Virtual Reality Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Virtual Reality RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Sniper Elite VR Sets Sights on July Release Date Thu, 03 Jun 2021 21:24:44 -0400 Jonathan Moore

While many hoped Sniper Elite VR would release sometime in 2020, the year came and went without a launch or even a release date. But, six months into 2021, that's all (finally) changed. Sniper Elite VR has dialed in a July 8 launch date, releasing for Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, Steam VR, and PSVR. 

The launch date announcement came alongside a release date trailer, which gives fans a great look at the game in action. The final gameplay trailer features some locales and weapons not seen in previous gameplay trailers. It also gives greater insight into the game's story and protagonist, who isn't Karl Fairburne but instead an Italian partisan.

The series' staple X-ray kill cam makes a return, as does its tactical stealth gameplay. Though sniping is the name of the game, players have a number of weapons and throwables at their disposal to make quick work of the enemy if things go terribly wrong. 

We played Sniper Elite VR at PAX East 2020 on PSVR and enjoyed our time with it. Rebellion said then that they were working very hard to strike the right balance between classic Sniper Elite mechanics and how those mechanics work in virtual reality.  

Rebellion Assistant Producer Thomas Waterhouse-Biggins said then that "we [Rebellion] want to maintain what we did in Sniper 4, but we have to make changes. There's a balance there [between VR and the mainline games], but we still got the full impact. When you're watching the bullet go into the person, you can actually turn your head, and it turns the camera."

It won't be long now to see if the team was able to hit the mark. 

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall Gameplay Revealed Thu, 03 Jun 2021 16:56:36 -0400 David Carcasole

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall, the VR Warhammer game currently in development at Carbon Studios, has received its first gameplay trailer. Revealed at the recent Warhammer Skulls event, which is where the upcoming 2D Warhammer game was also announced, the gameplay trailer gives Warhammer fans a good look at what they can expect from the game before it arrives later this summer. 

Along with the reveal, Carbon Studios also announced a closed beta that fans can sign up for now if they're keen. Signups for the closed beta are live now until June 10, 2021. Registrants must also be a member of the Carbon Studios' Discord channel to sign up. 

Those who want to take part in the closed beta will need to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before being able to play, according to the closed beta signup channel on Discord. 

This isn't the first footage of Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall, but it's the best look at the game to date. 

"We're very excited to show off a small slice of what we've been working on for over a year," said Aleksander Caban, Carbon Studios Co-Founder. "We know you are eager for a first look at gameplay footage from Tempestfall, and we look forward to seeing your reactions."

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall is set to release later this summer for Oculus Quest and Steam VR. 

No Man's Sky VR Now Supports NVIDIA's DLSS Thu, 20 May 2021 11:20:11 -0400 David Carcasole

NVIDIA announced a total of nine games that will now support its DLSS technology, with No Man's Sky being one of the biggest new additions, as it is now the first VR game to support DLSS.

NVIDIA also announced eight other games that will now support DLSS, including AMID EVIL, Aron's Adventure, Everspace 2, Redout: Space Assault, Scavengers, and Wrench

The trailer for NMS DLSS support can be seen below. 

These nine new additions now come on top of five other games being given DLSS support, and the launch of Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition for the PC. There still is the caveat that NVIDIA's DLSS technology is only supported on NVIDIA GPUs, with no word that AMD support will arrive anytime soon. 

The addition of No Man's Sky VR is especially notable because it is the first virtual reality game to support DLSS. It's exciting seeing further integration of this technology because it will only mean better framerates for games, which usually equals a better gameplay experience. Let's just hope those with AMD graphics cards will one day be able to enjoy the same benefits those with NVIDIA cards do. 

New Report Outlines PS5 VR Eye Tracking, Haptics Tue, 11 May 2021 13:52:28 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Sony has remained quiet on the PS5 VR headset since first announcing basic details earlier in 2021, but a new exclusive report from Upload VR sheds some light on what to expect. The report, compiled from multiple Sony partners familiar who said Sony shared some of the PS5 VR set's specs, including resolution and eye-tracking.

The report says PS5 VR resolution will be 4000x2040 total, which means 2000x2040 per eye, and a dial adjustment that lets you move the lenses directly in front of your eyes if desired.

Peripheral image quality would be reduced through foveated rendering, a practice that uses eye-tracking to make rendering easier by focusing on what's in your immediate vision.

Finally, the report mentions the PS5 VR will use a special kind of haptic feedback. We knew the controllers would have haptics, but Upload VR reports the headset will have haptic feedback features as well.

Don't expect any more official news for a while, though. Sony CEO Jim Ryan said PS5 VR won't be happening until at least 2022 or later. The Upload VR story has many more details, so head over there and check it out

[Source: Upload VR]

Sony Reveals PlayStation 5 Next Generation VR Controllers Thu, 18 Mar 2021 14:02:05 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Sony unveiled the PlayStation 5 VR controllers today. Featuring an "iconic" design, the new controllers are said to incorporate better motion tracking, DualSense features such as haptic feedback, and more.

Hideaki Nishino, Sony's Senior Vice President for Platform Planning and Management, said the PS5 VR controllers underwent extensive ergonomic testing with various hand sizes. The result is an orb-shaped controller said to fit naturally in any hand and make VR gaming more comfortable.

The left control has a "Triangle" and "Square" button, plus an analog stick, "L1" and "L2" buttons, a "Grip" button, and a "Create" button. The right control has the "X" button ("cross," if you're inclined to chaos), "Square," another analog stick, and "Grip" button, "R1" and "R2," and the "Options" button.

Both the "L2" and "R2" buttons have adaptive trigger functions similar to the DualSense. Nishino didn't say if the PS5 VR's adaptive triggers include customization options. Both controllers also feature haptic feedback, and the new touch detection feature makes gesture controls easier to track without having to add extra finger pressure.

The controllers connect to the PS5 VR headset, something we've yet to see, through a ring at the bottom of each controller.

Sony's next-gen VR set will release sometime in 2022, and even though CEO Jim Ryan didn't say they're calling it PS VR 2, we bet it's called PS VR 2.

[Source: PlayStation Blog]

System Message Prompts Xbox VR Speculation Tue, 16 Mar 2021 15:38:46 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Microsoft might have an Xbox VR set or VR support in the works if a new system message is anything to go by.

The info comes from IGN Italy's Giovanni Marrelli (via VGC), who received a message on their Xbox saying "the VR headset needs to be updated" after attaching the new Xbox Wireless Headset. 

Xbox currently has no VR support, and Marrelli thought this could be some kind of error. However, they followed the update prompt and received another message and a button prompt making the possibility of Xbox VR support clearer: "An update for the VR headset is available" and "Update VR headset."

