Games Inbox: What is the best VR video game?

The Wednesday Inbox thinks Microsoft has the technical advantage next gen, as one reader looks forward to Fallout 76 Wastelanders DLC.

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Best reality
Before it came out I would’ve felt sure that Half-Life: Alyx would be the best VR game ever and a real milestone release, etc. But GC’s review seems to be inline with most others that while it’s good it does have some issues that you can’t ignore. Which makes me ask the obvious question, what is the best VR game?

I’ve only played a few, of which I’d say Beat Saber and Moss are my favourite, but things like Blood & Truth and Asgard’s Wrath seem a bit like Half-Life, in that they’re the big efforts to create the definitive VR game but they seem to be lacking when stacked against similar normal games.

After playing a friend’s I was planning to get a PlayStation VR next gen, especially if they update the headset, but I’m still a little worried that none of the big companies are getting involved. Sony are, obviously, but Activision and EA both did little experiments at the beginning and then nothing since. I’d feel a lot more confident if they were still pushing the format too.

GC: For us this is a pretty easy question: it’s Astro Bot. It’s not a deep game, or even very original in terms of other platformers, but everything it sets out to do it does near perfectly.

The Microsoft advantage
Interestingly, I think the fact that Sony has had to throttle back the speeds on PSN but Microsoft hasn’t illustrates some of the advantages Xbox has now and in the next generation. Microsoft’s data centres and online back-end is a lot stronger than Sony’s, and probably any other company’s in the world and this is kind of the ultimate proof of it. Maybe they’ll have to slow things down eventually but they didn’t first time round, even when Netflix, YouTube, and Sony did.

Xbox Live has always been Microsoft’s strength and while Sony has caught up a lot this gen I think Xbox is going to pull ahead again with Project xCloud. Considering what a wet fart Stadia has been it’s pretty obvious to me that Microsoft is going to dominate video game streaming and that is going to be a huge bonus for them in the years to come.

Microsoft is like the classic sleeping giant at the moment and if they can bring the right games with them to the next gen I think they can easily beat Sony this time. That is, I’ll admit, a very big if but they have had enough time to get some good stuff together that they’ve only got themselves to blame if they mess it up this time.

Physical provider
Although I agree that GAME are very probably going to go under during the coronavirus I do think they have a chance of staying afloat simply because they’re one of the few that are still delivering games and hardware to homes, or at least a decent range.

I’ll still use ShopTo by preference but Amazon, surprisingly, seems like they’re going to be useless through this whole thing. Which is fine, I get they’ve got more important things to deliver, but it’s an obvious opportunity for companies that usually get sidelined by them.

I still like to buy physical copies where I can, especially of Nintendo games, and providing that during the coronavirus is still something GAME might be useful for. It’s going to make me even less keen on ever stepping foot back in a store again though.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Plug and plug and plug and play
After reading your review of Half-Life: Alyx it’d be interesting to know GC’s thoughts on whether they prefer playing VR stood up, having to move around in a large room, or when you can just sit down with the headset and a joypad.

My personal favourite VR games all had me sitting on my settee and a beer or two (which I’ve yet to knock over). Resident Evil 7, WipEout, Moss, and the truly fabulous Astro Bot were totally immersive VR experiences that didn’t lose anything because I wasn’t wondering around my living room trying to avoid stepping on my dog.

GC: Which games have you played that have roomscale tracking, because it’s not really an option on the PlayStation VR? It is our preference, if you want to put it that way, but it’s also tiring and time-consuming to get ready, so it has to be used in moderation. (As does booze, why on earth are you drinking when you can’t even see the bottle?)

Nightmares come true
Super gutted to hear that all the Silent Hill rumours are duds. I really thought this would be the time when dreams would come true and we’d get a big budget reboot AND a new game by Hideo Kojima. And now it looks like we get nothing, or something much less interesting?

To be honest it did seem a bit too good to be true. I don’t see Sony being that bothered to buy a survival horror franchise that never sold that well, especially when they employ the guy that made the original and he already made Forbidden Siren for them.

I really hope Konami get into gear soon though. Them having a Capcom style turnaround would be amazing, but I just don’t think they care enough. Games is all Capcom do but Konami make too much money from real estate and gyms and stuff like that, more’s the pity.

