When we first saw the concept art for Evasion, the VR shooter we reviewed earlier this year, we were immediately intrigued. But when we got our hands on the game and began playing it, it seemed a lot more fun than we expected—until we killed a bunch of enemies. After getting killed, it takes a few moments to respawn. During this time, the screen fades to black, and you can’t see where you are, or where you’re going—but that’s okay, because you’re dead.
In an era where the mainstream media is unable to do a full story on Oculus (despite having a sizable cash investment), let alone the Oculus Rift, I thought perhaps I could help them out. So, let’s talk about ‘Evasion’ which is a new VR game that came out on Steam.
Soon, I will be joining the ranks of other journalists who have published articles about virtual reality, and I am excited to share my thoughts on the upcoming virtual reality game “Evasion” from developer Tammeka Games. The game is a first-person shooter that puts you directly in the shoes of the sole survivor in a post-apocalyptic world. The game seamlessly transitions between an over-the-shoulder perspective and a third-person perspective, and the visual experience is top-notch. I love the fact that the game is a virtual reality game, and not the usual virtual reality game that requires a virtual reality headset.
Indie AR/VR company Archiact has released Evasion, a first-person sci-fi shooter. The game’s co-op campaign objectives are clearly aimed at capturing a Halo-like shooting experience with huge numbers of opponents, which the company has dubbed a bullet-hell genre shooter. While it’s a technically good game with a polished look and feel, the weak opponent kinds and monotonous gameplay left me with mixed feelings about progressing through the off-world colony.
Details of the Evasion Review:
Developer: Archiact Available on Steam (Vive, Rift), as well as the PlayStation Store (PSVR) Oculus Rift and HTC Vive were used to test the product. The film will be released on October 9th, 2018.
You’ve been sent as a sci-fi super soldier to a mining colony that’s been invaded by a race of robots known as the Optera, who’ve violated a ceasefire in pursuit of an extremely rare material, a metal utilized in deadly illicit weapons. We’re not here for the narrative, since as it stands, it’s a fairly standard pretext for exercising your trigger fingers—one for shooting, and the other for secondary attacks, healing, and interacting with important objects in the game.
Striker, Surgeon, Warden, and Engineer are the four classes available, each with its own set of preset characteristics such as maximum health, shield size, gun strength, and ultimate ‘Surge’ assault. There’s no in-game money or weapon improvements to look forward to, so the whole game is basically the same shooting experience.
Your single main weapon has three basic shooting modes: semi-auto regular shot, charge shot, and ultimate, all of which need collecting yellow power canisters dropped by opponents after they die. If you use your secondary heal/tractor beam weapon on severely wounded opponents, you’ll receive a guaranteed power or health pickup, which will speed up the collecting process. While healing is distributed randomly, in co-op mode you may heal your friend indefinitely at no cost to yourself, which I thought detracted from the overall co-op experience. With two players, I never felt like I was running out of anything, and a life-saving heal was only a simple request away.
While cooperative play is encouraged to ensure a balanced assault, you may play the whole game in single-player mode if you choose; the difficulty seems to scale with the number of people in your group.
The game’s visuals are flawless, providing hordes of articulated opponents and lasers at a buttery smooth frame rate even on high settings on my testing system (GTX 1080 and Core i7 – 6700K), demonstrating Archiact’s ability to build a genuinely unified VR world. While destructible areas in the game are completely unimportant to gameplay, they provide an intriguing sideshow to the vast industrial complex.
The game has been dubbed “the next generation of VR combat” and a “bullet-hell shooter” by the developers. However, there are a few reasons why such names don’t quite suit.
The genre of bullet-hell shooters is well-defined. At its core, it’s a test of a player’s ability to see patterns in a barrage of enemy bullets and effectively navigate your way through while taking the least amount of damage possible. Most bullet-hell shooters also offer you progressively cool weaponry that you must strategically utilize to avoid running out of ammunition at crucial times. There’s always a better weapon around the corner that’s dangerous to get, which not only adds to the feeling of urgency, but also the dread of failing the mission due to excessive damage. There’s a carrot and a stick, to put it simply. You despise the stick and will go to great lengths to get the carrot, making Evasion more of a ‘bullet-hell’ tasting alternative.
What follows in single player mode is an exercise in strafing back and forth while deflecting incoming barrages (with varied degrees of effectiveness) and soaking up any stray lasers launched by randomly appearing enemies. Bad people always fire where you are, not where you are heading, thus making sure you have enough lateral space to avoid the lasers when they fall on your side while prioritizing targets is an easy job.
This alters in co-op mode, since villains must consider several targets, including you and your pals, although it quickly devolves into pandemonium. You’re left with the job of sallying forward, taking the inevitable damage, and maximizing your health pickups along the way, which you can tractor-beam to your position without any added fear of losing out, without any good idea of when I was deflecting shots or absorbing them—both audio cues are deceptively similar in sound—you’re left with the job of sallying forth, taking the inevitable damage, and maximizing your health pickups along the way, which you can tractor- Whatever way you look at it, it’s just another arcade shooter with a lot of the same opponent kinds and no new weaponry to look forward to.
And by ‘bog standard,’ I mean it’s chock-full of old VR shooter clichés like floating gun reticles for easier aiming, repeated opponent kinds, the “helpful” AI voice that tells you precisely where to go and what to do, and waypoints as breadcrumbs to your next goal. Take a walk here. Examine this. For whatever reason, shoot these people till they vanish. Throughout the game, the narrative is the same. I was also anticipating the huge boss revelations that bullet-hells are known for, but I was instead led through the game by a series of B-class enemies until the very end.
However, in the latter stages, when the difficulty ramps up considerably, I made full use of my three allotted lives—so, personal gripes aside, it does offer a task that a bunch of skilled marksmen would find tough. On campaign mode, which consists of nine missions, my personal playthrough took just under five hours. A co-op survival mode is also available, which should keep your group occupied for a while after you’ve finished the narrative.
The full-body avatars produced using IKINEMA’s inverse kinematics are pretty nicely done, but they’re scaled oddly to suit a variety of heights—from four to seven feet tall. At the bottom of the scale, you’ll encounter a child-sized avatar with massive weapons, which, although amusing, breaks the immersion in co-op. More about it in the section under “Comfort.”
When it comes to weapons, they share a common ‘VR weightlessness’ that is difficult to eliminate without a specialized peripheral like the PS AIM (supported in the PSVR version). They feel more like magic wands than enormous weapons suited for a space marine super soldier since they don’t have any recoil. Because you can’t reload or drop your pistol (it’s attached to your hands), any hand presence is out of the question for Evasion.
Enemy animations are adequate, but just a single rolling exploding robot type ever provided any up-close and personal confrontations, as I was expecting for combat from the monstrous nine-foot-tall strolling bots that never appeared.
Overall, the Vive controls are less competent than the Oculus Touch analog sticks, since I found it difficult to perform tighter strafing movements. The game’s interactions are basic (point and shoot), and although Vive movement is a little sluggish at first, you’ll get accustomed to it.
Because of the wide variety of heights accessible, you may simply play sitting down by setting your avatar’s height to the highest possible level.
Evasion also has a variety of movement options, making it a highly enjoyable game. A free locomotion mode with configurable snap-turn and smooth-turning, a ‘dash’ mode that transforms your motions into a kind of immediate teleportation slide show, and a jogging mode that enables you to jog in position to move in the chosen directions will all be available. Of course, if you have a 360 tracking system, you’ll be depending on head-relative forward movement the majority of the time.
When you turn, comfort vignettes may be turned on to give a brief limitation to your field of vision, which has been proven to aid with motion sickness.
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