Whether a proper Xbox VR set is on the way remains to be seen, though Microsoft has made no comment clarifying the messages since the story went live on IGN Italy, and was later picked up by other outlets.

Former Kotaku Editor-in-Chief, Stephen Totilo, tweeted that Xbox public relations representatives called the message "inaccurate."

However, as of this writing, there has been no official word from Microsoft or the Xbox team. 

It wouldn't be too surprising if Microsoft plans on VR support of some kind. Sony recently announced a new PlayStation VR set compatible with the PlayStation 5, featuring a streamlined design and next-gen improvements. Stay tuned for more in the coming days.

[Sources: IGN Italy, VGC]

A New PlayStation VR Device for PS5 is in Development Tue, 23 Feb 2021 14:03:56 -0500 Josh Broadwell

A new PlayStation VR set is in the works designed with the PlayStation 5 in mind. Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan revealed the PS5 VR device's existence during an exclusive interview with GQ, which was followed by a new PlayStation Blog post from platform planning Senior VP Hideaki Nishino with some additional details.

The device is currently unnamed and still in development, and Nishino said the new PS VR device's release date will be sometime after 2021. However, Ryan told GQ that dev kits will soon be going out. 

"We’re very excited by it and we think that people who are going to make VR games for our new VR system are going to be very excited too," Ryan said, though he declined to comment on what the new virtual reality device's launch line-up might look like.

In addition to resolution and improved field of view tracking, PS VR for PlayStation 5 includes a number of other enhancements. One is streamlining how players connect the device to their PlayStation 5. Gone are the numerous cords and attachments in favor of just one cord.

The new PS VR controller will have "a focus on great ergonomics" and some of the DualSense's special features, though Nishino didn't mention which ones would be included. And for the record, Sony isn't calling it PSVR 2 ... just yet, anyway. 

[Source: GQ, PlayStation Blog]

Oculus Quest 2 Review: Big Improvements, One Big Drawback Wed, 14 Oct 2020 16:40:40 -0400 Gabriel Moss

I've been a VR fan for three years.

After I got my first fix, way back in 2017 with the Oculus Rift's First Contact app, I knew I was in love. VR quickly grew into a well-worn escape route when everything else in the world was too much to bear.

I followed the Oculus Quest launch and purchased one when it was first released. Then I owned a Rift S, which was better than the original Oculus Rift in resolution and comfort but was still chained to the computer.

And now here I am, sitting in my writing chair with a brand new Oculus Quest 2 in my lap. Feature-wise, Facebook's second crack at fully-wireless VR is, without a doubt, the best virtual reality product I've ever owned.

However — and this is a big "however" — I can't recommend the Quest 2's sleek new design, vastly improved resolution, and souped-up framerates without also addressing Facebook's troubling new policy in the wake of its launch.

Read on to find out what the Oculus Quest 2 improves over its forebears, and why that pesky attachment to Facebook can potentially be a dealbreaker.

Oculus Quest 2 Review: Big Improvements, One Big Drawback

Initial Thoughts

Between the smaller and cozier layout, almost-4K per-eye visuals, adjustable refresh rate, improved controller and hand tracking, and an immensely more powerful XR2 processor, there's quite a lot to enjoy about the new Oculus Quest 2.

Those who don't already own an Oculus Quest are in for a treat. The Quest 2's base 64GB model, priced at $299, is the most affordable wireless 6DoF VR headset — a wireless, computer-less VR headset that includes hand-tracked controllers and head tracking — that we've ever seen.

Likewise, with the Quest 2 boasting "twice as much" processing power and visual capabilities as the original Oculus Quest, it's fair to assume that game sizes will ultimately increase. This is why it's great that Facebook has offered a 256GB model of the Oculus Quest 2 for $399, the same price that owners of the original 64GB Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift CV1, and Oculus Rift S each paid for their devices.

And much like the original Quest, the Quest 2 is also completely wireless by default. It can still hook into an optional gaming PC via USB-C, from which you can still play any PC VR games you own either on Steam or in the Oculus Rift library.

Of course, the necessary cable to do so comfortably — the Oculus Link cable sold directly by Facebook — is an added purchase, which is a bummer. However, as of this review, you still have the freedom to tap into your Wi-Fi connection and wirelessly link into a gaming PC using Virtual Desktop.

In fact, wireless is the most enjoyable way to play those great PC VR games like Half-Life: Alyx and Asgard's Wrath.


Wi-Fi 6 is included in the package this time around, making downloads and streaming much smoother and more accessible. I haven't tried wirelessly streaming games from Virtual Desktop on the Oculus Quest 2, but in theory, its inclusion of Wi-Fi 6 on a 60GHz antenna should make a dent.

This poses a much better solution for wireless PC VR gaming and media consumption than the Wi-Fi 5 band that was built into the first-generation Oculus Quest.


The Quest 2's LCD display resolution of 1832 x 1920 per eye makes games, video content, and text appear crisper and more lifelike than they ever have before in an Oculus headset.

Facebook claims that the Quest 2 boasts a 50% increase in pixel density over the previous Oculus Quest, which has a resolution of 1440 x 1600 per eye, and it certainly shows.

There's a clear improvement in quality and sharpness that makes sitting down in front of a virtual movie theatre in BigScreen or exploring the solar system in Titans of Space that much more engrossing and believable. Though god rays remain an issue, the screen door effect is finally gone.

It's actually surprising just how far we've come from the original 1080 x 1200 resolution of the Oculus Rift CV1 and HTC Vive. Re-experiencing the content you enjoyed on those headsets would feel like a true "next-gen" experience on the Quest 2.

Of course, the sweetest part of the deal is the inclusion of a new "experimental" 90hz mode. For context, 90hz was once considered the "gold standard" of VR refresh rates. In comparison, the original Oculus Rift CV1 ran at a steady 90hz, but the Oculus Quest only ran at 72hz or 60hz, depending on the mode.

This mixes the best of both worlds, erasing the concessions that needed to be made to get the first-generation Quest to work. In doing so, Quest 2 makes good on the original Quest's promise of offering "PC-quality VR."

Controllers and Tracking

I love to work out in VR, using games like FitXR and The Thrill of the Fight to get my fitness boxing and shadowboxing in. However, my Oculus Quest controllers would lose their position if I swung too fast or too hard.

One of the subtle improvements over the first-gen Quest is how much better the Quest 2's Touch controllers seem to be at accurately pinpointing my hand placement during high-intensity maneuvers. No longer do I have to watch my fist fly out 20 meters in front of me when I'm going for the knockout punch.

I assume that this is due to improvements in the Quest 2's camera and tracking system in general. Whereas the original Quest offered an experimental hand-tracking mode that was temperamental and difficult to control, the same mode in Quest 2 seems to pick up and recognize the precise movements of my hands and fingers for longer.


