The very nature of the two concepts of ‘Virtual reality’ and ‘Role-playing game’ mean they should go hand in hand. Vanishing Realms : Rite of Steel is the first title for the HTC Vive looking to explore the genre, and at this stage I think it’s fair to say they’ve done a great job.
The game offers the first two episodes of what the developer says will be ‘a continuing series of adventures’, with each episode being around ‘1.5-2 hours of play’, although achievements and the intuitive gameplay offer great replay value.
Once placed in the dungeon the player can move around by actually, you know, walking, or by ‘blinking’ aka using the controllers to aim at nearby ground and teleporting there. Unlike typical RPG’s, in Vanishing Realms there is no UI to obstruct your view, with the backpack and health levels being accessed by looking down to reveal different interactable icons. Items in the world can be picked up and plopped into your backpack using your controllers, rather than just spamming e.
The nature of VR means that the cartoonish graphics are irrelevant. It FEELS like you are there. The spooky noise coming from down the hall doesn’t just ‘add to the ambience’ it literally gets your heart racing. It’s like you’re not wearing goggles, you’re in the world. The VR tricks your mind into truly believing you’re in the game, and it’s great.
The combat involves wielding either dual swords, the classic sword and shield, or a bow and arrow, and they are all as awesome as you would imagine. Fights are no longer a case of mashing buttons until someone falls over, they are truly a battle of reaction speed and quick thinking.
Oh, and when the colossal skeleton boss is all up in yo’ grill, it’s not just an oversized model that your camera annoyingly goes through because won’t fit on the screen, it’s actually right there in front of you trying to take your head off. Which may cause some brown substance to appear in your pants. Results may vary. Do try this at home.
If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to our weekly review? you’ll receive a brief weekly email of the week’s VR updates delivered directly to your inbox!