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  1. Discuss all the latest and greatest Playstation VR titles. What have you been playing? What are you excited for?
  2. If you weren't already gutted to be living outside of Auckland looking at the Armageddon line up, well you will be now. Iron Man VR which is coming to PSVR next year is going to be playable at Auckland Armageddon! Blurb: PlayStation is giving you the chance to suit up as the iconic Armored Avenger using the power of PlayStation VR at this year’s Auckland Armageddon. On the PlayStation stand, you’ll get to don the PlayStation VR headset to suit up as the legendary Marvel Super Hero. Using two PlayStation Move motion controllers, you’ll get to fire up Iron Man’s Repulsor Jets and blast into the skies with an arsenal of iconic Iron Man weapons at your fingertips. In this original Iron Man adventure, Tony Stark has retired from making weapons and instead creates technology used to battle evil as Iron Man. After several years as a world-famous Super Hero, Tony is attacked by the mysterious Ghost, a hacker and anti-corporate activist who repurposes old Stark Industries weapons. In her efforts to topple his empire, Ghost attacks Stark’s corporate locations around the world, leading to ever-escalating stakes and a final showdown. Marvel’s Iron Man VR releases exclusively on PlayStation VR on 28th February 2020. Be one of the first in New Zealand to experience Marvel’s Iron Man VR on PlayStation VR this Labour weekend, 25th-28th October at Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds.
  3. Most PSVR launch owners will have bought the PSVR worlds game which came with a selection of games and experiences to test out their new toy. It wasn't fantastic value as a full game, but it was a great way to see the variety of what VR could offer, though a couple of gems lay in that collection that were well worth exploring. One of these was the rail shooter narrative heavy The London Heist. Sony heard the calls for that to be expanded with the new game based on that experience, Blood & Truth. The question left is should it have stayed a short novella, or did it warrant the full novel? Blood & Truth kicks in with you sitting at a table in a small room as you begin to be interrogated by Colin Salmon, one of those great actors that I always remember as “Hey, it’s that guy”. As with The London Heist, you get as much in these plot heavy scenes as you want to put into them. You can pick up the file in front of you and instead of putting it down fling it at your interrogator, if you are feeling it pull the fingers, or you can sit back as the scene unfolds in front of you. These stationary scenes aren’t as common as I expected, as the game chooses to put you into the action as much as possible, kicking off with a flashback to when you were in the SAS. Because the game is so plot heavy, I won’t touch on more than this except to say it’s a cliché, over the top, action movie in the best possible ways. The high energy explosions and gun play makes for a fantastic narrative experience that isn’t overly unique across the mediums, but for VR it’s a new way to experience what we already know. The first minor surprise was that they have incorporated in a lot of action scenes where you move around. This is done with the classic point to a circle and you character moves there, which is done with the field of view reduced to obviously fix that getting sick feeling that VR is struggling with. Moving between cover in a flash to shoot at enemies while you are out in the field feels satisfying. One minor annoyance I had, especially early on, was that when you move to stage of the game where you need to pick a lock or interact with something that doesn’t involve shooting it requires putting your gun away. The pistol is fine because you can see in your VR space where the holster is, but with bigger guns you need to sling them on your back and use the same button for firing to put it in place. This meant I regularly sprayed bullets into the ground behind me as I was trying to put it in place. The driving action scenes are the best part of the game by far. They serve as a fast-paced rail shooting game that is as pulp action flicky as they get but they are so damn fun. This was taken from the London Heist and expanded on, making for the most fun action I have experienced in VR since… well The London Heist. The game is made so much better thanks to decent voice and motion capture acting. A silly action flick can have some weight to its characters, and the cast here does the job well. It helps heighten this linear game from an OK VR experience to something special. Blood & Truth isn’t a game I would say buy a VR unit for, but if you have a PSVR unit then I can’t recommend it enough. It starts to flex what can be done within the limitations of the platform to tell a truly entertaining tale, and at around eight hours it feels like the perfect length for a single player VR game.
