PlayStation VR owners have had the opportunity since launch to play through a bunch of great experiences, but often there are short and feel more like tech demos, despite the level of polish. However, the latest game and exclusive to join the lineup promises to bring the first fully-fledged AAA experience to come to the platform.
Farpoint, created by Impulse Gear feels like the game PSVR owners have been waiting for since picking up the unit. This is largely thanks to the PS VR Aim Controller which releases alongside the game. It’s hard to talk about the game without mentioning the peripheral and visa versa, but I’ll be splitting this review into two sections, as I know that the PS VR peripheral will be used in VR games going forward.
As soon as you boot up Farpoint, you’re thrusted straight into the campaign. From that first cutscene, which lasts about 5+ minutes in total Farpoint has all the signs of AAA experience. It does a great job at making you feel immersed from the get-go, providing you with the ability to walk around and explore areas mid cut-scene. It rarely keeps you still and has you feeling like a real part of the foreign planet which you’ve crash-landed on.
Your main purpose in Farpoint is to escape the alien-infested planet, but you’re also looking for two other astronauts that were also sucked into the depths of the world you find yourself on. The story is told largely through holographs as well as flashbacks. The story and characters didn’t grab me in all honesty, but I still enjoyed watching the cutscenes just because they just looked so damn good.
The campaign for the most part is quite a slow burn, in a good way. Impulse Gear have done a brilliant job with pacing. They keep the gameplay varied with the familiar cycle of shooting sections, exploration and cutscenes we have become accustomed to with Triple A experiences. Just when you feel like you’ve been shooting for a significant amount of time, it’ll bring up a section of exploration, followed by a lengthy cutscene. Similarly, just when you start feeling comfortable again, it’ll throw an enemy at you and get your blood pumping.
Farpoint makes better use of the full 360 space around you than any other VR I’ve experienced. There will be times when enemies (mostly alien spiders) will literally jump over you or burrow underground and suddenly attack you from behind. I’ve played a lot of VR titles, and this game had me making sure I was looking left, right, up and down, more than any other. Due to the fact the campaign is 4-5 hours long, the amount of enemies in the game feels just right. It starts getting a little repetitive at the end, but it’s never not fun to shoot down alien.
The amount of guns in the campaign as well as the pace at which they’re introduced is satisfying and adds to the variety of the core gameplay. There’s roughly 4-5 weapons in the game ranging from the standard assault rifle, which has a timed cool down as well as the shotgun which you have to reload manually. You’ll find yourself going back and forth between weapons based on the enemy as well as your surroundings. Each weapon also has secondary ammunition, which is scarce to find, but feel great to fire and add another dimension to the gunplay.
Farpoint is without doubt the best looking PlayStation VR game. The campaign takes you from bright, rocky locations to dark, atmospheric caves. It’s always visually intriguing and I never got tired of looking around in order to take in the sights around me.
When the campaign is done, you’re able to play through a challenge mode which allows you to change up parts of the gameplay as well as modifiers to keep you coming back. You’re also able to earn medals in this mode, so accuracy of your shooting feels more important than in the campaign.
There’s also online co-op, which is incredibly intriguing. I was surprised to learn that you were able to play this game with another player online, but it works well. The online co-op missions are separate to the campaign and take place across four different maps. It’s much more frantic than the campaign, which leads to something that I have to mention, motion sickness.
With the nature of this type of game, where you’ve got full 360 view and you’re frantically running around, some people will definitely experience motion sickness.
The game gives you the option to use the second analogue stick to turn, which I wouldn’t recommend doing at all. I much preferred the default setting which had you moving in the direction of whichever way your gun was pointed and made the second analogue stick redundant. I still found that I lost my bearings when I would move backwards as this was a bit much for me to handle, but I was able to get through the campaign without ever feeling like I needed to stop due to motion sickness.
Going forward, I’d love to see if Impulse Gear adds to Farpoint. I actually think there’s a really strong base there to have fully-fledged competitive multiplayer.
PS VR AIM CONTROLLER
It’s very hard to talk about Farpoint without going into detail about the PlayStation VR Aim Controller. At first, it looks quite basic but it really surprised me just how much is built into this controller. It’s essentially has all the components of a DualShock 4 and PlayStation Move controller mashed together.
The tracking of the PlayStation VR Aim Controller feels slightly better than the PlayStation Move controllers, but there were still some minor issues with slight movement. I also experienced a weird issue where my second hand kept coming off the grip (on-screen). I couldn’t really tell how this was actually detecting this as my hand stayed on the controller at all times.
All the buttons are nicely mapped out so you’ve got easy access to your two analogue sticks, your regular face buttons, D-Pad, R1 buttons, options/share buttons as well as your PlayStation button. There’s also built in rumble, so you can get a tactile feel for your in-game happenings.
It’s immersive because you can literally see your gun tracking in real time and the devs have done really well to not restrict your movements. If you want to point the gun at yourself, go ahead and do so. If you want to tilt your gun and shoot gangsta style, that’s great too. You’re also able to physically duck and hide in cover whilst holding your gun above the cover to shoot your enemies. It just works from the get-go and was incredibly satisfying.
One of the more surprising elements of Farpoint is you’re forced to use the sight of your gun. You need to physically lift the PlayStation VR Aim Controller in order to ensure you’re looking through the sight. It’s just another little detail which adds to the overall immersion and makes you feel extra badass.
Farpoint is the first game that has made me believe that fully-fledged games could make use of VR technology in order to provide a better experience. It’s the most in-control I’ve felt whilst playing a game and without doubt the most I’ve ever felt immersed in a game world. Farpoint definitely doesn’t have the most interesting story, and there’s still some issues surrounding the length due to the fact that it is a full-priced game, but Farpoint is going to give gamers a world of hope, when it comes to VR.
A lot of the reason that Farpoint is so great is due to the PS VR Aim Controller, which is an almost perfect accessory. It has all of the necessary buttons, which all feel like they’re in the right place and now I can’t see myself playing a VR shooter without it. In-fact, I’d be intrigued to see how it works with non-VR shooters.
The PS4 version of this game was played for the purpose of this review. You can read our review policy HERE. Certain parts of this review were taken from last week’s preview of the game.