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scalliano

DOOM VFR - Thoughts of a VR newb

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So, I was having a few beers at a friend's house last night and finally had the opportunity to try VR for the first time. The setup was simply the PSVR headset, a base PS4 and a Dualshock 4, so despite being a VR virgin, I went all in on the movement options (it is DOOM, after all). This meant smooth movement, smooth turning and headtracking for aim. I also wear glasses full time IRL, but the headset is very comfortable and easily adjusted, so this wasn't an issue.

 

First up, PSVR's resolution is quite low. This wasn't helped by id tech 6's somewhat aggressive antialiasing which ultimately game the game something of an N64 sheen, so as I started the game up I was pretty much expecting to have to run to the bathroom at some point to empty my stomach. This didn't happen. In fact, I ended up blazing through the entire main campaign in about three hours without a single headache, bout of nausea or any motion sickness whatsoever. Now, whether this is down to my experience in games such as Quake III and Unreal Tournament I can't say, but aside from the headset getting a little heavy towards the end, I had absolutely no problems handling it. The framerate is rock-solid and, despite the low resolution, still looks arguably better than the Switch port. Arguably.

 

With the setup I was playing on, both the PC's hands are basically attached to my head, so no waving the guns around like with the Move or Aim controllers. This effectively means that my head was acting as a mouse, which I gotta be honest, is pretty damn intuitive. The control is incredibly smooth and the only two times that I died through the entire playthrough (HMP) were entirely my own doing.

 

I really like the telefragging mechanic. Grabbing a Berserk powerup and just dashing around the arena at breakneck speed gibbing everyone is so damn satisfying that I did find myself breaking into laughter at the amount of fun I was having. Despite the limitations of the tech, this was still very much DOOM in all of its glory and just as much fun, complete with Mick Gordon's epic score.

 

What reviews and anecdotes can't really prepare you for though is the sheer sense of scale you experience that even the biggest 4K flat panels can't replicate. The first time a Hell Knight came charging at me, I was like "fuck me, he's HUGE!" Needless to say, my friend was having just as much fun laughing at my reactions as I was playing the damn thing, and was actively encouraging me to keep playing. He actually said to me that I'd taken to VR like a duck to water.

 

The campaign itself is, as I said before, quite short. About three hours, tops, not counting the bonus classic maps which are the same selection of levels found in DOOM 16. It does recycle areas from the main game, but throws in a few of its own maps too. Gameplay is as you were, outside of the telefragging which flat out replaces the melee attacks. I liked the idea of not playing as Doomguy, instead stepping into the combat chassis of very recently deceased Dr. Peters, the mission being to shut down a secondary Hell portal. All in all, it kind of feels like a mission pack for the main game, and is priced around the same as one.

 

All things considered, I really enjoyed my time with DOOM VFR. Probably helped along by being in company and having a few beers along the way. Would I invest in it myself? Probably, if it wasn't the price of a whole new system. I definitely would like to check out more VR titles, now that I know I can handle the more advanced ones, but on a personal level I can't square the cost. If you already have a VR setup, this game is an absolute no-brainer. Unless you're still getting your sea legs, in which case you might want to hold off. Bu as it turns out, that's not a problem for me :P

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