  4. No Man's Sky is coming to PSVR and SteamVR thanks to a free update. Since the game finally met the huge expectations it set for itself pre-launch, this is their first major release to take the game further than expected. Blurb: As creators of No Man’s Sky, we are in love with everything sci-fi. Virtual reality feels like a science fiction become real, and has always seemed like a perfect fit for this futuristic game of ours. It’s completely unique to land on a world that no-one has ever seen before and to really feel as if you’re there. The team has worked so hard to make this a true VR experience rather than a port. Grab the joystick and thruster to fly your starship over an unexplored alien planet as you peer out of the cockpit at the view below. Reach into your backpack to grab your multitool, touch it to switch to terrain manipulation, and carve out intricate shapes with unprecedented control. Play in multiplayer and casually wave to your friends non-VR friends or fist bump your PS VR peers. No Man’s Sky VR is not a separate mode, but the entire game brought to life in virtual reality. Anything possible in No Man’s Sky, NEXT or any other update is ready and waiting as an immersive and enriched VR experience. No Man’s Sky VR, like all the parts of Beyond, will be free to existing players. However, we’re excited to announce that the release of Beyond will see an exclusive retail release of the game on PS4. This physical edition will come with the base game, VR support, and every update so far, including Beyond. By bringing full VR support, for free, to the millions of players already playing the game, No Man’s Sky will become perhaps the most-owned VR title when released. This amazes us, and is utterly humbling. The team is working so hard to live up to the expectations that creates. We are excited for that moment when millions of players will suddenly update and be able to set foot on their home planets and explore the intricate bases they have built in virtual reality for the first time. As well as Online and VR, No Man’s Sky Beyond contains a third major feature set that we’ll be talking more about when we can.
  5. During my childhood and adolescent years, I would often find myself exploring historical sites such as Roman ruins, ancient castles, and stately homes. Not only did it give my exasperated parents something to keep me busy during the holidays, but it also fueled my love for history. My strongest memories are the fantastical stories told by local people (often gardeners and housekeepers) that had been polished and refined with the generations. Stories about faeries leading fine people astray, devils waylaying travelers and princes locked away in towers fuelled my imagination. I was skeptical as a child but the environment in which the tales were recounted would ground the tale in real life and make it harder for me to push aside the ghost stories so lavishly told. Déraciné (from the makers of Bloodborne and Darksouls) has magically captured these stories and lovingly crafted a beautiful little tale that is perfectly told in VR. In Déraciné you take the role of a brand-new Faerie born on the grounds of an English boarding school. No one can see you as you pass hauntingly through the corridors of the school. You can move in amongst the inhabitants as they are frozen in time interacting with them in order to help them. You are rewarded with cutscenes showing how your tinkering has either aided or worsened the child’s plight. As you unlock these brief cut scenes you discover more about the mysterious past of the school as you unlock and open new areas you heartily want to explore as Déraciné is clearly the most beautiful game on PSVR. The School, chapel and surrounding grounds are so well realized in VR, with nooks and crannies that beg to be explored. The game maintains a dark and eerie sense as it progresses that constantly made me feel on edge for the children. The tale is tightly woven and even hours after putting the game down I would realize another branch of the intricate plot. With Déraciné, the team from Software utilized the move controllers for locomotion. A combination of teleportation to predestinated spots, click turning and gesturing with the headset control your movement around this world. Turn and look and you will see blue hotspots where you can teleport to. Circles that glow and have a greater aura surround points of interest where you get to investigate up-close and interact with characters and the world. Though I am a strong supporter of smooth motion in VR (I’m one of the fortunate few who doesn’t get motion sickness) this system works well in this setting. By highlighting certain areas, it streamlines the experience allowing the story to flow rather than getting stuck for hours when you either can’t find object A or you don’t make the connection. The one downside is it can feel slightly jolty having to haul yourself from one side of the school to the other. This does occur often as you suddenly find the item you’ve been searching for but overall, I felt it didn’t detract from the game. This is a point-and-click adventure game at its core, find item A that works with B and outcome C will occur. It’s a simple mechanic that is well worn in the world of adventure gaming. If you are used to the genre you will breeze through the gameplay and be able to focus in on the story as this game has decided to avoid the mind-taxing puzzles that you would find in games like Grim Fandango in favor of more beginner friendly ones. Though I would have liked more of a challenge, the intricate story and astonishing environment kept me firmly on track for the six-hour run time and brought me back for a second run. What I love is how VR and the proven team at From Software have taken this classical (some may say old) style of gameplay and elevated it to something new with the ability to be fully immersed into this fantastical world. 9/10 Coffee received a copy of Déraciné for review.
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