For those who really struggled with discomfort when wearing the original Oculus Quest for too long, Quest 2 solves that problem. Sort of. The smaller dome indeed makes it easier for the headset to fit comfortably on your face without being too front-heavy, but there are some tradeoffs here.

Instead of an IPD (interpupillary distance) slider, there is now an adjustable bracket that only comes in three settings. Unless your IPD is 58, 63, or 68, you'll find yourself faffing about with these three settings until you figure out which one looks good enough. However, you can't adjust the bracket while your face is inside of the headset, so the whole process is just annoying.

The adjustable head strap that comes out of the box is finicky and weird, and it certainly doesn't feel like a good replacement for the strap design used in the Oculus Quest and Rift CV1.

That said, I reviewed the Quest 2 with the Elite Strap, which mimics the best feature of the halo-ring strap design of the Rift S: there's a dial that tightens and loosens the Quest 2 fit around your head, and it makes the process of putting the thing on so much less tedious than it would be otherwise.


As usual, there are built-in audio speakers that sit inside of the strap mounts. If you've worn a portable Oculus headset or a Rift S, you already know that these in-strap speakers pale in comparison to the quality of proper headphones.

But I noticed that the sound was slightly more robust in the Oculus Quest 2 straps, with absolutely no crackling at the highest volume level, something that was a prominent issue on my original Oculus Quest.

Battery Life

The battery life is effectively the same in the Oculus Quest 2 as it was in the first-generation Quest. Assuming you treat the battery well, it should give you about two hours of use per charge, even when you play games that push the Quest 2's bells and whistles.

The Facebook Dilemma

Finally, the major drawback of the Quest 2: Facebook's direct involvement, which has become more and more anti-competitive and intrusive. Now that Oculus accounts and Facebook accounts are effectively the same thing, Facebook requires new Oculus users to turn over their Facebook account information or get the boot.

This may seem like no big deal, but it's already led to users being inexplicably banned from their Oculus headsets and content libraries. Since Oculus is all digital, your content library is entirely in the hands of Facebook, who has the right to discontinue your access to your Oculus Quest 2 and everything you own inside of it.

That also applies to users who delete their associated Facebook account or get banned somehow. A suspension on the social media site could also imply loss of access to your Oculus Quest 2. Because of how stringent Facebook has become with its user agreement, it's unlikely that using a "burner" account will be a winning strategy down the line.

The Good News

Being in Facebook's system doesn't mean you're stuck with games and apps exclusively from the Oculus catalog. Many Oculus Quest owners have used a method called "Sideloading" to gain access to unofficial games and Virtual Desktop.

So far, any fear of Facebook squashing this method has been unfounded. Once you're plugged into your Facebook account, you're still given the same amount of agency to do the same things you could do before — just as long as you aren't caught breaking Facebook's terms of service.

Oculus Quest 2 Review—The Bottom Line

  • Completely wireless VR
  • Most affordable VR on the market
  • Wildly improved visuals and performance from its predecessor
  • More comfortable than its predecessor
  • Still not as comfortable as I'd like
  • New dependency on Facebook accounts worrying

As a longtime fan of Oculus headsets, I'm thoroughly enjoying my time in the Quest 2. It's clear that the Oculus Quest 2 is the highest-quality piece of VR hardware that Facebook has produced thus far.

Unfortunately, if you're opposed to Facebook's practices, it may be hard — if not impossible, Facebook account status pending — to appreciate the Oculus Quest 2 at all.

[Note: Facebook provided the Oculus Quest 2 unit used for this review.]

Onward Review: Sharpshooting Goes Portable Fri, 31 Jul 2020 18:56:19 -0400 Henry Stockdale

Virtual reality is home to some excellent shooters and if you’re an FPS fan, chances are that you’ve already heard of Onward. Initially developed by a one-man team, this tactical military-sim game from Downpour Interactive first launched in early access on Steam almost four years ago. We’re still waiting on a full PC release but as development continues, we now see it making the jump to Oculus Quest.

With it, Downpour has released a technically impressive port, though this version makes a few compromises.

If you’re after a more casual or arcade-like shooter, I’ll say now that Onward is not the game for you. This is an experience striving for realism; coupled with limited ammo supplies, there are no convenient crosshairs or mini-maps.

You’ll play as one of two factions, the militaristic MARSOC, which feels NATO-inspired, and an insurgent group called Volk. Each has its own armory of weapons, and success comes down to coordination with your teammates.

In terms of gameplay, not much has changed between the PC version of Onward and the Oculus Quest version. However, one major advantage of moving from PC to Quest is that movement is a lot less restricted and weapon handling is more realistic; you're no longer tethered by the wires of the Rift, Vive, or Index.

Downpour has also made a few map tweaks to assist online crossplay with PC players, but for the most part, all maps, game modes, and weapons are here.

So what’s the trade-off in this version? Well, Onward has taken a massive visual hit in order for Downpour to get it running on Quest. It looks rough. Distant objects are difficult to distinguish and the blocky design for the Quest detracts from environmental realism. It does the job, but if you’ve got a PC headset available too, you should weigh up whether you value portability or presentation.

Once you’ve loaded the game, though, the tutorial provides a great explanation for the game's weapons and other tools before placing you into a quick AI match in the Afghanistan level. You can choose from four roles here, such as Rifleman, Specialist, Support, and Marksman. Each role has its own weapon loadouts and different levels of ammunition, all accounting for damage, rate of fire, and recoil.

If you’re easily startled in VR, this tutorial is a good test of whether you’ll enjoy Onward on Quest. 

When traveling alone through enemy territory on PC, anxiety soon sets in. It’s quiet up close, but you can hear gunshots in the distance, with the game building suspense with good sound design.

When an enemy shoots you, tunnel vision kicks in and does little to help ease the tension that's been building. That doesn’t get better in the main game and often, I found myself hesitant to leave cover, getting pinned while trying to get my bearings. The intensity of the experience is completely intact on Quest, backed up by a smooth framerate.

While there’s no mini-map or HUD available, Onward provides you with a tablet, which you grab from over your shoulder; it essentially acts as your area map. You can’t hold this while shooting, so it’s advised you don't become too reliant on it.

Communication is automatic when teammates are close but to speak from a distance, you must activate the Walkie Talkie on your shoulder, as the inventory system involves grabbing items across your body. Realistic? Yes, but it feels a little too tightly packed together.

For players after PvP modes, you’ve got three options in Onward, and this is where the real fun begins. Uplink mode tasks Volk with eliminating MARSOC’s entire team, trying to stop them from sending a code via the Uplink device, awarding points depending on who succeeds in their mission.

Assault is similar but sees you trying to hold an area during your own uplink. VIP mode sees one player designated as a VIP on MARSOC’s team and Volk has to eliminate them.

