The Three Major VR Headsets Are All Available – What’s The Current State Of The Platform?

about X hours ago from
The Three Major VR Headsets Are All Available – What’s The Current State Of The Platform?

Today marks the release of PlayStation VR, the final major release for this new generation of virtual reality. Kyle Hilliard and I have been playing games on that device in the past few weeks, as well as on the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Samsung Gear VR. There are a lot of competing formats, which makes the idea of spending hundreds of dollars to get into VR a little scary. With that in mind, we thought it would be useful to share our experiences and opinions on the current state of virtual reality, now that the major options are now on shelves.

Jeff: Kyle, do you know what today is?

Kyle: Sammy Hagar and Sacha Baron Cohen's birthday?

Here's All Of Our PlayStation VR Coverage In One Convenient Place

about X hours ago from
Here's All Of Our PlayStation VR Coverage In One Convenient Place

PlayStation VR is out today, and it has the potential to bring virtual reality to a wider audience than its competition thanks to a comparatively cheaper price and the PlayStation 4's install base. We've been spending a lot of time with Sony's headset and we've gathered up all of our coverage into one convenient place.

The PlayStation VR ReviewThe biggest question mark for Sony's bold virtual reality vision is the hardware itself. You can find our review here where we gave a grade of C-. You can find our concluding thoughts from the review below.

PlayStation VR falls under the same argument that has plagued the ongoing war between PC gaming and console gaming for years. By the technical standards, Oculus and Vive on PC are stronger showcases for VR. However, PlayStation VR is cheaper, offers a legitimate virtual-reality experience that is more comfortable, and is easier to use than its competitors. For the console-exclusive gamers looking to enter the realm of virtual reality, PlayStation VR gets the job done. You can enter virtual worlds, get a sense that you’re really there, and have new interactive gaming experiences unlike anything you’ve seen before on consoles. You just might have a little bit of a headache as a result. - Kyle Hilliard

Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (October 13, 2016)

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Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (October 13, 2016)

Another week, another round of blogs. One game that seemed to shine this week is Virginia, which is pretty cool to see.

Community Blogs For October 6 – October 12:

I'm Too Dumb to Understand Virginia Refle's headline is provocative, but he's being honest: Virginia is pretty nutso. If I've learned anything from reading this week's blogs, it's that this game is kind of...confusing, mysterious, and just a real head scratcher. This blog has more words than Virginia has game time, but it's a good piece to help you ponder just what happened.

Test Chamber – Rez Infinite For PlayStation VR

about X hours ago from
Test Chamber – Rez Infinite For PlayStation VR

Rez released 15 years ago on PlayStation 2, but despite its age, it feels like a game that was meant for virtual reality.

Rez Infinite has a new level, but is otherwise a nearly identical experience to its original release. The main difference is now you aim by looking, as opposed to moving a cursor with a control stick. VR ramps up the game's intensity, and is easier to play as a result of its updated controls.

One disadvantage of the new VR experience is its frantic speed makes it a difficult game to watch. The cursor moves much faster than it has in the past so fair warning to those hitting play – the action may be a little difficult to track.

Test Chamber – RIGS Mechanized Combat League For PlayStation VR

about X hours ago from
Test Chamber – RIGS Mechanized Combat League For PlayStation VR

RIGS Mechanized COmbat League is one of PlayStation VR's more interesting competitive multiplayer experiences.

It's a game with mechs (or rigs in this case) and guns, but it has more in common with Rocket League than something like Armored Core. In it, you compete three versus three in arenas aiming to score points in a fictional sports league that recognizes the importance and value of giant bipedal robots.

We haven't given the game its proper review yet, but we've already spent a lot of time with it. You can find some of our early impressions here.

Seven Creative Approaches To Difficulty That Make Games Better

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Normal difficulty steals all the glory. It makes sense that most developers would tune their base difficulty for the average player, because that’s the mode that the majority of their audience is going to see. The Hard and I Hate Myself difficulties just don’t get the same amount of attention from players (which is explored further in Ben Reeves' article on difficulty). Few games go beyond the call of turning the enemies into bullet sponges and halving the player’s health bar. But the most creative games rise above that standard and develop harder modes that benefit the package as a whole. Here are a few games that nailed their alternative difficulties and were better for it.

