Top Critic Average
The Assembly, while prone to cause motion sickness in gamers playing it, is still an engaging interactive drama that takes advantage of what a VR headset can do for gaming.
I’m certainly eager to see where nDreams take us to next, as they hone their craft in developing for virtual reality, but The Assembly is sadly just a first step on that journey. It does some interesting things, with a nicely constructed story split between two characters and contrasting styles of gameplay, and it gets the controls right for first person exploration in VR, but without that, it would struggle to stand out from the crowd.
"The matter of the fact is you have to enjoy walking simulators to appreciate the few good things The Assembly brings to the table. Even then there still might be some frustration. Certain gameplay mechanics, and especially the graphics, will warrant a few breaks for this short lived adventure. If you can somehow muster to the end, there are some interesting options but the whole thing felt like it could have been grander. What we get instead is a middle of the road and slow-burn mystery that doesn't have a hook. Let alone a compelling narrative."
Whenever new technology is introduced, it usually takes a fair amount of time before developers grow accustomed to the capabilities and nuances of the hardware. Not everything is a hit right out of the gate, and The Assembly is no exception to that rule. Despite providing an interesting showcase for the equipment, it is blatantly devoid of anything that’s unique to virtual reality as a platform. Even in two dimensions, this is a title that would be hard to recommend due its mediocre story and bland puzzles. Hypothetically speaking, if this were an experiment being conducted by an underground research organization, trying to determine the validity of PlayStation VR as a platform, it would be deemed rather dramatically inconclusive.
I have a lot of patience for VR control schemes with wonky elements. Developers are still figuring out how best to create games for VR. But there has to be a valuable experience to balance out the frustration those control schemes can create, and other than a single moment of empathy for a suffering animal that I don’t think would have been possible without VR, The Assembly failed to deliver that experience.
Virtual reality is an incredibly exciting technology. Unfortunately, The Assembly follows safely along the path of other VR games with a functional, but absolutely cumbersome, movement scheme. The good thing about this is it isn’t likely to get players motion sick. On the other hand, it’s unwieldy and undesirable when compared to regular old adventure/exploration gameplay. The storyline and characters prove intriguing, but gameplay fails to support them. As it currently stands, playing The Assembly in VR simply made me yearn to jump to the non-VR version instead. That’s not what gamers should be thinking in the midst of the PSVR launch.
I went looking for Michael Crichton in 'The Assembly,' but I got stuck on the lowlights. As with many ambitious projects, there is some good stock here. As VR advances, another take 'The Assembly' could realize the promise. What's here, however, just isn't thrilling.
The Assembly seems like a waste, in terms of using the PlayStation VR headset. It could easily be played as an original PlayStation 4 game, and in all honestly, not a very good one either. A complete lack of story and gameplay depth, The Assembly is nothing more than a failed tech demo if I’m being completely honest. There are so many better games to play on the PlayStation VR system, and The Assembly is one I’d probably avoid like the viruses that they portray in this game!