Evac mode involves fighting countless enemy waves, defending yourself to reach an extraction helicopter, and Hunt mode charges you with clearing the map from enemy bots. There are also solo modes, like the shooting range, to keep you busy, which are also available co-operatively; in these, you'll fight a sometimes tricky set of AI enemies. However, Solo is rather dull alone, but Onward is meant for multiplayer and co-op play really makes it here, building on that immersion with squadmates.

Onward Review — The Bottom Line

  • Strong technical performance for a Quest game
  • Wireless gameplay works well
  • Main features from PC release are all intact
  • Graphics look like mud
  • Still an early access title after four years

There are a couple of questions you should ask yourself before picking Onward up on Quest. Can you accept the visual compromise between Quest and PC? Are you prepared for a more realistic shooter without the usual assists found in other shooters? Do you have enough physical space to not run into things mid-game?

If the answer to all of that is yes, then Onward comes recommended. While the graphics are an unfortunate casualty in here, Downpour Interactive have done some otherwise excellent work ensuring the Quest version runs smoothly, all while maintaining the same intense gameplay found on PC. 

Onward won’t be for everyone but for fans of tactical shooters, it scratches the itch.

[Note: A copy of Onward on Oculus Quest was provided by Downpour Interactive for the purpose of this review.]

Best Indie Games to Buy During the 2020 Steam Summer Sale Sun, 28 Jun 2020 15:47:46 -0400 Henry Stockdale


Crypt of the Necrodancer


Standard Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $2.99
Crypt of the Necrodancer review


It’s been five years since Crypt Of The Necrodancer released, but it still makes for an excellent title, appearing on many (many) "best of" lists. And for good reason. 


Developed by Brace Yourself Games, Crypt is another example of successfully merging roguelike mechanics with a genre typically not known for them — this time a rhythm game where you traverse dungeons in step to the beat.


It’s another challenging affair but proves impossible to put down, and like Bastion, there’s little risk when it’s 80% off.


Buy Crypt Of The Necrodancer on Steam




That wraps up this list of the best indie games to buy during the 2020 Steam Summer Sale. Here's to increasing our backlogs yet again! 




Standard Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $2.99
Bastion review


Supergiant Games are hard at work with finishing Hades right now, but their first project, Bastion, is one of the most acclaimed 2D action indie games in recent memory.


Playing a nameless adventurer referred to as “The Kid," you find yourself in a post-calamity world, exploring the ruins of society. It’s a title you can complete in one sitting, but don't let that fool you. Bastion is chock full of solid combat and great narration. It’s hard to go wrong at 80% off.  


Buy Bastion on Steam


Hollow Knight


Standard Price: $14.99
Sale Price: $7.49
Hollow Knight review


Hollow Knight sees you playing a nameless knight, traveling through the ancient kingdom of Hallownest, now plagued by vicious insects. Much like Cuphead, Hollow Knight gained recognition for its tough, but never unfair. gameplay.


Coming in at 50% off, Metroidvania fans will find a lot to love here. Just be prepared for a challenge.


Buy Hollow Knight on Steam


Slay the Spire


Standard Price: $24.99
Sale Price: $12.49


Developed by Mega Crit Games, Slay the Spire was an overnight success. One of the latest titles to implement roguelike mechanics in more traditional genres  this time a card game Slay the Spire uniquely bridges genre gaps with stunning effect.


Making your journey up the ever-changing Spire, no two playthroughs are alike, allowing for many distinctive deck combinations. It’s 50% off right now, so if you've been on the fence, it’s a good time to invest.


Buy Slay The Spire on Steam


Risk of Rain


Standard Price: $9.99
Sale Price: $2.49


Developed by Hopoo Games, Risk Of Rain is a bargain at 75% off. Incorporating roguelike mechanics with 2D Metroidvania sensibilities, you face off against a near-endless swarm of increasingly difficult enemies, requiring you to locate a randomly placed teleporter within each level to move on to the next.


The developers have since released Risk of Rain 2, also on offer at 20% off. Both are worth looking into, though, RoR2 replaces Risk of Rain's 2D style with 3D models and environments and is still in Early Access. 


Buy Risk Of Rain on Steam




Standard Price: $16.99
Sale Price: $6.79


It’d be an understatement to say that few games are as impactful as Gris. Released in 2018, Team Nomada’s debut title is a 2D puzzle platformer overflowing with lush environments and gushing with character. 


A story of trauma, this quest sees you restore color to the world, taking inspiration from titles like Journey. Its gameplay is somewhat minimalist but as an artistic experience, Gris is powerful and moving.


Buy Gris on Steam


Overcooked! 2


Standard Price: $24.99
Sale Price: $14.99


After the success of Overcooked! in 2016, it wasn’t surprising to see a sequel two years later. Developed by Ghost Town Games, you play as chef of the Onion Kingdom, looking to defeat a new zombie threat known as The Unbread.


Cooking in increasingly impractical kitchens, Overcooked! 2 is a frantic multiplayer experience that’s worth ordering at 40% off. If you’ve not played the original, that's on sale for 75% off.


Buy Overcooked! 2 on Steam


Budget Cuts


Standard Price: $29.99
Sale Price: $7.49


Virtual Reality is an indie-dominated platform, and back in 2018, Budget Cuts was one of the earliest standouts. Combining corporate satire with an action stealth premise, you find both your job and life under threat from automation.


It takes a few hours to complete but comes with an arcade mode too. Filled with humor and satisfying combat, it’s highly worth snatching up for 75% off. If you enjoy Budget Cuts, the sequel is 50% too.


Buy Budget Cuts on Steam


Override: Mech City Brawl


Standard Price: $29.99
Sale Price: $4.49


Released in 2018 by The Balance Inc, this 3D brawler will be of interest to Kaiju/Mecha fans, reminiscent of titles like War of The Monsters and Godzilla: Save The Earth.


Featuring a mission-based campaign mode, Override: Mech City Brawl places you against swarms of monsters known as “Xenotypes” and has fully destructible environments. Packed with local and multiplayer options, it’s an absolute steal at 85% off.


Buy Override: Mech City Brawl on Steam




Standard Price: $24.99
Sale Price: $9.99
Superhot review


Superhot began life in 2013’s 7 Day FPS Challenge, but after a successful Kickstarter, it launched fully in 2016. Featuring a minimalistic art style, time only moves as you move, and everything plays out in slow motion. 


Superhot received critical acclaim at launch — and well after — bringing with it some of the most unique FPS gameplay we’ve ever seen. At 60% off, it’s well worth a look. 


Buy Superhot on Steam




Standard Price: $19.99
Sale Price: $9.99
Celeste review


Towerfall Ascension put Matt Makes Games on the map, but in 2018, Celeste cemented the studio as one of gaming’s best indie developers.


