We’ve never tackled a VR title, but since we just managed to grab an Oculus Rift Touch off of Craigslist for a decent price, here we are tackling our first VR game review and the title we have chosen is! Space Ops VR! Now with that being said jumping right into the action you are greeted with a tutorial introducing you to the game and I became very confused already, even spent a good ten minutes trying to figure out the audio prompts to the controls.
Space Ops VR starts out like most normal games giving you a brief introduction and teaching you how to pick up your weapons, move around, and store your weapons this is all great. But when it comes to storing the weapons it instructs you to store them off-screen in your Peripheral vision which makes it hard to just grab and go with, personally, I would have preferred a button to relay your weapons to in-front of your vision completely, and just grab it from there but that’s my opinion, albeit, after a while, I did get the hang of it after several minutes.
But I do want to bring up an issue I experienced when handling your assault rifle in the fact that it just doesn’t feel natural with how they have it set up, Like a lot of guns, holding it with both hands improves stability when firing. Because when you’re used to holding an assault rifle with two hands it implies your hands will always act a certain way when you are at a standstill or running, my issue here was that when I disengaged in combat it would always keep my opposite hand holding the rifle and it would make the rifle jittery, creating an issue when it came to realigning my gun in fights.
Since I was new to VR I anticipated the jitteriness of this was caused by just my two sensors, so I hooked up a third realigned the placement to a more optimal positioning with the three, and then checked the game again, the assault rifle still freaking out on my screen because of the unnatural placement of my hands, because unlike being a hardcore soldier whose had years of combat training, I tend to relax my opposite hand when not in use. So if you relax your secondary hand the game’s tracking doesn’t know how to deal with this and begins to interfere with the placement of your weapon causing the gun to move in unstable directions. (Personal notes, maybe this issue could be because I am 6’0ft and the distance between my arms is sizable since it tracks my arm placement, or a simple fix is just to de-grip the gun when one arm is at rest.)
Not the most optimal of means for combat, I found that the best means to fix this issue with holding the gun with two hands is just, not to hold the gun with two hands. The game is set up so that the second hand you use will allow the gun to change the type of shot you fire such as a huge energy charge or in an assault mode setup where it fires several shots. If you’re fast you can switch to your pistol and just use your assault rifle on its energy charge. Given the pistol doesn’t have as much raw power as the assault rifle does when firing but getting around the recoil of the gun and not having to deal with the issues of placement of the gun when you’re at ease I found this the most ideal means to dealing with it.
Now for VR games, I know there is a big issue with frames per second because each VR headset has a different requirement to play, so including graphic options in the game is welcomed by those with higher-powered gaming systems, but for lower-end systems who are uncertain at what settings to run the game it can create issues, It would be more helpful to include a means to auto-detect the best settings. I set all of mine to medium and I still ended up with mild disorientation after playing, and I more than meet the requirements to play the game, coasting on a Devils Canyon overclocked to 4.4ghz and a Gigabyte RX570 with 8gbs of ram.
The game needs optimization so it can be more effectively run, and my personal thoughts are it should be hard capped to prevent disorientation during gameplay, because and I cannot stress this enough if people cannot play your game, steam does allow refunds and you’ll lose money over it, and if it makes people sick what’s that is even more reason for people to avoid purchasing your product.
Now talking about the gameplay experience here it was pretty straightforward. You have a gun, you see enemies, you shoot enemies they have several modes but I focused on the Skirmish modes since I don’t get a co-op partner; yet… During the Skirmish mode you’re tasked with meeting certain criteria to advance such as shoot out certain items, kill a certain number of enemies or just trigger a button and run to the next area. Some areas are even more straightforward when the main goal is just to get out of the area you’re in by solving a jumping puzzle, this became a bit tiresome when playing against the ghost of another player because the more you die, the longer you wait to respawn at which at one point I was stuck waiting for almost a minute just standing in my living room looking like an idiot.
Space Ops VR does take full advantage of the teleportation mechanic which becomes a needed necessity to dodge enemies and solve puzzles the one puzzle in question caused me to just stand there like I said looking like an idiot, the game is really fierce at punishing you for dying. Even when the puzzle is all about timing, much like the Guts man’s stage in mega man when you have to jump off the platforms before they collapse, although in this case, it’s teleporting off platforms before you’re obliterated by a giant freaking laser, this one section taking the entirety of my sanity as it utilizes the full aspect of your VR environment where you must turn and face the situation quickly or you’ll die and be stuck again, standing around like an idiot for a minute waiting to re-spawn as another player or the ghost of the player advances through the stage and onto the boss at the end.
Moving onto the combat this is pretty easy if you don’t count the earlier aforementioned hand-holding issue with the assault rifle, run around, dodge enemy attacks while either walking towards you or teleporting and keep hitting them with your weapons, switching between the type of attacks you have from your pistol, your assault rifle in spread form or the charge attack your rifle has. Some types of damage are more effective against other enemies such as kinetic or energy shots, things they do teach you about earlier on in the tutorial and even give you enemies to train on.
The final thing I got to say about Space Ops VR is that despite my grievances with the slight disorientation caused by the settings, and the tracking issues it was pretty fun and that’s what we’re looking for in games, I’ll most likely revisit it in the future when the game is probably a bit more stable and the bugs have been ironed out, and I don’t mean the bug enemies, I mean the actual bugs. I do continue to think it’s a fun game, and I do hope to co-op it with my friend in the future when he gets his own Oculus Rift.
Is it worth checking out? Potentially, if you’re into shooters I’d say go for it! I can’t say how well it will perform on your systems but I will say I did have fun playing it, until I felt like an idiot standing around in my living room for a minute.
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