hand interactions — Tilt Brush, Job Simulator and Blocks among them. We wonder, of course, is this kit is just a hint of the company’s continued commitment to enabling high-quality VR experiences for lower cost and easier to set up hardware.

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  • Astro Bot Rescue Mission Scores Best VR Game At Game Awards
    Astro Bot Rescue Mission Scores Best VR Game At Game Awards

    The 2018 Game Awards are well underway and the winner for best VR/AR game was just announced. No surprises here.

    Sony Japan’s Astro Bot Rescue Mission took home the prize, beating out the likes of Firewall Zero Hour, Beat Saber, Moss and Tetris Effect.

    It’s a great choice; Astro Bot is a third-person platformer that makes great use of the PSVR headset.

    “Astro Bot is not here to reinvent the wheel or claim the throne as VR’s killer app; there are enough games trying to do that already,” we said in our review. “Instead, it fuzes the thrill of seeing a virtual world come to life with the dependably engaging gameplay of one of gaming’s most beloved genres and explores what that can mean with fascinating results. It’s a refreshing reminder of just how astonishing VR can be when there’s nothing in your way, and it’s an absolutely essential experience for any PSVR owner.”

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  • Sundance New Frontier Announces 2019 Line-Up

    Sundance Film Festival has revealed their 2019 lineup for the New Frontier Exhibition. The showcase is packed with 33 projects by creators who are pushing artistic innovation across new mediums that include VR, AR, MR, and AI. Exhibited between two venues in Park City, the curated collection includes exciting projects from names like RYOT, Eminem, Reggie Watts and

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  • Felix & Paul Studios Among Those Chosen for Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier Exhibition 33 experiences have made the cut for 2019.
  • NY Times’ New AR Article Captures Lakeith Stanfield’s Balancing Act
    NY Times’ New AR Article Captures Lakeith Stanfield’s Balancing Act

    As part of its “Great Performers” series The New York Times debuted a new AR article featuring Get Out actor Lakeith Stanfield performing a balancing act.

    The AR content seems to work seamlessly on a recent iPhone or iPad with the NY Times app installed. Simply point the iPhone’s camera at the QR code on this page and it should prompt you to open the app and view the volumetric capture of Stanfield made at Microsoft’s mixed reality capture studios.

    Previously, a NY Times Styles piece featuring model Ashley Graham included an AR portion to the report.  According to a spokesperson, the news organization is planning more AR-based content in the future and they “hope to add Android support soon, when certain technology restrictions are ironed out.”

    The key thing to note here is how easily this experience can be seen on so many iPhones and iPad throughout the world. Turning a QR code into an AR experience is hardly new, but putting it so easily within the reach of millions of people is a step forward for phone-based AR’s visibility as a way of relaying information. An event in Los Angeles celebrating the Great Performers issue tonight will offer some folks the chance to see Stanfield nearly falling off the beam through the the see-through visor of a HoloLens headset.

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  • This Tech Lets You Move Virtual Objects Like A Jedi

    These are definitely the VR powers you’re looking for… It was only a matter of time. In fact, I’m a bit surprised it took this long, but researchers at Virginia Tech have put their brains to good use and come up with a way for ordinary mortals to replicate the telekinetic powers of a Jedi

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  • Bethesda to Begin Rollout of Prey’s VR Updates This Month Typhon Hunter and TranStar VR are part of the Prey: Mooncrash DLC.