Disrupted services
RE: Sony’s PlayStation 5 tech reveal. Even prior to tech reveals, the grapevine was saying the Xbox Series X was a little bit more powerful than the PlayStation 5 and the reveals confirmed this, but with caveats for Sony’s machine. It’s all probably pretty unimportant in the grand scheme of things, as has been rightly pointed out time and again the most powerful machine is rarely the most popular, as the Switch is proving once again now.

In the opening shots of the next gen battle it’s one-nil to Microsoft. Sony should hold the advantage for the next skirmish in game reveals. But I’m really keen to see Halo Infinite. I think if it’s a lacklustre as Halo 5 then that might be more damaging than even Sony’s PlayStation 5 hardware reveal. But I’m hoping not as I love Halo.

Now we are in full lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19, just wanted to say thank you to Inboxers, Underboxers (I read you and remain unoffended), feature writers and Metro staff for providing some much needed distraction and enjoyment. Does GC envision any disruption to normal programming given the current situation?

GC: Hopefully not. Although don’t expect to see any hands-on previews for a long while, for obvious reasons. The only real problem has been that the number of Hot Topic letters have taken a drastic downturn ever since the coronavirus started. We’re not sure what the connection is there but unless we get more it may have to go down to only one part for both Saturday and Sunday.

Fool me once
The Fallout 76 Wastelanders DLC, which finally introduces human non-player characters into the game, goes live in a few weeks’ time.

I know that a game like Fallout 76 can be difficult to review, but are you planning to take a fresh look at the game once the DLC goes live?
Ron Obvious

GC: Considering the miserable time we had with it the first time round, the thought does not fill us with joy. But we’ll see if we’ve got time.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Unfortunately authentic
Have to say, after playing the Resident Evil 3 demo last week, I can’t agree it’s shaping up to be better than 2.

The demo for Resident Evil 2 really sold it to me, with that close up of the half-eaten face as you move the corpse’s lolling head, the atmosphere of the building, the wind rattling the frames of broken windows, lightning flashes illuminating the rain drops on the panes. Here it’s just a nondescript urban environment with some guy giving you instructions over a walkie-talkie.

The environments aren’t any less narrow, which is probably unavoidable, especially for a remake. But that doesn’t make it feel any less as though the usual building walls are just replaced with more artificial barriers like car pileups, etc. I wouldn’t have expected an open city or anything but I’m essentially still navigating a collection of corridors, just this time without a ceiling. Speaking of ‘more or the same’ the recycling of items and puzzles is probably in line with the original but bolt cutters, shotguns, and safe codes on posters being Resident Evil staples did make it feel more like DLC for the predecessor.

And I see how they’re trying to top Mr X but Nemesis just seems to be more of a pain. Not really a scary one at that, just one that makes you panic run to wherever you can get shot of him. Having him jump over you to block your path or use that extremely annoying tentacle to trip you up from behind all contributes to the immersion, I’m sure, but even within about three minutes of him showing up I was sighing rather than hyperventilating. ‘Is this what a big chunk of the game is going to be like?’ was my main thought.

The visuals may have been better but I’m not even sure about that to be honest, as the last game already looked great.

End of the day, if it’s just more of the same with some minor changes and a new multiplayer, it’ll still be an enjoyable game but I’m not sure they really needed to have a demo and might have been better just telling people to play Resident Evil 2. If they apply this remake treatment to all the older games I can see diminishing returns each time and it’d be a shame if the amazing goodwill from Resident Evil 2 declined in a pattern similar to the one we saw between 2 and 4.

GC: All the problems you’re describing are intrinsic to the original game, which was always the least of the pre-Resident Evil 4 games.

Inbox also-rans
Child Of Light is free on UPlay on PC at the moment.
Andrew J.

So, ah, no Nintendo Direct announcement again, I take it? Darn.

GC: Not as we type this. Which means a Direct this week is now quite unlikely.

This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Grackle, who asks if how you play video games has, or is likely to, change during the coronavirus outbreak?

Have you been playing more or less games in the last few weeks and if you’re planning to self-isolate, or just spend more time at home in general, do you have any specific plans in terms of what games you’re going to play? Are you going to be working through your backlog, for example, or playing something specifically to cheer yourself up?

Will you be playing more online games in order to keep in touch with and speak to friend and family, and will you be encouraging them to play games where normally they wouldn’t?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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