I arrived late at the party, but in the end I managed to play a bit with Robo Recall, the game everyone was talking about!
Robo Recall has been developed by Epic Studios, using Oculus money. Oculus has completely funded the project and as Road To VR has estimated, it has spent something like 4 million dollars. The motivation is simple: Oculus wanted something that resembled an AAA game, so people owning an Oculus headset with Touch controllers could have a taste on how a big studio game could be. And Epic has made a great work in this sense: the game has obtained fantastic reviews everywhere and the fact that it is moddable has increased its durability. A lot of people starting creating new mods for Robo Recall, including one Star Wars-themed ones, where you fight with lightsabers.
I won’t make a review on Robo Recall here, since on the web you can already find a bazillion of them… like this one made by UploadVR. I just want to express my opinion about this game.
First of all, I agree with others: it is awesome. Really awesome. I already found awesome Bullet Train (the prequel demo of Robo Recall): it was the demo I liked the most with Oculus Touch… but the complete game is even better.
First reason about this awesomeness is that it is perfect for Oculus Touch: while Vive controllers are wand-like (a bit like Microsoft headsets’ ones), Oculus controllers are more suitable for guns. While you hold the controller and press the index trigger, you just feel like you’re firing with a real gun… the only difference is in weight, of course (a gun is quite heavy, while VR controllers are light). And this game is all about firing. Throughout all the game you just:
- Move within the play area (room scale, that Oculus has enabled);
- Take objects with your hands (using the middle finger trigger);
- Fire, fire, fire (using the index finger trigger).
And these are the things that you perform at best with Oculus Touch controllers. Robo Recall has been studied to be a game that would be perfect for Oculus Touch controllers and it just is. I’m not saying that it isn’t playable with Vive ones, but the experience wouldn’t be as perfect. This is in line to what Oculus wants to obtain: that people buy Oculus+Touch because it offers the best games.
Second reason of why I love it is because it is perfect for VR. VR is great when it makes you try things that you’re not able to experience in your real life, but especially when it makes you feel strong emotions. For example some of my favourite VR experiences are Dear Angelica that has almost made me cry and The Price of Freedom that has deeply shocked me. Robo Recall happens in a far future where you just fight with robots (and I guess this doesn’t happen in your everyday life) and it is focused on pure adrenaline. You have no time to think in Robo Recall: you just look in every direction, take guns and fire, dodge, take bullets and fire again. It reminds me the Dodgeball rules…
When playing Robo Recall, in half an hour you just find yourself sweating completely from firing and dodging bullets. My friend Max even lied on the floor to fire better. I have disconnected the Oculus cable at least 3 times, because I was so immersed in playing that I didn’t notice I was detaching the HDMI connector. This game offers an enormous sense of presence because of the high adrenaline levels it triggers in you.
Third things I loved is its durability. Someone says that the game is a bit repetitive… but come on, how an action game can be continuously original? Even action movies are all the same… I’m convinced that Steven Seagal’s movies are all the same movie in the end…
Jokes apart, to make the game last more, they’ve added all the most modern tactics:
- Secondary objectives for each mission, so you can play them again and again until you accomplish all missions;
- An overall highscore chart, so you just play to be on the top of the world chart;
- Upgrades to weapons: the more you play, the more you unlock weapons and upgrades;
- MODs: as I’ve already said, the game has been made moddable, so even after having played the 10 standard missions, you can still play all the mods created by the community (and there are many) and play forever.
Fourth feature I loved is that the game has really cool features that make you feel like a true badass action (like Steven Seagal, for instance)
For example, you can take robots and dismantle them with your hands… you can be ultraviolent and take their heads off. You can use one robot as a shield and then throw it onto its mates. You can steal robots weapons. You can take shotguns from your back… and moving your hand to your back and virtually extracting a shotgun and then firing is really a cool move… makes you really feel cool. “The devil is in the details” and this games makes you really feel as you’re in a fight against robots: you can use every medium that you would use in real life!
And then it is just crafted incredibly well: graphics are great, everything is super-neat and refined. You can clearly see that it is not an indie product, but a big studio’s one.
This is why I loved Robo Recall so much. It is entered in my heart as one of my favourite VR games ever… just few minutes of playing and I’ve already become addicted to it. The adrenaline rush is the biggest I’ve had in a VR game. I envision a future where in VR we’ll have all games that gives strong emotions like this one.
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