- Kentucky Route Zero
- Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
Enemies are visually grotesque, and their blinding-rage aggression makes for an experience that, even if you’ve played previously, is a challenging experience. You have to make the most of all your weapons, although the classic strategy of “use your shotgun as often as possible” remains viable. Ditto for the rocket launcher, the weapon most closely associated with the game.
For all the similarities, I Expect You To Die 2: The Spy and the Liar exceeds its predecessor in terms of tone. The first title was a cheeky game with a biting wit to match its great puzzles, but this sequel really outdoes itself, crafting even more ludicrously operatic scenarios all the while seamlessly integrating the humor into the gameplay experience. If you don’t have the patience or interest to sit through overlong monologues or sequences with a slow burn, you can just rush past them and the game adapts with you, but not before letting out a few extra jokes for good measure.
It doesn’t hurt that the game is designed with a confidence and flair we don’t often see in VR. Absolutely everything down to the menus has a level of swagger that makes for a stunning experience. Cel-shading works well in certain settings, and VR is absolutely one of them: it allows Fracked’s environments to have exponentially more detail and complexity than a similar game without cel-shading, adding much more life to the title's alpine mining facility.
While many of the heavy-hitting artists like Caravan Palace, Muse, and The Offspring are paid tracks, the base track list is diverse, impressive, and, most importantly, fun. Though if you find yourself craving more, the paid packs of songs include 'Experiences' that are more akin to interactive music videos, and they’re quite stunning.
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.