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Virtual reality is the newest frontier of video game technology. As such, it was not surprising that many developers, both big and small, were showing off their upcoming VR titles at PAX West 2016. While you can gain a certain amount of understanding from most games by looking at a trailer or a bit of gameplay, VR is best when it is experienced.
We got our hands, and our eyes, on a diverse lineup of titles that show a variety of the benefits of the technology. Here are some games to keep an eye on if you have, or plan to get, any of the different VR options available.
The major selling point of virtual reality is that it immerses you into the game world via a headset that allows you to see to see a virtual world. So who's bright idea was it to make a game where the character you play is blind? That would be Surprise Attack Games. To be clear, you don't really spend the entire game unable to see. Blind is an adventure game where you play a character who is blind, but by banging your stick against things, you create echoes that outline the world around you for a brief moment. Anything that makes noise also gives away its shape to you. The early demo takes place in a mysterious house, and you play a character who finds themselves there with no explanation. The developer promises the game is more psychological that horror. Its unique visuals and intriguing story make this one worth looking at.
Resident Evil 7
If horror is what you're looking for in your VR, then perhaps we could recommend the newest entry in the Resident Evil franchise. While we only experienced the briefest demo, it was enough to show that Resident Evil is looking to get back to its roots. What we lived through.The Kitchen, was more a proof of concept than it was part of the actual game, but we were assured the basic experience would be very similar. There's little in the world quite like being stabbed in the virtual leg by a psychopath. We don't recommend it. While the demo gave us no idea what Resident Evil 7's actual gameplay would be, it's certainly keeping us interested.
First Impact: Rise of a Hero
Another game that was barely more than a tech demo state, but showed some promise, was Red Meat Games' First Impact: Rise of a Hero. In the game, you play as an honest to god superhero, with the ability to fly as well as hurl ice, fire, and whirlwinds at villains, or to make the ground rise up from underneath them. Hero gave you complete freedom of movement in every direction, something which is actually unusual among current VR titles. It's possible the reason many games don't do this, is because that much freedom of movement has the potential to make you a little motion sick. Still, there's plenty of time for fine-tuning before Rise of a Hero is released, and who doesn't want to play a game where you're a superhero?
While many VR games are making the choice between a standard gamepad, or propriety VR controllers, Siege Hammer has decided to forgo both options for a completely visual control system. Siege Hammer is a tower defence title where you simply look at what you want to do and it happens. Look at the place where you want to place a unit, then when the menu comes up, look at the unit you want to set there. When the waves of enemies come through, simply look at which one you want to attack in order to literally drop the hammer on them. From on high, you really feel like a seasoned battle commander.
Before playing Raw Data, I was informed that the primary gameplay objective of the title was "to make you feel like a bad ass." From what I experienced, they are well on their way to making that a reality. Raw Data is an action game where you have the choice to play a dual pistol-wielding shooter or a cyber ninja with a laser katana. I was only able to play as the shooter, but the HTC Vive's hand control work perfectly as gun grips. I was blasting robots with both barrels and, while I'm not quite sure how accurate the aiming was, the reason it was hard to tell was because the bullets were flying like crazy. The only thing missing was my ability to dive to the ground while doves flew around me.