Test Chamber – Exploring Here They Lie's Dark VR Underground

about X hours ago from
Test Chamber – Exploring Here They Lie's Dark VR Underground

With the PlayStation VR launching this week, buyers are going to be looking for what games they should pick up with their fancy new headset (along with motion sickness medicine). As I wrote in my review, Here They Lie should definitely be on your radar if you're planning to pick one up.

A lot of Here They Lie's appeal comes from its visuals, so Elise Favis and I decided to show off why this game's worlds speak volumes at a glance, whether or not the game has jump scares, and what it's like to get freaked out VR. You can watch Elise play as I guide her toward the blood, the lights, and the monsters of Here They Lie below.

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RPG Grind Time – RPGs Shouldn’t Feel Like Work

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Life can be a grind. You get up, go to work, take care of your household, and find some moments for yourself in between. When we play games, we often play them as a reprieve from the essential responsibilities of our everyday lives. Games are inherently fun, and they should engage us in some way. Otherwise, they’re no better than just another duty in our lives. 

I’ve always been drawn to RPGs because I feel like they offer this intimate experience that you just can’t get with many genres. They combine storytelling and epic battles, while offering a layer of strategy for me to ponder and obsess over, whether it’s in how to build my character or what my next move should be in battle. However, one place I see the RPG genre struggle with is its ability to engage players for the long haul. This is no secret as I just discussed in my last column how I felt social systems were helping dissipate some of this because they give players a way to feel more connected with the experience. While it was important to celebrate that achievement, it also got me thinking about where RPGs often get it wrong – and it’s when they feel like work. Too many times I hear people say they couldn’t stomach grinding anymore, forcing them to give up on the game altogether. 

Don't Forget To Bring A Buddy – A Look At South Park: Fractured But Whole’s Allies

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Don't Forget To Bring A Buddy – A Look At South Park: Fractured But Whole’s Allies

Buddies are an important part of South Park: The Fractured But Whole. They are your combat party, they move the story along as you do your silent protagonist thing, and they help you explore the environment. Buddies were also an important part of The Stick of Truth, but Ubisoft San Francisco is working to expand their roles for the sequel in a number of ways. “We wanted to get more of the buddies voices and their powers in there,“ says senior producer Jason Schroeder.

The simplest way that the buddy's role is being increased is in sheer numbers. This time around, there are 12 buddies, as opposed to Stick’s six. We don’t know the full list of buddies yet, but we do know Scott Malkinson as Captain Diabetes, Kyle as The Human Kite, Stan as Toolshed, Cartman as The Coon, Craig as Super Craig, Tweak as Wonder Tweak, and Jimmy as Fast Pass will all be buddies in the game. We’ve seen other heroes in assorted cutscenes, but these are ones we know will appear in your party, help you fight and navigate the environment, and be defined as buddies.

Our Early Rigs Mechanized Combat League Impressions For PlayStation VR

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Rigs has been a center point of PlayStation VR’s lineup of games and its marketing for a few reasons: It’s a PlayStation VR exclusive, it comes from the creators of Killzone (and the upcoming Horizon Zero Dawn), and it represents an online multiplayer experience that would feel different outside of virtual reality. It has the potential to be the new platform’s premiere multiplayer game, and even though we haven’t had a chance to play the game online (which we feel is necessary to our review), we wanted to share some impressions.

Rigs is a member of the growing sub-genre of sports video games that have an unreal slant. It stands alongside games like Rocket League and Videoball by feeling more like a competitive sport than a shooter, despite the presence of exploding mobile mechs (called rigs, here) with guns. You play as a rookie pilot in the Rigs sports league, which pits an assortment of bipedal rigs with a range of differing abilities against one another through a number of different game types.