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July 2018


Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Genre: Action
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Impulse Gear
Release Date: May 16, 2017

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


PS4 VR Preview - 'Farpoint'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on June 15, 2016 @ 3:00 p.m. PDT

Farpoint is a space adventure set on a hostile alien world. After crash landing, you have to survive and discover the planet's secrets. Your only hope of escape is to keep moving and discover the fate of your team.

It's pretty difficult to have a shooter-themed VR game within a city block of me and not garner my immediate attention.  Farpoint is a game where you play as an astronaut on an unknown Mars-like world and follow in the footsteps of other astronauts whose fate is uncertain. Most importantly, you use an assault rifle and a shotgun to blow away alien menaces.  The demo yielded little explanation and let the gameplay do the talking, and it was certainly in a language that I joyfully understood.

The game felt intrinsically familiar as I held the Move-equipped rifle peripheral and had the PS VR headset on my head.  You hold your gun like you would in real life, and you can even shift it around to thoughtfully look at its sides.  This also means that you use it like you could in reality, from holding it low to fire from the hip to holding it up to your shoulder to looking through the holo-sight and get an actual crosshair.  The first time I did so, I habitually closed my non-dominant eye even though it really doesn't matter with a VR headset and a virtual gun.  Apparently I'm not the only one who did this, and it's interesting to observe which physical habits you bring to an immersive VR experience.

Moving was relatively easy to figure out, as you simply point your gun where you want to move and then move a stick on the gun "up" to move in that direction.  Less easy was anything that involved turning in place, which is effectively impossible short of simply looking that far around and moving your arms to shoot in that direction.  Most of the action takes place somewhere in front of your viewpoint, though at times it's also above or below your current elevation.  The smallest aliens were little crab-like ones that were capable of leaping at the player.  Another common reaction to the game was that people would physically move to try and dodge these.

Later in the demo, I happened upon a shotgun, which you physically pick up off of a crate.  You can switch weapons by bringing up the peripheral to lay against your shoulder (with the barrel pointing "up"), and the shotgun could be reloaded with another button on the peripheral.  On a related note, I'm not sure you've truly enjoyed VR until you've been able to rush a stupid alien and in a very physical sense extend a shotgun right into its face before blowing it away.  The shotgun and assault rifle are also capable of launching explosives (grenades and rockets, respectively) to clear some of the harder melee aliens or the distant spitter ones.  More dangerous was the massive alien beast that came out of a cave at the tail end of the demo, but the gameplay was cut short before combat actually began.

It may only be a smaller game developed by an equally smaller team, but Farpoint was a lot of fun.  It has to be difficult to develop a shooter in VR, and while movement wasn't fully intuitive, I certainly grasped enough of it to have a blast running around and being the sci-fi action hero that other games try to set you up to be.  No release details were given other than likely next year, so it'll be a while before we get the chance to check out the finished project.  I'll likely be counting the days either way because it's so much fun to control a virtual shotgun and bring that boomstick to bear.

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