It’s been just over a year since PSVR and Doom launched around the world. One ended up being a monstrous hit with fans and the other one is still trying to find that killer app. As the gaming gods will have it the demonic shooter is VR bound, but unfortunately finds itself in a state of stagger that leaves it vulnerable to a glory kill.
An out of body experience
Everything about the 2016 game was as perfect as a Doom game could have been. The fast-paced action, secrets, sublime soundtrack and the demonic world begged you to be the biggest badass in the world of gaming. Doom VFR takes place shortly after what you would have experienced in that game. In this particular case, you take on the role of the last human survivor who ultimately dies. His consciousness is transferred to an artificial brain matrix and you’re tasked with restoring operational stability and bringing an end to the demons. It’s perfectly set up to match your world of VR and so it starts.
Each Doomguy rewards you with a classic Doom map.
The VR world of Doom has a great sense of immersion. You feel like you’re right there in the Mars base or in the pits of hell fighting off everything that Satan can throw at you. As with the original game you have to deal with exceptionally fast movements by dodging and diving out of harm’s way. Now, a quick disclaimer. To date, I’m yet to experience motion sickness in a VR game. I’m very fortunate. If you suffer from motion sickness when playing VR games this is not going to be a fun experience for you, even with the comfort setting turned on that has the camera panning at twenty degrees at a time when changing your direction. It’s going to be rough for those that battle with motion sickness as the game is still exceptionally fast-paced.
There are three methods to play the game by using the Aim controller, Move controllers or the standard Dualshock 4. Unfortunately, I do not have access to the Aim controller so can’t comment on it, but I spent good time using both other setups. Most players will play the game using the Dualshock 4 controller and you’ll be glad to know that out of the two options it’s by far the best way to destroy demons. It controls as any FPS game would in a standard game, except that you’re using the VR headset to aim your reticle. Press and hold R1 to bring up a wheel with your weapons, pull R2 to shoot and move in any direction using the left analogue stick. To help avoid motion sickness the jump button has been replaced with a teleport function.
There is no other way to say it, but using the Move controllers to play Doom VFR is effing s**t.
Pull and hold the L2 trigger it will display an angular line to where you will be teleporting to. When green you’ll teleport, but should it turn red you can’t teleport to that area. It’s simple and is also used to activate your impressive glory kills. When activated time slows down slightly to give you the required seconds to aim using your headset. Before you know it you’re teleporting all over the show with Imps, Revenants, Pinkies, Mancubii, Summoners and other deadly demons chasing you down in their hoards. Then there is the Move controller option.
There is no other way to say it, but using the Move controllers to play Doom VFR is effing s**t. There is only one element that excels and that’s the fact that you have complete freedom where you aim your left and right hands. It gives you the ability to go all Robocop and shoot enemies charging your way from multiple directions. Your hand on the right controls your main gun with the left hand taking care of secondary weapons such as throwing grenades, though it’s a little obscene to literally use a ‘throw the hand grenade motion’ in middle of a frantic battle. The big problem it stares in the face is the lack and freedom of movement. Thanks to there being no analogue stick on the Move controllers you can’t turn your body at all. There are only two ways to move – either teleport or press the face buttons on the left Move controller to dash forward, backward, left or right in small increments. It’s absolutely abysmal using that setup. Whatever you do, stick to the standard Dualshock 4 controller. Unfortunately, while dealing with this mess, you’ve left yourself open for another glory kill.
Like a rat out of hell
Doom VFR is very short. You’ll complete this game in 4-5 hours at most, including finding any secrets the game has to offer. As with the original game, there are Doomguy figurines to discover with two appearing on each level. Discovering each one is by no means difficult either, but at least there is a good reason to find them all. Each Doomguy rewards you with a classic Doom map (you know, the classic 90s game) that allows you to replay some of those levels and discover their secrets in VR. Thanks to the game being so short you’ll find that some weapons, like the beloved chainsaw, are missing from this experience. Also, upgrading your weapons or abilities such as chassis integrity and time dilation is still there, it’s just that it’s a simple upgrade without you having much control over it.
Doom VFR is fun when using the standard Dualshock 4 controller, but it’s short-lived. Include the fact that you will be replaying in many of the settings you already experienced in the original game and you’re left with something that feels and plays like a tech demo(n).