E3: Hands-on with Farpoint in PlayStation VR

One of the many surprises that came along with the announcement of the PlayStation VR, being released this October, was Farpoint, by Impulse Gear. This was the first game shown, bringing us to an unknown world where you and your crew fight to survive. The trailer, itself, may look like another sci-fi FPS game, but coupled with the VR unit and PS VR Aim Unit, the game becomes something else entirely. As I eagerly waited in line to test out Farpoint, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. My only real VR gaming experience was with the Virtua Boy, and that in itself wasn’t that immersive when it came to Virtual Reality. I’ve seen other people try out Farpoint, and it looked like any normal VR game from the outside. But once I put on the PS VR head set and held the PS VR Aim Unit, I felt like I was inside the world of Farpoint.

For starters, the PS VR Aim Unit is designed to fully interact with the PS VR, fully detecting the direction of where the gun is facing. This means you can choose to fire from the hip, aim down the sights of the barrel, or do the sideways one-handed gangster style; it detects it all. You can blind fire while hiding behind a wall, or pull a Robocop and fire without looking. The gun will aim and fire in the direction the gun is facing even if you aren’t looking in that direction. The helps immerse yourself into the created-world, and makes it feel more dangerous. Also, your movement controls are on the Aim Unit, which gives you the opportunity to go where you want. There weren’t many other functions yet available, like jumping or running, but being able to lean or crouch just adds to the strategy of staying alive and dodging incoming fire. There were secondary shots, like a grenade launcher and a shotgun, available.

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Controlling myself took a bit to get used to, given that the direction I walk wasn’t always the direction I was looking. Once I got used to it, however, I began looking all over for bugs to shoot, seeing as they crawl from all over the place, and can easily surround you. The PS VR fully encases you into the world on a 1 to 1 scale, so if something is behind you, you have to turn around. I had an instance where these small spider-like creatures were jumping all over the place, and since they were aiming for my head, I actually had to duck to dodge them. At one point, one flew beside my head, but I easily shot it, even though I wasn’t looking in that direction. At certain points, I even one-handed the weapon for better accuracy when so many were jumping around, picking them off one by one. Raising the Aim Unit to eye level allowed me to view the reticle on the weapon. Since the Aim Unit will shoot in the direction you are pointing, the reticle helped aim against enemies, when fully lit up.

The graphics of Farpoint were pretty amazing. The shadows and lighting felt life-like, with even the sun glaring in my vision. Dust and wind can be seen, which would’ve been nice if dust built up a bit on the face mask. The PS VR really creates depth in your field of vision with each step taken. During my demo, I had the guy, who was guiding me, tell me that I didn’t have to actually walk to move, which was funny, since I honestly felt each movement I made in the game. There was even a narrow path that I had to walk across, but as I did I kept looking down, which spooked me a bit, given the height. Another sequence had me shimmy across a cliff, which I did with my back against the wall.

The demo itself was broken down into several phases with a JARVIS-like AI talking to you with updates, but not as witty, though. As I went through the game, I felt a bit confused, finding a recording of the two other astronauts/soldiers who are missing. Not much of the story was revealed, other than what we were told before the demo (space exploration gone wrong), but the action was enough to make me feel the threat of the creatures, and the excitement of trying to find the others. All in all, I had a great time playing Farpoint. VR is definitely the direction that gaming is going and with games like Farpoint, it’s definitely going to a wild ride.

Check out a few more screenshots of Farpoint and myself using the unit.

 

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Joe Gonzalez
Joe Gonzalez 286 posts

Gamer since '86, well knowledgeable in movies and games, and semi tech savvy. Graphic artist and t-shirt printer for over 10 years.