You play as Madeline, a girl facing her inner demons as she journeys to the top of Celeste Mountain. Featuring hundreds of levels, it’s a challenging platformer but crucially, never feels unfair. Uncovering the mountain’s mystery as you progress, it’s another strong recommendation at 50% off.


Buy Celeste on Steam




Standard Price: $19.99
Sale Price: $14.99
Cuphead review


Studio MDHR Entertainment Inc. brought us one of gaming’s most unique titles when Cuphead launched in 2017 — and it's focused on boss fights. Taking visual inspiration from 1930s-era cartoons, this run-and-gun title follows the brothers Cuphead and Mugman following their deal with the Devil to retain their souls.


Praised for its challenging difficulty, Cuphead is one of the hardest games released in the past several years. It sold 1 million units just a few weeks after launch. It's not the greatest discount at 25% off, but Cuphead is a title you won’t want to miss.


Buy Cuphead on Steam




Standard Price: $19.99
Sale Price: $4.99
Firewatch review


Firewatch was a huge success when it dropped in 2016. Developed by Campo Santo, it takes place in 1989, and you play a man named Henry as he retreats deep into Wyoming’s forest. It’s your job to keep it safe.


Discovering something strange from a forestry lookout tower, you are drawn into a mystery playing out across this strange environment. Firewatch is a short experience but an incredibly fun one, and it comes highly recommended at 75% off.


Buy Firewatch on Steam


We’ve reached that wonderful time of year where the Steam Summer Sale is in full force, running from June 25 until July 9. Chances are that your Valve has already emailed you about cheap games on your wishlist, but there are thousands of deals to look through, bringing some fantastic offers and, almost inevitably, a renewed backlog.


If you’re a fan of indie games, though, searching through for the best indie games on sale can be tricky; many aren’t limited to a single genre. Indie developers have brought us many of gaming’s most creative ventures in recent years and when it comes to this Steam sale, the choices can be overwhelming.


So if you’re looking to narrow down these choices, here’s our guide to 13 of the best indie games we recommend.

Iron Man VR Demo Out Now, PSVR Bundle Coming Soon Thu, 21 May 2020 13:11:46 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Following the recent Iron Man VR release date announcement, Sony released a meaty Iron Man VR demo today. There's also a special Iron Man PSVR bundle up for grabs.

The demo trailer at the top of this post gives a glimpse of the Iron Man VR demo in action, and it should come as no surprise you need a PlayStation VR set to play it.

Here's what the demo includes:

  • “Malibu” tutorial mission
  • Interactive Stark Jet cinematic starring Tony, Friday, and Pepper Potts
  • “Out of the Blue” Stark Jet gameplay mission
  • Flight Challenge optional mission
  • Advanced Combat Challenge optional mission

The PlayStation Blog post announcing the demo said this is just a small fraction of the game, so it sounds like we've got quite a bit to look forward to when Iron Man VR launches on July 3.

If you don't have a PSVR yet, Sony opened pre-orders for the Iron Man VR PSVR set today. It comes with a PlayStation VR headset, PlayStation Camera, two PlayStation Move motion controllers, Marvel’s Iron Man VR, and a PSVR Demo Disc.

The blog announcement says pre-orders start today, but as of the time of writing, they aren't actually open yet.

After being delayed and Sony even offering refunds for digital purchases, it's nice to see Iron Man VR getting some more attention.

The original announcement post is over on the PlayStation Blog, and you can get the demo for free off the PlayStation Store. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Iron Man VR news as it flies our way.

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners Review: Scared, Screwed, and Loving It Fri, 15 May 2020 15:22:47 -0400 Mark Delaney

Virtual reality has been on the market for years now, but it still can't seem to climb out of its middling rut. In time, we'll see whether Half-Life: Alyx is the revolution Valve and other VR evangelists hope it is, but we can't see that far in to the future from here.

I've long found myself a believer of the tech and I root for it to succeed, but I'm not blind to its faults. With that in mind, I think The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners captures my thoughts on VR as a whole pretty well.

It has some body-tracking issues which naysayers will rightfully find to be too familiar an issue with VR setups, but if you've already got a headset at home, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is a can't-miss addition to the wild west of VR.

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners Review: Scared, Screwed, and Loving It

Saints & Sinners puts players in the American deep south as a lone survivor in Robert Kirkman's undead landscape. The first-person game is a mixing pot of several genres, and each of them is awesomely implemented.

Every level exists as a large hub and offers at least one main location you'll want to hit, like an early-level mansion in the dilapidated streets, but there are always countless ways to approach it.

In this first example, I was able to climb through one of several windows, crawl through a crawlspace, search for an unlocked door  which revealed walkers on the other side  or find a key to enter. I could even climb the side of the house and crawl into the upstairs. This gives the game an unexpected immersive sim-like freedom, as though a bit of Deus Ex or Dishonored snuck into this zombie VR title, and it quickly makes it so much better than I expected.

There are RPG elements too. You head out on a skiff by day and scavenge all sorts of scraps while on your missions. Anything from bottles to shoes to broken guns can be thrown into your backpack and you'll need to manage inventory space as it's quite limited given all the scraps scattered about each level. With that in mind, you'll want to know what to bring back with you, and for that, your safe space at an old party bus in a cemetery acts as your crafting hub.

Anything from food and medicine to guns and shivs can be built here with a simple-to-use VR layout. Excitingly, some of the first weapons you can craft are Lucille and Rick's python. These are given different names  I suppose because they're not the real Lucille and python  but the nods are obvious and welcome. 

Each level contains at least one friendly human survivor too. You'll have to look for them as they're wisely not broadcasting their whereabouts to the hordes, but find them, and they'll offer trades and give you side quests. These always end with rewards you'll not want to miss. I made it a habit to first inspect a level for these survivors as the backpack space was always worth what they were offering, even if it sometimes meant I had to first get my hands dirty on their behalf.

Though it tells an original story in the ever-widening lore bible of The Walking Dead, it retains several important hallmarks that franchise fans will both expect and adore. Namely, the zombies aren't the only threat. As you get deeper into its lengthy 15-hour campaign, you'll have to contend with unfriendly surviving humans too.

No Walking Dead story is complete without a Big Bad either, and Saints & Sinners understands this. Told mostly through collectibles and cutscenes, the story is fun to chase, even as the diary entries often hamper the gameplay with voiceovers that can bury more important sounds, like incoming walkers.

Within each level, you'll have several objectives, optional and mandatory, but you decide how to explore and when you leave. If you only need a specific crafting resource, you can return to any level, grab that one item as soon as you find it, and take off. Conversely, you can stick around until your watch beeps and the church bells ring out through the bayou, inviting a horde to descend upon your location. 

