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Pre-E3 2019: Oculus wants to paddle in an invisible VR kayak and it's amazing



<img src = "https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Phantom_Screenshot_Quest_02-800×450.jpg" alt = "Are you not packing explosives and remote detonation boxes? clips full of bullets, and a gun silenced in its kayak trip with family? Ghost: Covert operations, a furtive virtual reality game that will be released this year to Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift, would like to be with the organizer of his camping trip. "/>

enlarge / Are you sure you do not pack remote detonation explosives, full of bullets and a silenced weapon? its kayak trip with family? Ghost: Covert operations, a furtive virtual reality game that will be released this year to Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift, would like to be with the organizer of his camping trip.

Oculus Studios / nDreams

SANTA MONICA, California – I could not stop laughing.

I had just seen a new single-player stealth video game from Oculus Studios, titled Ghost: Covert operationsand I was intrigued. The video looked like the start sequence of an interesting game, in which the players slide into a terrorist complex defended by paddling under their steel belly in a very silent kayak. That's a great way, REI-style to start a VR version of Metal Gear Solid, I thought. I was sure to see a hero jump to the ground and get down to the virtual reality espionage business.

Then he finished the 30-second video and a producer for the game of a series of Oculus Quest demonstration stations while talking about this system of "military kayak" and how it allowed "free and comfortable exploration" within the limits of reality virtual.

Whoa Wait I almost shouted, "Are you all serious about doing Stealth Kayak: The Game?"

It turns out that yes, the developer of virtual reality games nDreams was doing just that. To be clear, my aforementioned laugh did not begin until I tied myself to a ghost demonstration station, alternated between rowing and kayak and terrorist snipers, and realized how beautiful This ridiculous idea was in action.

That's how Oculus Studios began its main pre-E3 show last week outside of Los Angeles, and the event revolved around a hole in the company's existing portfolio: long, single-player quality campaigns. Even though today is the launch date of the new Oculus Quest virtual reality system, the company is not sitting on its virtual laurels. Oculus will arrive at the next month of E3 with four great solo adventures on its back, and last week we obtained a practical world-wide vision of two of them: the surprisingly solid Ghost: Covert operations and the awesome science fiction sequel Lost Echo 2.

Metal Gear Liquid? Rainy Bow Six … feet of water?

To my first question, nDreams was emphatic: yes, all ghostThe missions take place inside the kayak. Players are expected to sit while playing this exclusive Oculus Studios game (which will be launched on the Quest and Rift headphones) and maneuver through their rivers solely through the use of a two-handed virtual palette. Hit the reverse to go back; You deep in the water to slow down; Push off the nearby walls to move through narrow corridors. (Yes, see VR users see that the act of rowing is as funny as you can imagine).

But a stealth action game would be fun with a variety of items, and fortunately, the designers had stored some treats in my kayak: a sniper rifle beside me; a silenced pistol attached to my chest; And a very noisy machine is tied to my back. This firepower was completed by some ammunition, some binoculars and a few remote detonation bombs, all within arm's reach.

The virtual kayak act felt so good in action that I was surprised to have seen it before in a virtual reality adventure game. I am a sticker on the comfort of virtual reality, but something about the abstraction of a kayak, married with movements of constant arms and movements at low speed in a silent but deadly game, which relieves the vestibular system of my brain. It was simple enough to paddle from a shadow-covered spot or to cover the next or to keep my terrain (er, water) while pausing in a patch or already to walk the road ahead of me and choose both the route and the ideal tactics. Should I draw a focus of mass attention, which would give me some secrecy but also arouse suspicion? Shoot an isolated guard in the back? Make a noise to the left and then row crazy to the right? Do you see what happens when I shoot that bright one, along with three security guards?

Phantom: Covert Ops trailer of the world premiere.

All these options were available to me at an "early" level of the game's campaign. This 15-minute demonstration sequence was clear in the branches, but was included fair I had to stop breathing involuntarily and feel that I had at my disposal high-risk options. In absolutely I felt like I was in 1997, playing the N64 Goldeneye 007 Campaign for the first time. Gunplay felt excellent, especially thanks to an interesting shot of VR sniper, while rowing carefully between the coverage points led me to a couple of interesting opportunities to "install the bomb".

Of course Goldeneye It benefited from a wide variety of geometry levels, and now it counts if nDreams can achieve something like content in content and surprises while keeping the seats of the players planted in kayaks all the time. I had a lovely 15 minutes in ghostBut while the representatives of nDreams insisted that ghostThey have no concrete answers about other types of levels or turns. For now, at least, I reserve the careful optimism of a kayak for this game "sometime in 2019".

