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Virtual reality as a game technology appears to finally be here to stay. While the system is still fairly new and it has a long way to go before it becomes common place, everything else that's coming will likely be iterations on the current technology, rather something entirely new.
Because VR is one game type that you really can't learn a great deal from while viewing a trailer, it's best to strap the headset on and just give it a try whenever you have the chance. Over this past weekend, I had the chance to try several different VR titles at PAX West 2017. Here are some of the highlights and games that you should check out if you have the time, and the tech, to do so.
Final Fantasy XV: Monsters of the Deep
I know, the entire time you were playing Final Fantasy XV you thought to yourself, "can I just go fishing and ignore the rest of the game?" Monsters of the Deep is an upcoming PlayStation VR title that focuses on fishing. The controls work identically to the way they did in Final Fantasy XV, except of course that you're the one doing the fishing in VR. I've never found actual fishing to be as fun or relaxing as it's supposed to be, but VR fishing was remarkably fun. On top of the standard fishing, the game also has bosses that require you to weaken them with weapons before you reel them in.
With the FPS genre as popular as it is, the FPS VR game is an obvious choice. Gunheart is a science fiction shooter with numerous different weapons available to choose from. It feels more than a bit like a VR Borderlands, with an alien planet landscape, combined with a sense of humor in the part of a computerized voiceover with some solid one liners. And like Borderlands, Gunheart is better with friends. The game is designed to be played as a co-op experience. I got a chance to play it along side a couple of the developers and had a lot of fun. Consistent updates are being promised, a large one just hit the game on Steam, which should keep players coming back again and again to enjoy the experience with friends.
Aden's Musical Playground
Aden's Musical Playground (AMP) isn't so much a game as it is a VR experience. It's closest video game cousin is probably the criminal underrated Fantasia: Music Evolved from Harmonix, but while that gave you control of the music, AMP puts you inside the music. From there you interact with the music by touching various hotspots around as they light up with the rhythm of the music. The title already included several classical as well as pop music selections to choose from and while they were not the original versions you'd be familiar with (maybe that'll be an option if AMP takes off and makes money) it was still an experience worth having.
Obduction isn't a new game, nor is the VR addition for the PC version of the game a new feature, but if you haven't entered the world of Obduction in VR yet, you're missing out. The spiritual sequel to Myst, VR takes the atmosphere of the alien world to a new level. If VR is about immersion, then Obduction does that better than most VR games I've played. Just standing on the edge of a cliff and looking out at the skyline was an experience. VR support is coming for the PlayStation 4 version of the game which was just recently released, so console owners will soon be able to experience the world as well.
Apex Tournament is designed to be a multiplayer competitive shooter, and while the game is solid, what sets it apart is the game's Hyper Dash technology. In Hyper Dash, you shift your body weight quickly left and right to execute a super speed dash through the arena space. However, while you might think a movement like that is destined to make you puke, I experienced it without any motion sickness at all. Your physical acceleration creates your player movement within the game, rather than a button press. This seems to have the effect of keeping your eyes and body in sync, preventing the queasiness that can come with VR. While the tech may have some accessibility issues (my inability to perform a physical jump prevented my digital avatar from doing the same), Apex Tournament is a proof of concept, a concept other developers may soon take notice of.