It's in these moments where Saints & Sinners best captures the feeling of surviving in its harsh world. Before the church bells ring, a level will have dozens of walkers, but they're somewhat spread out. You'll often have to fight two at a time  three at a time is thankfully rare — but that's about it unless you choose to Pied Piper them around town (don't do that).

But once the bells go off, your survival odds dwindle to nearly nonexistent. Half a dozen or more walkers at any time can surround you, and if your shots are off or you miss a killing blow to the brain, you're screwed. 

This makes stealth actions, like crouching past the gaze of the undead, crucial, and even more important is managing your health and stamina. Cruelly, most of the game's healing items will either raise health or stamina, but lower the other, giving players a personal puzzle to work out: "when do I eat this energy bar to boost stamina knowing it will hurt my health at the same time?" I asked that question a lot, and for me, the answer was usually, "when I need to get the hell out of here." 

Saints & Sinners is exhilarating in these moments, like a mad dash to the skiff with a full backpack as the ominous bells ring out.

The game's PSVR controls are smartly mapped onto the mandatory wands, but tracking of movements is sometimes faulty, leading to some annoying game-over screens. As this is true Walking Dead, nothing short of a blow to the head will stop the zombies from eating you, and while guns and, to a lesser extent, two-handed weapons, are reliable and fun, one-handed melee weapons are more troubling.

In the loading screens, the game reminds players that penetrating the brain requires methodical movements, not swift ones, and though I got better at this motion over time, I still missed more often than what felt fair.

A whiffed killshot means the zombies grab you and you have to shake them off, taking some lost health in the process. With a horde of a few zombies, it is often the case that once one grabs you, you get stuck in a loop where you're shoving them all off one by one until you're dead. Thankfully, the penalty for death is minimal. You keep level progress and must retrieve your loot before dying again.

Cheap player death is supremely unsatisfying and reminds me how much further VR has to go. I don't know how long I'd last in a real zombie apocalypse, but I know I failed some killing blows in Saints & Sinners merely because of faulty movement tracking. A real zombie kill shouldn't seem easier than my virtual attempts, but it often feels that way.

Luckily, the rest of the controller layout is intuitive. It smartly combines the 45-degree turns seen in so many VR games with headset directing for an experience that never turned my stomach. Controls like holstering quick-equip weapons and pulling out a flashlight, journal, or backpack never failed me. Only some melee weapons did, but that's an important part of a game about stabbing zombies in the brain. These controls won't leave you nauseated, only aggravated.

Even when this did get annoying, it is sometimes easy to forgive a game that lets you smash a bottle against a car to make a last-ditch defensive item, or demands you really yank on the barbed wire bat to pull it out of the freshly killed walkers.

Other than those moments of poor tracking, Saints & Sinners delivers an immersive zombie survival VR experience. It has a sense of presence as only VR can provide, like the dread of a walker spotting me as I peer around the "corner" in my living room. 

Saints & Sinners has the gameplay loop of my all-time favorite zombie game, State of Decay: head into a dangerous world, take what you can to survive, and try to make it home to stash it all, slowly building up your arsenal to take on greater threats. That loop is made more exciting in VR, though I can't deny it's sometimes thwarted by the headset and wands too.

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners Review — The Bottom Line

  • Open level design driving player choice
  • Well-implemented RPG elements like streamlined crafting and inventory management
  • True horror tension without crippling death penalties
  • Side quests and NPC interactions add replayability
  • The church bells!
  • Audio logs drown out more important sounds, like incoming walkers
  • Arm tracking issues result in cheap deaths

At the end of my time with The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, I decided I wasn't actually done with it at all. I'll be playing it for a long time as I continue to max out my upgrades and finish all side quests. I've been playing VR for several years now, and I've seen my share of games that lift the medium up and remind me of what the future holds for this platform.

Suffice it to say Saints & Sinners definitely suffers from some modern-day VR problems, but it's still a great sign of the immersive and exciting things to come. After weighing it against all else I've played on PSVR to date, I've determined Saints & Sinners is my favorite VR game of the generation.

[Note: A copy of The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners was provided by Skydance Interactive for the purpose of this review.]

Iron Man VR Release Date Updated Tue, 12 May 2020 15:42:09 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Sony announced a new Iron Man VR release date today in a brief Twitter update. After suffering a short delay from its original May 15 relase date, Iron Man VR will launch for PlayStation VR on July 3.

The announcement was, indeed, very brief. No new images, videos, or anything else accompanied the tweet, but we'd be surprised if we didn't hear any more about Iron Man VR earlier in "the coming weeks." 

After all, Sony delayed Iron Man VR around at the same time The Last of Us 2 was delayed, and The Last of Us 2 got a brand-new trailer shortly after its new release date was announced.

Either way, it's welcome news. It was a bit ominous when Sony started issuing refunds for digital Iron Man VR purchases, as if there was no telling when the game might launch. So it's good to see the game taking flight again.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Iron Man VR news as it suits up.

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners Now Available on PSVR Tue, 05 May 2020 13:28:02 -0400 GS_Staff

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners released earlier this year on PC to critical acclaim, earning an 81 aggregate score on Metacritic. Today, Skydance Interactive and Skybound Entertainment have announced that the zombie apocalypse VR game is now on PSVR. 

The base game is available through the PlayStation Store and the game’s official website for $39.99, and it comes with an exclusive PS4 dynamic theme. The Tourist edition includes even more perks, such as three weapon recipes for The Sheriff, The Judge, and the National Guard Knife, as well as "collectible voodoo dolls." It is available for $49.99.

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is set in New Orleans during the zombie outbreak made famous by Robert Kirkman and further popularized by the AMC television show. Expectedly violent, the game sees players surviving both the undead and the human factions that roam the streets of The Big Easy. Crafting and looting play large roles, too, with weapons and supplies coming at a premium. 

Much like TellTale’s The Walking Dead series, Saints & Sinners also has its share of what critics have called “tough” choices, with the paths you choose ultimately shaping the overarching narrative. 

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is also on PC and is compatible with Valve Index, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality. It is set to release on Oculus Quest sometime in 2020. For more, be sure to check out our Saints & Sinners guides page

Vader Immortal Rises on PSVR Later This Year Mon, 04 May 2020 13:04:41 -0400 Josh Broadwell

All three Vader Immortal VR episodes are heading to PSVR, according to a new PlayStation Blog announcement by ILMxLab's Executive Creative Producer Mark Miller. The three episodes and Lightsaber Dojos are bundled together in one package dubbed Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series for PlayStation VR, and the package will launch sometime later this summer.

