So this is what PlayStation VR is capable of.
If you’ve spent the last few months waiting for a game to sell you on PlayStation’s version of virtual reality, that sales pitch is here. It’s Farpoint, a game that starts off like so many other PSVR games but ends with a flourish, leaving you wanting more when its five-hour campaign is over.
The early portion of the game feels like so many before it, something of a tech demo. But that’s mostly because it’s introducing the newest addition to the PlayStation virtual reality ecosystem, the Aim controller. The Aim controller should look vaguely familiar to PlayStation vets, because it bares an ever-so-slight resemblance to the PlayStation Sharpshooter, a Sony peripheral from a console generation ago.
But the Aim controller is lighter and less clunky, and in Farpoint, it’s driven by a control scheme that brings out its strengths. It actually feels fun to use, and Farpoint utilizes it in natural ways: you’ll place it over your shoulder to switch guns, and ammo switching and other things are intuitive. And it doesn’t get any better to holding the Aim up to your PSVR helmet and shutting one eye to line up a shot; that’s when you understand just how much the Aim has sucked you in.
Farpoint helps that process too, building the perfect Aim playground and not just another PSVR gallery of things to touch and blast. Batman: Arkham VR and Until Dawn: Rush of Blood both showcased PlayStation’s virtual reality spectacularly, but neither title felt truly complete, like a full game.
Farpoint manages to feel like a full game while still playing to the strengths of the hardware. There’s a small but solid library of weapons at your disposal, each feeling powerful in your hands, each detailed so that you can look down at your gun and see the reloading, see the shells falling away.
The shooting actually challenges you, and the aliens you encounter can be significant threats. They force you to strafe and move between cover, keeping your helmeted head on a swivel; the only thing they don’t do is attack from directly behind you since, well, that just wouldn’t play well with virtual reality right now.
And they grow increasingly fearsome, which is what you love about Farpoint most. What begins as a battle against bug-like aliens eventually showcases far more dangerous baddies, humanoid types who fire back weapons of their own. There’s a solid story and a mystery to unravel, and while it isn’t revealed in terrific fashion (developers are still learning the best storytelling practices or virtual reality), it’s still fun.
And all of this takes place with a beautiful alien world as backdrop, with detailed rocks and skylines to look at, and just enough variety to feel fully fleshed-out.
It all adds up to the most complete PlayStation VR title yet. If you play Farpoint, make sure to play with the Aim; don’t just play with the Move controller, because it’s not nearly as engaging.
But if you own a PSVR, make sure to play Farpoint. It just may be the game you’ve been waiting for.