- Kentucky Route Zero
- Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
The game's list of issues outside of its inventory is mercifully short. Climbing trees is janky, but the basic locomotion system – a mechanic where you ride stilts hand-made for the PS Move – is exquisite, so getting around is a breeze. The bigger concern – something that may well be fixed by the time you read this – lies with crashing. The pre-release version of the game we reviewed crashed a ludicrous number of times, and as this is a VR experience, it’s especially disruptive.
The sandbox mode allows you to craft your very own puzzles, and share them with the online community. While there’s already quite a bit to pick from, we can’t wait to keep revisiting this area of the game and see what kind of madness players have cooked up.
While the levels make no logical sense in true retro shooter fashion, they do make game sense, all having clearly defined layouts that expertly navigate you through some truly massive environments. One standout is an entire level that takes place within a canyon, with a foreboding level of verticality. The design knows just which cues to provide you, and actually finding where to go is no more challenging than with any other modern game. While many of the environments rely heavily on white tiled walls, as you progress further outside, more colour breathes life into the world, a most welcome change.
DOOM 3 VR is also able to breathe new life into one of the game’s more divisive facets: the horror. While jump scares are constant, and as annoying as ever, the VR succeeds in placing you on Mars in a way DOOM 3 has never previously been able to accomplish. This means all of the ambient audio, the lighting, the abrupt discomfiting silence – everything contributes to the creepiness of the experience to an unprecedented level. It provides an opportunity to appreciate all of the things that DOOM 3 did well all those years ago, without having to carry the baggage of defining the series moving forward. And it’s better for it. Just don’t expect much of a visual upgrade, as thanks to the headset’s limitations, things more or less look the same as when the game first launched.
Each of the game’s three “campaigns” distinguishes itself from each other as well. From the sandy canyons of Geonosis, the eerie halls of the Prosecutor, or the densely forested Kashyyyk, they all feel distinct. While it may not be a visual feast anymore, the takeaway with Republic is less look how far we've come but rather look how far ahead it really was.
However, the writing is a bit of a letdown. The character interactions are solid, and seeing their interplay is a delight. There’s also an impressive level of detail paid to the minutiae of film-making that we rarely see. Unfortunately, this level of care doesn’t touch all corners of the experience. The character's connection to the primary narrative is tenuous. Outside of the very first mystery, the protagonist's motivations for remaining involved in these murders don’t feel warranted. This is especially problematic when it comes to Rintaro’s chapters, which comprise the brunt of the game’s 15 or so hours. The writing is able to somewhat successfully sidestep this problem, through sheer force of intrigue, but it’s not wholly successful.
These are all problems that were present in the title upon its 2005 launch, so the port can only do so much. With this in mind, the game is solid — stable frame rate, the assets look as good as they possibly could without an overhaul, and the modernised controls are a demonstrable improvement. Hit detection is a little sluggish, but it's worth the price of entry for getting a peek at such an oddity. While saying the game lacks focus could be construed as an insult, it’s truly fascinating to see a game made with, for its time, such a high level of quality that wears so many different hats. And for that, we appreciate the opportunity to experience it in the modern era.
While the campaign is reasonably fun — and houses a few really great set-pieces — the standout mode in the game is time attack, where you are tasked with completing a series of 20 obstacle courses as quickly as possible. Perfecting run after run in this mode is a standout of the game, and honestly, the price of entry is worth it for time attack on its own.