Miller explained the goal behind Vader Immortal was twofold. One part was telling a new, canon Star Wars story entirely in VR, and the other was translating Star Wars storytelling techniques into an interactive game. It was putting you in a Star Wars story and using every tool in the kit to make it really feel like you're part of the action.

Naturally, wielding a lightsaber plays a big role in Vader Immortal, and Miller's team worked hard to make each parry and swing feel as natural as possible. As the individual episode trailers show, though, there's a lot more involved than just swinging a laser sword.

You'll wield the Force to navigate through Vader's mysterious fortress on Mustafar and use ever trick in the Jedi book to deal with the threats you find there.

So far, there's no word on specific pricing or release date, though each episode is $9.99 on the Oculus Store. We've had a bit of a Star Wars news slump since last year's Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, so this reveal and the Lego Star Wars: Skywalker Saga key art unveiling are very welcome indeed.

The full announcement is on the PlayStation Blog. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Vader Immortal PSVR news as it flies our way.

Sony Sending Refunds for Digital Last of Us 2, Iron Man VR Orders Tue, 07 Apr 2020 20:21:33 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Sony announced it's issuing automatic refunds for digital copies of The Last of Us Part 2 and Iron Man VR. The announcement follows last week's news that both games are delayed indefinitely on account of coronavirus-related shipping issues.

The news was originally posted on Sony's Support web page as a small banner, and IGN picked up the story. If you pre-ordered either title's digital version, you should be receiving an email from Sony with further information. We reached out to Sony for more information on when emails and refunds would begin going out, but we did not hear back by press time.  

Both games were set for May launches: May 29 for The Last of Us Part 2 and May 15 for Iron Man VR. As you'd expect, that means both games are also pretty much finished.

Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann said TLoU2 is "at the one-yard line" during a recent PlayStation Blogcast episode. However, the studio isn't considering a digital-only release at this time, since it wants everyone to experience the long-awaited next chapter in Elie's journey at the same time.

It's been a long journey for TLoU2 as well. It was first delayed to February and then to May so the team could give it "extra polish."

How this will affect The Last of Us TV series HBO and Naughty Dog are working on together, we don't know. Previously, the show's director Craig Mazin said filming can't start until TLoU2 is finished.

The original story is over on IGN. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more The Last of Us Part 2 and Iron Man VR news as it develops.

Half-Life: Alyx Review — New Horizons Thu, 02 Apr 2020 16:54:21 -0400 Gabriel Moss

Why does Half-Life: Alyx absolutely need to be played in VR? It's a tough question to answer with words alone. But if I had to stick to words, I'd rather describe Half-Life: Alyx with a short story.

It begins with me evading pursuit by an unkillable monster named Jeff.

Knowing that any amount of noise coming from my direction could lead to a quick death, I diligently tip-toe past a collection of loose bottles strewn across the floor, only stopping just before running face-first into a shelf.

I turn my head slightly, trying to get a glimpse of my surroundings. Guided only by a small circle of light shining from my left wrist, I reach through the dimly lit malaise for anything to use as a distraction. Haphazardly, my real-world arm knocks a half-dozen more virtual bottles to the ground. A guttural roar echoes from the hallway behind me, followed by thrashing footsteps.

Shrieks of broken glass now betraying my position in the dark, I desperately waggle my left hand for anything to latch onto. Alyx grabs hold of a trinket, nearly unidentifiable but solid nonetheless. Heart pounding, I swing around in a half-circle before underhandedly slinging the item through a nearby freezer door.

It crashes through a row of bottles, turning the creature's attention away from me — just long enough for me to clumsily latch the door shut, locking them inside.

It's at this moment that something occurs to me: Half-Life: Alyx is an incredible game. But it'd be so much less without those motion controls and the complete immersion afforded by a VR setup. It's wholly built around them, and that's what makes it so impressive.

Half-Life: Alyx Review  New Horizons

Set between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, Half-Life: Alyx puts you in the shoes of gun-toting engineer Alyx Vance. The crowbar-wielding protagonist of past Half-Life titles, Gordon Freeman, is nowhere to be seen, but the change of perspective makes incredibly good sense for what Half-Life: Alyx accomplishes as a VR title.

Until now, every Half-Life game released has been built on fluid run' n' gun combat, nimble platforming, and intelligent physics puzzles tied together with cinematic storytelling in a rich and thoroughly detailed world.

Half-Life: Alyx is just a bit different. Being built from the ground-up for VR, it lacks the wide-open spaces and freedom of movement that justify the quicker pace and twitchier shooting of previous titles. As a result, Alyx feels far more vulnerable and relatable as a character, equal in ability to the real human donning the VR headset.

Most encounters, like the one described above, are so appropriately intense because they play off your ability to make things happen with your own two hands.

Whether you're reloading your pistol on time for a killing shot, gently sliding a wheel through a piece of rebar without making contact with metal (so as to avoid making noise), or delicately guiding an invaluable Resin pickup through a series of tripwire lasers and into your backpack, it seems like everything in Alyx is built to drown you in the tension of what would be another title's smallest moments.

This gameplay format is slow, deliberate, and sometimes limiting, but it's more exhilarating in practice than Half-Life has ever been.

Did I mention that it's also one of the best looking VR games around? Defying what one would think possible of VR — which eats up more system resources than a standard game and tends to look worse as a result — Valve managed to pack each of Alyx's scenes with such intricate lighting and detail that you're hard-pressed not to compare its graphical fidelity with something like Doom Eternal.

At least as far as art direction goes, Alyx is the clear winner.

Despite being linear, the makeup of City 17 is marvelously detailed and rich with secrets. Further, the 11-ish hours that it took me to complete all 11 of its memorable and unique chapters was such an unmitigated rollercoaster of emotions that, by the very end, I didn't want to leave. I could easily go back and play through Half-Life: Alyx a third or even a fourth time.

That is, of course, if you can handle the intensity of it.

Half-Life: Alyx is, after all, a VR title, which inherently makes it harder for some to play without doing so in roughly hour-long bursts. The comfort options in Half-Life: Alyx, while robust enough to even allow for seated play, still don't solve the core issue of motion sickness caused by artificial movement in VR.

One classic VR problem is almost completely solved in Alyx, however: Picking stuff up from far away is as easy as a flick of the wrist with your very own pair of Gravity Gloves. Instead of walking over to an item that you want to pick up, you just point at it with your hand and flick it over from afar. While not nearly as powerful or versatile as the Gravity Gun from previous Half-Life titles, it feels like an intuitive interaction that stops you from needing to move around quite as much.

The story here is sharply written and masterfully delivered, absolutely raising the bar for what fans would expect from a Half-Life title. First of all, switching to a voiced protagonist in Alyx feels appropriate for the slower, more deliberate pacing of everything else. Your buddy over the comms, Russell, adds another layer of personality too, keeping you company in moments that would otherwise be far lonelier and more harrowing than without him. 

