The idea of virtual reality overtaking every other form of technological entertainment is nothing to sneeze at. For decades movies and media have lauded virtual reality as a mystifying science only to be found in dystopian scenes of the 2000s. We are in the 2000s. And virtual reality is indeed a reality. With the “Oculus Rift” (developed by Oculus VR) launching on March 28 this year, consumers will have advanced virtual reality technology literally at their fingertips. The real question at this stage, however, is whether there are any games that will make that technology worth its substantial price tag.
The Oculus Rift
The “Rift” is a virtual reality head-mounted display that was originally part of a Kickstarter campaign. It has a resolution of 1080×1200 per eye and integrated headphones which provide a 3D audio effect. The Rift will be usable while walking, standing, or sitting due to a stationary USB IR sensor which tracks your position from elsewhere in your room. Rotational tracking is performed as well. The Rift is slated to be released for $599 plus shipping and tax, which will include the headset, camera, Oculus Remote, Xbox One controller, and the games EVE: Valkyrie and Lucky’s Tale. Let’s take a look at these two games and a few more titles hitting the Oculus Rift in the future.
Game #1: Eve: Valkyrie
Specifically designed for the virtual reality headset, EVE: Valkyrie promises to deliver the token EVE experience and then some. Set in the EVE Online universe, Valkyrie is a multiplayer dogfighting shooter game. From the cockpit, players are in command of heavily armed fighters that offer 360-degree action combat and plenty of customization. There will be character progression in this game, as well as some choices to make concerning which type of ships players will utilize.
Game #2: Lucky’s Tale
Offering a drastically different take on the virtual reality gaming experience, Lucky’s Tale is a bright platformer with bosses, mini-games, and challenges to master. Lucky himself is a fox with a swirling blue cape, and this family-friendly protagonist seems pretty indicative of the tone for the rest of the game. As with Eve: Valkyrie, Lucky’s Tale has been designed “from the ground up” for the Oculus Rift, and will be released with it as part of the gaming package.
Game #3: The Climb
Master your fear of heights or your desire to scale them with the equally beautiful and intimidating The Climb. Brilliantly utilizing the concept of virtual reality, The Climb is all about grasping ahold of immense cliff faces and heaving yourself upwards. Dedicated to giving you the experience of rock climbing without ever actually touching a mountain, The Climb proffers extensive and breathtaking vistas as you work your way upwards.
Game #4: Edge of Nowhere
Even Insomniac Games has given their blessing to the virtual reality headset with their announced Edge of Nowhere. Intended to be third-person action-adventure game, Edge of Nowhere takes you to the Antarctic mountains on a mission to discover a missing expedition team. According to the team, “nothing is what it seems” in the murky surrealism of Edge of Nowhere, and you’ll not only be battling to stay alive but also to keep your wits about you.
Game #5: Bullet Train
Epic Game’s Bullet Train promises to offer one of the most immersive VR experiences soon to be on the market. Bullet Train is a first-person shooter which makes use of your virtual hands as you would your regular ones with the Oculus Touch controller. Given a world-scale and gameplay that revolves around bullet time, Bullet Train provides a gunfight experience simultaneously familiar and foreign and fully maximized by the Rift’s technology.
The Future of Gaming
Whether or not you jump on the bandwagon now, you’ll probably be doing so in your virtual reality headset sometime soon in the future. There have been a lot of questions about whether or not virtual reality will currently be worth paying for given the relatively small line-up of games. Regardless of quantity, however, there is definitively quality in this line-up, which will only grow as consumers and designers come to understand and appreciate the depth and value of upcoming virtual reality gaming.