VR game reviews – day one at OC3

By Henry Stuart October 6, 2016

Next-level VR gaming with the Oculus Touch controllers 

Will McMaster, Head of VR at Visualise is back stateside for Oculus’s annual Oculus Connect developer conference in sunny San Jose. One of his favourite things about Oculus Connect is the opportunity to try out new VR experiences. Day one was spent checking out the plethora of VR games and demos and most importantly getting to grips with the Oculus Touch controllers. Read on for his vr game reviews that rocked and discombobulated his world.

Dead & Buried

Multiplayer first-person shooter game from Oculus Studios

Dead & Buried is a multiplayer experience which used the new Oculus Touch controllers. Its premise is super simple, wild west gun slinging  battle with 4 players. The execution of the game is really awesome. After familiarising myself with the controllers in a lobby area where I could select my avatar, I was popped into a saloon with the other three players. The guns were on my sides, and I could see my hands. Reaching down to grab the guns from their holsters, while trying to take out the other players, all while ducking behind barrels and walls. I could talk to the other players through the integrated mic in the headset.

What was impressive about the game was how natural the design of the interactions functioned. Within seconds I was aiming and firing and avoiding bullets. It was the first time I tried the Touch controllers with a game. There has been an ongoing debate about whether the Touch controllers are better than Vive’s and I personally think Oculus’s are better. The Touch controllers are much more responsive to my hand movements, improving immersion in comparison to the Vive which doesn’t track my fingers. This is what really got me immersed into the finite movements of aiming, firing and reloading which really, in terms of a shooter was the most impressive. The only thing missing was the weight of the gun, which fortunately is a feature the touch controllers don’t have. This experience was my favourite of the conference thus far.


Ripcoil from Sanzaru Games supports the Oculus Touch

Ripcoil is a sophisticated version of Pong where you throw a disk at your opponent in a giant arena. Its another multiplayer Touch experience. Your avatar stands on a floating platform and you move back and forth to block your opponents disk throws.  Tilting your head back and forth is the means to move in the game, but I found this mechanic pretty disorienting. Tilting your head to move is fine, but it was too sensitive, so that when I was trying to catch the disk that my opponent threw my head would naturally move in the opposite direction that I wanted to go. It felt pretty  strange but I think a few sensitivity settings would improve the comfort of this experience a lot.

Rock Band VR

Rock Band VR is an Oculus adaptation of the famous Harmonix Music Studios series

Rock Band VR is a highly anticipated title for the Rift where you attach the Touch controller to a rock band guitar. The experience places you in a rock band, except its a bit more focused on being on stage rather than playing to a particular pattern of notes. After a brief tutorial, you are popped on stage in front of a crowd of about 100 spectators, a series of glowing dots on your guitar tells you when to press the buttons to play along with the track. For a minute there, I really felt like I was in front of a crowd and felt a bit awkward that I was playing the game badly. Its a hard feeling to describe and a great example of creating that sense of presence. If nothing else, it proves that VR can be used as a powerful tool for training, or to get over phobias. If I was afraid of performing in front of a crowd, then this experience would definitely help overcome that fear. The biggest issue with the experience is that the human characters were semi-cartoonish, semi-realistic. This effect was so strange because it was right in the uncanny valley, although following the classic guitar hero crowd seen in previous Guitar Hero titles.

Come back tomorrow for a round-up of day two featuring Will’s coverage from the talks and announcements. 

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