Lone Echo – VR

I finally purchased Lone Echo on the Oculus Rift because it was on sale.  Some of the best. money. spent.  Seriously.  This game was MADE for VR.

Now, I do not have 360 roomscale on the Oculus set up.  I have two sensors and they are spaced apart but almost in a straight line in front of you.  The game is totally playable without 360 roomscale.  The secret is the right thumb stick (maybe the game told you this and I wasn’t paying attention, so let me help you out).  The thumb stick will change your perspective so you don’t spin yourself into a tizzy.  If I spun to far round, my hands started wigging out and it’s pretty uncomfortable in the game.

SO this game.  There is a single and multiplayer mode.  I played single.  I have no comment about multiplayer yet.  You are an android robot AI thing named Jack, on a space station outside Saturn.  You have a human partner. You perform tasks, meet objectives, and explore various places on and off the space station.  There were even some areas I felt stress (LOL) because I was that into it.

The graphics are good, the dialog is good and interactive, and you get to explore in zero gravity.  You move like you would if you were in space…. grab things and push-off (or use a jet pack).  There is no teleporting, or moving a joystick to move your character.  WARNING – you *might* feel a little motion sick.  I am a little sensitive and I experienced a little motion sickness but the game was so much fun I almost forgot about it.  The second time I played, I took a Dramamine…. pre-emptive strike that time.

You have to complete objects and solve your way through the story.  There are tutorials along the way in the beginning that show you how to use your tools / touch controller (like a booster pack, cutter, scanner, and a few other things).  With the Oculus controllers, your hands act and “feel” like real hands since you can make a full fist and use only your pointer finger.  You need to master this skill for this game.  You use your finger for a lot of things.  Once you learn the controls though, its pretty intuitive.

Side note props that must be given:  I accidentally paid attention to my hands while doing different things in the game.  The fingers actually work and move around whatever object you are interacting act in the game, even though your physical fingers are likely in a vice grip on the touch controller.  FANTASTIC ATTENTION TO DETAIL.

I finished the game in 7 hours… split into 2 sessions.  I honestly didn’t realize I was in for so long during either session (4 hours the first time, 3 hours the second).  I did get stuck once, but not for very long.  You’ll have to use your head but it really isn’t very hard.  Pay attention to your surroundings and listen to the dialog and use your objective “hints” to work your way through.

This game is well worth the money (on sale or not in my opinion).  As of this writing, the game rated almost 5 starts with 1,991 ratings.  Can we all be wrong?  Well, the ones that gave it anything less than a 4 star ARE wrong.  If you have a Rift and you’re looking for good content and for some reason don’t have Lone Echo yet, you are missing out.  This is a must have.  Just break down and buy it.  Right. Now.

 

Soundboxing VR

I haven’t taken advantage of all my free time as I could have and so I’ve fallen behind on keeping up with VR games and experiences.  BUT, I will comment on one of my favorite games in VR to date.  Soundboxing.

I play this game on the HTC Vive and it is available on Steam for only $7.99.  Totally and completely worth it.  As the site and Steam description outline, this game is VR music video kickboxing game where players create the beats  (there really isn’t any kicking involved yet, maybe sometime in the future when Vive trackers pick up traction).  The game is made up of user-generated content and there are a lot of options available.  The music and videos are on YouTube; you can browse by genre, look at playlists, and browse the most popular challenges being played.  Not only can you play a user’s challenge and try to get the #1 spot on the leaderboard, you can create your own challenge and see if anyone (even yourself) can get the highest score.

Your left controller is a yellow boxing glove, and the right controller is red.  I suggest you strap the controllers on your wrist.  When the challenge starts, you basically hit the yellow beats (bubbles) with the yellow glove, and the same for the red.  A fun component to the game are the “dancing” robots (you can disable this if you want to be a solo act).

Scores are a combination of accurately hitting the beats and not missing any, AND the strength by which you hit them (there is a left and right meter for strength).  When you heat a beat at at least full strength, you get an explosion.  This can be distracting, especially when you have beats flying at you through the explosions faster than your hand-eye coordination can process.  And don’t try to watch the music video in the background – you will miss a beat or two or many.

Some routines are more difficult than others.  I tend to like the ones that have a lot of movement (may as well get my cardio in while I’m playing).  You can definitely tell the difference between players that have rhythm and can dance, and those who do not.  I am not a dancer.  My routines are not very creative….so I don’t make them often.  You might find a few though.

You will break a sweat playing this game.  I’m not fond of sweating at all, but even that doesn’t stop me from playing this game.  It is my absolute favorite with 43.7 hours on record thus far.  I will replay a challenge over and over again until I get 100% accuracy.  Then I try for the #1 spot on the board.  I am not #1 on many.  The game gives you updates when someone beats your position on the leaderboard…. If you’re competitive, go back and challenge your challenger for the higher rank.  Bonus: the website keeps track of your challenges and scores so you can see them anytime outside of VR.

Beware, you could easily spend hours playing, and wake up sore the next day.  I keep saying I’m going to add weights to my wrists to make it more difficult, but to be honest, the weight of the controllers (which isn’t really much) is good enough.  As a side note, there is an article about a man who lost 50lbs playing this game using additional weights.  What a fun way to exercise.

Ultimately, this is a must have.  It is fun to challenge your friends online if they have the Vive, or in person as a sort of party game.  Just make sure to have some paper towels and alcohol swabs ready to clean the headset before passing it on to a new player.

 

 

VR Intro

At some point, I’ll have posts about games that I’ve played (preferably), or had other people play.  I’m a chicken and don’t watch horror movies so I really can’t bring myself to play the horror games in VR.  And there are MANY.  In fact, I probably buy them all for sheer entertainment purposes when we have friends over.  Anyway….

Before I get to the games and what not, I wanted to let you all know which VR systems I currently have.  I feel there are many more purchases to come with the every changing VR/AR scene.  I must pace myself.

First, I have the HTC Vive which I purchased around June of 2016.  BEST MONEY EVER SPENT.  This includes the computer system I needed to run it.  Towards the beginning of summer this year, I picked up the Oculus Rift when it went on sale.   Both sites have a utility to test your computer systems if you are thinking about jumping into VR.

My preference is the Vive.  First, its room scale capability makes this system far more immersive than the Rift.  The Rift is good too, and I partly picked it up for some Rift exclusive games that looked good.  I’m probably more biased towards the Vive because it was my first purchase.  The reason I purchased the Vive is for the game Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul.  Thanks to this video, which shows gameplay with the Vive, I was dying to get my hands on it.  I waited on this release for a very long time.  I stalked the PAVR Facebook and Twitter accounts to find out when the release date would be.  The game was that scary in pre-alpha, just think how much better it is in production.  And if you’re wondering, I lasted less than 5 minutes  (including the tutorial) in this game.  Since this game has been out a while, and on multiple platforms, I’m sure you can YouTube a great many gameplay videos and laugh your little heart out.

There are ample sites that review the pros and cons of each, so I won’t rehash that information here.  But I do prefer the Vive for its room scale capability.  I think I will use the Rift more for games that are standing / sit down only ALTHOUGH, it is coming along with roomscale if you get multiple sensors (I only have 2 so far and don’t really want to buy any more).

I’ve downloaded a “Halloween special” that I’m hoping to talk some friends into doing.  If I’m successful, I’ll share the antics with you all.  I’ve pretty much scared all my friends so it might be hard to get volunteers at this stage.  Maybe I’ll try it for myself….. just kidding.