VirtuaVerse isn't all bad. It is a solid 10-plus hour plot that is a clear homage to some of the best portrayals of this dystopian vision of a futuristic world. There are a few nice set pieces here and there, and from a graphical standpoint, the visuals pop on the screen and are incredibly memorable. Likewise, the musical score compliments them ideally. However, this is an adventure that never gets off the ground thanks to lacklustre main characters, forgettable dialogue, and a clichéd plot. Worse still, the puzzling point-and-click adventure aspects of gameplay detract from the above more often than they enhance.
For a first pack in the New Frontier Pass, Maya & Gran Columbia is not a bad start. It adds a bit more variety in the selection of factions to choose from, which is always ideal, and there are a few new units and mechanics to play with that will keep things a bit more fresh for any Civ VI fan. The real standout in the pack is obviously the Apocalypse difficulty mode, and it injects a reason to think, particularly in the endgame state, which can notoriously get bogged down. That said, as fun as it can be, it probably isn't the kind of game one would choose to experience with every play-through as it can certainly edge towards frustration at being crippled by the hazardous effects of climate change.
Ultimately, Naked Sun is a good first VR effort by a small team. There is definitely a lot of potential here and a base to build on for future titles. Where it slips is simply a lack of content and imagination on the narrative front, with a lot of stereotypes employed within the setting. However, the gameplay fundamentals here are solid, with a fine shooting system and some impressive graphics. A bit more scale in terms of expanding from simply a linear on rails with only 180 degrees of movement stops Naked Sun from really excelling over some of the competition which have done this genre a bit better.
From a pure mechanical point of view Lost on Mars is decent. It generally retains the fun of Far Cry 5 action in a different setting and story. The problem comes in the execution, with the previous originality and variety of missions and situations replaced by bland tower climbing and frustratingly repetitive boss fights. There is humour in Hurk and his tale and the AI 'ANNE' displays all the traits of a typically psychopathic computer system well. However, this humour only goes so far and can't assist in battling through the hours and hours of looped gameplay with weapon upgrades being the only meaningful reward for doing so. It is fair to say it hasn't been a vintage collection of expansion campaigns for Season Pass holders so far, with many arguably wanting more quality so far for Far Cry 5. Hopefully, the final one will make up for these disappointments.
Hours of Darkness is a solid DLC entry for an already great title. It certainly presents a diverse style of stealth oriented gameplay, alongside a different setting to the main story. Seeing the background context of a previously acknowledged Far Cry 5 NPC is also a neat bonus. However, there are issues with the lack of content and having just one main objective in a relatively straight and linear path means that the realistic timeframe of a play-through is going to be somewhere in the region of one to three hours depending on how incentivised the player is to complete side objectives and collect items.
VR needs something that can be enjoyed timelessly, something that can be picked up and played for 30 minutes or an hour each day and provides some kind of unique fun each time. VR Invaders succeeds at this, with gameplay that is timeless, going back to the fundamental roots of the medium, but unfortunately with the same flaws, too.
Maize is an example of the age-old debate in gaming around gameplay versus story. In this case, it is so hard to discount the gameplay aspect. The great implementation of the plot and the unique story, on top of the brilliant portrayal of the cast and the general charming vibe, is sure to please young and old. What lets it down is that all this is balanced against a rather high cost considering the very modest length of the adventure, which doesn't offer any real replayability. Additionally, the lack of challenge means things feel extremely linear and the length is even further eroded. Maize is a definite pick up… when it is on sale, that is.