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July 2019


Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Publisher: Anshar Studios
Developer: Anshar Studios
Release Date: July 6, 2018


PS4 VR Review - 'Detached VR'

by Cody Medellin on Feb. 27, 2019 @ 12:01 a.m. PST

Detached is a suspenseful interstellar duel that demands tactics and skill to survive. Separated from your unit you must make smart decisions and race to safety in this visceral exploration of deep space.

Buy Detached

Space travel is something that many of us may never experience. The technology is making a slow march toward the goal of being able to consistently leave the planet, but at the moment, the venture is costly for any except the uber-rich. There's also the barrier of nausea and being able to handle the force being exerted on your body before blacking out. With those factors in mind, there's certainly an appeal to replicate space travel in VR so we can partially get that sensation of floating in space, and that's what Detached aims to do.

You play the role of a space scavenger who's going from one abandoned spaceship wreckage to another, trying to get anything useful to sell in order to fund another expedition. On your way back from a hunt, you stow yourself in the cargo bay when another person comes in to sabotage your ship, leaving you drifting around in the wreckage alone. Your job then is to find your way back to your own ship alive. Aside from that opening movie, there's not much more attention spent on the narrative, and without a real conclusion, there's not much to go on story-wise.

For the most part, this is a walking simulator that's set in space with zero gravity involved. Most of your time is spent going to switches and activating them. Some have time limits involved, while others make you race for an exit or toward pods, and if you fail, you need to hit the switch again and start over. You eventually find weapons, but you won't be hitting enemies; you'll use the guns to activate more switches from afar. While you can't attack, you have a shield to defend yourself from automatic turrets that identify you as a threat.

Detached uses the standard DualShock 4 controller. While the face buttons handle things like interacting with the environment and pulling up shields, the dual analog sticks handle movement like a standard first-person shooter would. The shoulder buttons handle vertical height and roll, so it almost feels like you're piloting a plane. It makes sense when you consider that you're essentially controlling the jet propulsion system on your suit. With that said, you'll need to get used to how your thrust affects your movement, as the zero friction environment means you can easily careen into a wall since you're moving too quickly; you can die instantly if the glass in your helmet cracks.

While you'll likely come to grips with the control scheme, you'll likely have a tougher time dealing with the motion sickness the game unapologetically gives you. Unlike most VR games presented in a first-person perspective, there's no option to point to a location you want to go to and warp there. Turning also isn't handled by an immediate shift from one degree to another. Instead, you're given free, smooth movement in any direction, and even though the suit elements remind you that you're in a vehicle of sorts, your brain can't handle the disconnect between standing still and moving, and you'll start to feel nauseous. The game tries to mitigate this by having an eagle-eye view appear when you're moving too quickly, so the screen darkens to focus on one area as you move, but that still isn't enough to stave off the feeling of unease. If you don't have a strong stomach for VR, be warned that Detached will likely do you in if you play it.

If you can stomach the effects of VR, you'll find that the presentation is excellent all around. The game places you inside a spacesuit, so while there isn't much to see when you tilt your head, at least it's rendered very well. The HUD on your helmet is perfectly clear to read at a glance. The insides of the ship pieces might not be too exciting due to their gray interiors, but the very long draw distances make it easy to locate important doors and switches from very far away. Going into space is more impressive thanks to the light of the sun painting the scene with some really nice lighting effects. This is especially evident when the sun is cast from your side, where you see the light show off more of the interior of the suit and cast some clean shadows over every surface.

Aside from the single-player mode, Detached features multiplayer with up to one other person; this is still something of a rarity in the VR space. Race has you trying to go through golden rings faster than your opponent, similar to how you were doing in in the training session before the game actually began. Package Extraction is slightly more involved, as you're trying to grab a package and return it to your base before your opponent does. It plays similar to a modern Capture the Flag but a little more strenuous, since this is a one-on-one affair instead of a team-based one. Unfortunately, the map count for each mode is limited to two, and with a completely inactive community, there's no hope that more maps are going to be made.

Detached is the sort of game where you'll enjoy your short time with it if you aren't easily susceptible to motion sickness. The atmosphere is absolutely gorgeous, giving you a good sense of the beauty and loneliness of space. The puzzles aren't bad, but the lack of direction about where to go can be an annoyance when you have a constantly depleting oxygen meter to worry about and a finite amount of fuel. It may not be a VR showcase title for everyone, but those who can stomach it will enjoy their time.

Score: 7.0/10

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