The Five Best Games At Oculus Connect 3
I recently had the chance to travel to San Jose to check out some of the games Oculus was showing off for both the standard Oculus setup (headset plus controller), and the new setup taking advantage of the upcoming touch controllers. Good news: I managed not to get motion sickness, yay! Better news: I saw some really cool games. Here are the five best ones.
Robo Recall, a full-fledged expansion of last year's Bullet Train demo, was revealed during the keynote speech and immediately became one of the most talked about games at the show, and for good reason. The game's colorful, vibrant action channels the aesthetic of Time Crisis and it doesn't hurt that the game will be free to anyone who owns an Oculus. I got to play through a single level of the game and had a fantastic time with it. I'm still not quite a believer in VR reaching its gaming potential, but the demo for Robo Recall is a fantastic time, and had me wowing at all of its combat options. You can read a more in-depth preview of my time with the demo here.
Big fan of Ender's Game? Action in zero gravity? Ready at Dawn's Lone Echo might be your jam, then. I got the opportunity to play through a single match that basically functioned as soccer in space, with each player taking control of a robot, and each team of 5 robots trying to push a Tron-like disc through the opponent's goals. You can latch onto objects littered around the environment and shoot yourself across space to grab a disc. You can also punch an enemy to stun them and steal the disc from them. While there were some graphical glitches (like my hand suddenly deciding to shoot all the way across the level) and motion jankiness, there's still a lot of potential to Lone Echo. I felt as though I was truly floating through space and felt a particular kind of thrill every time I stole a disc away from an opponent.
There's also a singleplayer campaign for Lone Echo, but we didn't get any hands-on time with that.
I Expect You To Die
I Expect You To Die is crushingly hard. It's also zany, casting you as a James Bond-like agent who has to escape a series of death traps comprised of minor puzzles, like disarming a bomb by following a diagram's instructions in reverse or narrowly avoiding a death laser by slightly tilting your head to the right. An English narrator, ostensibly your handler, is also on hand to give you feedback on your puzzle-solving skills. I Expect You To Die is a great time, and I'm looking forward to getting more time with it once it releases alongside the Touch controller later this year.
You can read a longer preview on I Expect You To Die here.
Landfall is a sci-fi RTS where you control a single trooper on the field who can call down mechs in a futuristic war. While that sounds like pretty standard sci-fi game fare, Landfall's selling point is the unique perspectives it uses thanks to the VR headset. You're not centered above the battlefield in a top-down manner. Instead, you're above your troops and looking out across the land in a way reminiscent of a diorama. You'll also jump around perspectives, taking a first-person view of the battlefield whenever you order your mech to transform into a turret.
Outside of the uniquely VR qualities, Landfall is a pretty fun time. I played a couple of multiplayer matches, with each match being some variation of Control The Point. I played around with a variety of classes, each of them armed with their unique weapons, like rocket launchers or flamethrowers. Combat is fun, with enemies flying about and spinning like ragdolls when destroyed. I actually wanted to play more of the game when the demo ended and look forward to playing more of the game when it's released.
Dragon Front is a free-to-play trading card game in the vein of Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering that just happens to be in VR. The perspective of looking across the table at your foe and being able to examine card descriptions up-close is fun, but doesn't necessarily justify the necessity of the VR component. Still, Dragon Front is a just a barrel of strategic fantasy entertainment that I had a lot of fun playing and proved itself to be one of the more complete and complex games at the conference