Lone Echo 2: In space, someone can (finally) hear you

After that demonstration, I put on an Oculus Rift S headset in a 40 minute chapter of Lone Echo 2, the fourth game in the "Echo" series exclusive of Ready At Dawn in VR. (In addition to the first Solitary Eco single-player game, the developer has also launched the game of frisbee-sports Echo Arena and the multiplayer pistol Echo combat.) All of these games have a unique movement system in common, which asks players to grab onto nearby walls and structures with an Oculus Touch button, then push themselves through zero-gravity environments.

Opinions vary on this Echo-exclusive movement system, but I personally like how it activates the bodies and minds of players to move around in large virtual reality spaces without feeling sick. The movement was never my meat with Solitary Eco. Rather, I have always been disgusted by the pace and loneliness of the 2017 game, where the tedious tasks and the slow unfolding plot meant that the players were bored and expected too much of their execution time.

Ready In the dawn producers, this review was co-founded to a certain extent in a pre-show presentation, saying that they built this sequel considering some key questions and motivations: "How do you tell a story when your player has the full agency? Why is this need to be in virtual reality? [develop a player’s sense] Friendship with artificial intelligence?

The true glory of Lone Echo 2The demonstration of the world premiere is how he silently addresses all these concerns. Ready At Dawn has all the possibilities of the anniversary of the original game and the pace at which players do not realize if they are looking for them. The first touch came when I slipped towards Olivia, the human ally of the first game. I reached his face with his hands, because, derp, I am a smiling virtual reality game tester, but to my surprise, he took my hand, made eye contact with me and told me to cut it.

From there, Olivia or another robotic guide that spoke always were by my side with an organic flow of history and talks. (Not constantly, of course, just enough to give me the feeling of having to sit still and suffer a soliloquy). And unlike the original game, moving through this abandoned outpost did not revolve around the detestable searches of switches. . Instead, the mere act of traversing an intriguing landscape, intelligently lit to guide the way, did the trick. His tension was regularly increased by a flagella lurking.

This demonstration mission revolved around exploring and understanding a new mechanics: defending and quarantining viral organisms that are attracted to living electricity. Since once again you are playing as Android, you must activate the sources of electricity to prevent blobby blobby fans from feeding on your sweet electric soul. This means that his body and maneuvers through abandoned spaces to lease these forms of life away from Olivia and approach the explosive traps that can install, sometimes using their hands to grab and throw these things into their traps. The result was a growing sense of fear of whether one of these viral beings could attack, part of a sense of constant movement and momentum from one place to another.

Lone Echo 2 Trailer of 360 degrees.

I never had to sit still or float while I waited for him to finish a speech. I could click on the menu options on my sturdy wrist to offer dialogue answers if I wanted, but I could still do this with simple and fluid movements while, otherwise, I continued with the mission in question. With the mere physical demand to stand and look around in virtual reality, this consideration does everything possible to make the experience feel much more like a Ridley Scott production, where everyone involved is on alert and progressing slowly towards the bad big and bad that waits.

I will be frank Lone Echo 2 Absolutely has my attention in terms of an exclusive virtual reality vehicle for the plot, the puzzles and the mystery. The producers of Ready At Dawn kept their lips silent. anything another thing about the next game, including whether to expect any Echo combat or Echo Arena Mechanics to make the cut. For now, I will keep my eyes on the progress of this game as it floats (probably in zero gravity) towards a "Q1 2020" launch window.

The Wrath of Asgard: I'm still not convinced, but it's fine.

Once again, Oculus had a VR game of sword combat to show off Oculus Rift, entitled The Wrath of Asgard and scheduled to be released later this year … and once again, I wonder if this ambitious action RPG is really a virtual reality player. While the game is clearly full of content and polish, and its combat has improved since I last played it, I still have to find a game that does not have specific virtual reality problems. Important text bubbles appear in hard-to-read locations. The crucial objectives of the mission are hidden by the design of unclear levels. The main sequences are framed by uncomfortable camera angles. The accompanying characters constantly appear more inches from their virtual reality perspective in a way that feels uncomfortable, if not terrifying. And all too often, players are forced to sit still and watch while they wait for long speeches to complete.

It is because of these issues that I did not write much about The Wrath of Asgard when I first met him at GDC. While I still hope that the title is better than an adventure in the living room than in incomplete 30-minute exhibition demonstrations, I am currently worried about its strengths, including exuberant art direction, solid hand-controlled sword fighting, and a system of dismemberment of visceral monsters – will be buried in specific themes of VR. I just left two of the demonstrations in this game, "Why can not I play this standard missions game on a TV with a controller?"

At least, Lone Echo 2, Ghost: Covert operationsand the action and adventure game developed by Insomniac. Storm Country (which will show more than E3, before its vague window "2019") all the convincing things, both with the perspective of virtual reality as with manual tracking controls to answer the question "why in virtual reality". It's good news for players like me who compose content for a single player, whether in virtual reality or not.


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