For those who aren’t aware, The Brookhaven experiment is a VR first person zombie shooter. Relative to the VR titles available today it’s definitely a tier above the more mini-game titles available, but not on the same level as something like say, Raw Data. You stand there in the dark with your trusty pistol trying to dispatch the heathens that approach from all angles, with monsters varying from average Joe zombies to giant bugs and well, giant giants.
Basically, I want to look at some of the aspects of the game that are clearly enhanced by it being purely VR, and other aspects which could be argued to be restricted. Let’s start with two main things that really shine in The Brookhaven Experiment due to VR:
Atmosphere – No VR game outside maybe the paranormal activity demo has possessed – pun not intended – quite the fear factor of the Brookhaven experiment. Due to being completely immersed visually and audibly, the game really makes you feel like you are helplessly trapped in the dark with very real spooky monsters coming to eat your delicious brains. An HD monitor and a 7.1 headset can’t really compare in this department.
Aiming – The use of the Vive controllers to actually shoot your guns is nothing new now in the VR world, but I would say that it really is an upgrade from a mouse, and certainly from a conventional controller. Headshots feel so much more rewarding knowing that it is actually you doing the aiming rather than hovering over pixels on a screen.
However, there are some areas of The Brookhaven Experiment and many other VR titles when compared to Non-VR counterparts, two that really stand out are:
Movement – Or rather the lack of it. Obviously, this is not the fault of any current VR game developer, but until some sort of locomotive platform like the ROVR becomes available, VR titles are only going to be able to provide teleport based movement or maybe even Time Crisis style train-track movement- or none. This is especially depressing with regards to zombie games as kiting around the horde to try and save your idiot friends is pretty much bread and butter in most non-VR titles, not to mention hilarious.
‘Feeling’ – now I’m not talking about the emotion felt by blokes that bludgeon their wives to death with a golf trophy, no I’m talking about how it feels when you do things like shoot your guns at the zombie scourge, or reload more democracy into the chamber.
Unfortunately at the moment a key issue with shooters in VR is the concept of recoil, clearly, recoil must exist to provide a degree of realism and difficulty, but when you’re holding the supposed gun and you see it kick but don’t feel it, its kinda weird. Not to mention the fact it can throw your aim because your body doesn’t really know what to compensate for (not that).
I’m a strong believer that sooner or later these issues will become a distant memory, as VR becomes the standard and superior method of virtually blasting fools, but for now at least, it’s difficult to pretend they don’t exist.
What do you think?