E3 2016: PlayStation VR Recap – The New Games

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

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PS VR | oprainfall

Sony’s E3 presentation has now come and gone, but a lot information dropped last night, especially in regards to VR. Since the company is planning to have 50 games available at the launch of October 13, I figured now would be a good time to do a recap of the games that were featured for PS VR at the press conference. Since there is a decent amount of titles that were announced, I split this up into two articles: one that focuses on new titles that were announced (this article) and one that focuses on titles that are receiving VR ports. So, strap your bulky goggles on and let’s do this!

Farpoint

The first new IP shown off during the E3 presentation was Impulse Gear’s space exploration/shooter. In Farpoint, you jump into the shoes of an agent of the United Earth Project as you explore a planet that ‘probably isn’t on the star charts.’ Your gun doubles as a scanner as you shine your blue light grid to get a sense of your surroundings. The weapon comes in handy as you are soon overrun by robotic drones in a field of burning wreckage. The fact that the trailer shows a lot of walking at the same pace makes me wonder if this is an on-rails shooter. There’s also the usual female guide at the other end of your headset who might act like this game’s Navi or Cortana. Either way, the graphics look impressive and the sand flowing on the winds of the desert do seem inviting for a little bit of a stroll:

Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing VR Mission

While this games is obviously based on EA’s massively popular (and somewhat controversial) franchise this still seems to be a standalone title. The trailer for X-Wing VR Mission is quite short and feels like it belongs in the original Star Wars trilogy with the Star Destroyers and TIE fighters. The action seems to capture the chaotic nature of the dogfights that the first few films made famous. You can see all the laser fire from out of your cockpit and you seem to have a good range of motion to look out the three windows in front of you. The pilot’s position will probably transfer over to VR nicely as well since you can sit down in a comfy chair and not have to worry about walking anywhere.

Batman Arkham VR

Here’s another franchise that’s getting its own VR game that’s not a port of any other title in the series. The trailer here does very little other than showcase Mark Hamill’s talents playing The Joker. However, his twisted narration ties the somewhat crazy idea of putting on a mask to fight crime to putting on a pair of goggles to experience another world. “Does it even matter? After all, if you find a mask that fits, you never need to take it off!” While there’s not much else to say here it is worth noting that Rocksteady is developing this game which does give a little hope that this title will end up more than just a glorified tech demo.

While it’s a little disappointing to see that two out of three of the ‘new’ games shown off at Sony’s press conference are just isolated experiences within a larger series, this sort of thing is bound to happen at the start of the life cycle of a new peripheral. Familiar franchises bring people in no matter what region you’re from. I have hope for the Battlefront game since I think it’s the set-up that most suits the medium, but I’m also curious to see what Rocksteady brings to the table. And while Farpoint might fall into the familiar trappings (and maybe some new VR trappings) of the shooter genre, I’m hoping the mysteries found in the trailer will bring more than just walk-walk-shoot-shoot.

But 3 is a small number compared to the 50 titles that are supposedly coming out with the PlayStation VR mid-October. I definitely want to see more offerings before I can justify the $399 USD price tag for the headset. Luckily, there are another three games, or ports rather, that you can check out in Part 2 of this VR recap.

About Leif Conti-Groome

Leif Conti-Groome is a writer/playwright/video game journalist whose work has appeared on websites such as NextGen Player, Video Game Geek and DriveinTales. His poem Ritual won the 2015 Broadside Contest organized by the Bear Review. While he grew up playing titles such as Final Fantasy VI and Super Double Dragon, he doesn’t really have a preference for genre these days except for Country; that’s a game genre right? Leif’s attention has been more focused on the burgeoning communities of niche Japanese titles, eSports and speedruns. He currently resides in Toronto, Canada and makes a living as a copywriter.