Moral support and comic relief are delivered candidly and on time, and the chemistry between Russell and Alyx, while strong on its own, certainly establishes an added layer of contrast to the darker tone of the setting. Though, during the most gutwrenchingly creepy or challenging moments, his signal cuts out entirely, leaving you all alone to fend for yourself.

Without spoiling anything, Half-Life: Alyx is more of a flashback than a prequel, and it rewards you for having played each previous title in the series, including the two episodes, before starting.

The combat, or rather, the gunplay, is one of the rougher parts of Half-Life: Alyx. It's clear that, unlike its predecessors, this isn't a first-person shooter. Think of it more as a VR game that takes place in the Half-Life universe, continues the Half-Life canon, and happens to include guns.

If the pacing of classic Half-Life is that of a power fantasy where you sweep through entire zones with agility  like a more photorealistic Doom or Quake  then, by comparison, the pacing of Half-Life: Alyx is akin to the slow crawl through Resident Evil 2's Raccoon City or Dead Space's USG Ishimura.

Enemies are slower, more predictable, and less varied, yet they are far more fearsome under the visor than they've ever been. However, your limited assortment of weapons feels less like powerful toys and more like essential survival tools.

By contrast with the originals, Alyx only puts three guns and a couple of grenades into your arsenal. Melee combat is nixed entirely, making every bullet that much more invaluable.

Furthermore, instead of quickly accessing what you need with the press of a key, you must now manage your inventory by physically reaching over your back for fresh clips, or producing items from storage slots located on your real-world wrists. Each of these interactions is appropriately weighty, pounding in the fact that you're just as much a part of City 17 as the headcrab zombies now inhabiting its destitute tunnels and alleyways.

The shotgun, which still feels great, has extraordinarily limited ammo. Meanwhile, the pistol and SMG feel like pea shooters by comparison. Landing headshots, which is still useful for killing enemies quicker, doesn't give you quite the same advantage as it did in other titles, which is one of the few complaints that I actually have about Alyx.

The puzzle selection in Half-Life: Alyx consists of different exercises that have you manipulating hand-held objects, though the large-body object manipulation of Half-Life 2 is absent from Alyx. You're never moving crates around to build a counter-weight, which is something that would have been a waste of VR controls anyway, and it's great that Valve went the direction they did here.

While it's true there are plenty of generic puzzles that only make you manipulate a holographic sphere with one hand and connect some dots with the other, there are some standout puzzles in Half-Life: Alyx. The very best involve rewiring circuitry with your Multi-Tool.

There are entire segments of Half-Life: Alyx which have you standing in a tight space and running your hand across a virtual wall as you search for links in a nearby power circuit. This might sound boring at first; it totally would be if you were trying to solve it from behind a keyboard and mouse! But, in practice, it makes fantastic use of the all-encompassing nature of VR gameplay.

Opening cabinets, rummaging through drawers, removing paintings from walls, and sticking your head up next to weird alien shellfish are all a part of the experience, and Valve misses no opportunity to make you look closer at the highly detailed world that it's created.

Half-Life: Alyx Review — The Bottom Line

  • Incredible world-building and story
  • Exemplary use of VR controls and perspective
  • Decently lengthy (for a VR game) at 11 hours, but well worth replaying
  • Jeff
  • Limited combat
  • Some generic puzzle design
  • It's only 11 hours!
  • Jeff

The release of a VR game like Half-Life: Alyx is a momentous occasion. Not only is this one of the very first AAA VR games to break the bubble, but it's also a revival of one of the most beloved game franchises on the planet, following up on a nearly 13-year hiatus that left us all on a very inconvenient cliffhanger.

Half-Life: Alyx picks up the baton and carries it much further than anybody ever expected of a VR title, let alone a "spin-off" title that isn't technically Half-Life 3. In short, Half-Life: Alyx is here, and it's the real deal. And while I can see myself replaying it many times in the near future, the only question I have now is: "What's next?"

[Note: A copy of Half-Life: Alyx was provided by Valve for the purpose of this review.]

The Last of Us 2, Iron Man VR Delayed Thu, 02 Apr 2020 15:35:14 -0400 GS_Staff

The Last of Us 2 and Iron Man VR have been delayed. Sony shared the news via Twitter earlier this afternoon, with developer Naughty Dog issuing a near-simultaneous statement on the social media platform. 

Neither Sony nor Naughty Dog provided an updated launch timeline for either game. The Last of Us 2 was set to launch on May 29, while Iron Man VR was set to hit shelves on May 15. The delays are centered on logistical issues concerning the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In a release shared on Twitter, Naughty Dog said that it is almost entirely done with the game's development, but that it wanted fans to experience the game "around the same time." 

As you've likely seen, the release of The Last of Us Part II has been delayed. We're sure this news is just as disappointing to you as it is to us. We wanted to reach out to all of you in our community to give you a little more information. 

The good news is, we're nearly done with the development of The Last of Us Part II. We are in the midst of fixing our final bugs. 

However, even with us finishing the game, we were faced with the reality that due to logistics beyond our control, we couldn't launch The Last of Us Part II to our satisfaction. We want to make sure everyone gets to play The Last of Us Part II around the same time, ensuring that we're doing everything possible to preserve the best experience for everyone. This meant delaying the game until such a time where we can solve these logistic issues. 

We were bummed about this decision but ultimately understood it's what's best and fair to all of our players. We're hoping that this won't be a long delay and we'll update you as soon as we have new information to share. 

We wish you all, your families, and your friends the best of health. Thank you for being amazing fans and your continued support. 

Stay safe!

The Last of Us 2 was first delayed in October "to provide further polish." It was originally set to release in February. 

Recently, Square Enix released early physical copies of Final Fantasy 7 Remake to mitigate shipping issues for the highly-anticipated JRPG. The effort was meant to get the game into players' hands by release day, but an early and sporadic launch has also let loose a torrent of spoilers.  

Though Doom Eternal was also released early due to the effects of Covid-19, its early release was only a few hours in advance and relegated to physical copies sold at GameStop.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more on The Last of Us 2 and Iron Man VR as it develops.  

Sniper Elite VR Drops You Straight Into the Bloody Mayhem of World War 2 Wed, 04 Mar 2020 22:33:45 -0500 Jonathan Moore

If any game series was made for virtual reality, it was Sniper Elite. Whereas some designs translate poorly to the medium, the visceral nature of the franchise is a logical fit for the sensory heightening essence of VR. It helps, then, that the sniper rifle is one of the most up close and personal weapons on the battlefield.

Just as VR was built for the bow and arrow, so was it built for the heft and power of the sniper rifle. No more was this evident than during my demo with Sniper Elite VR at PAX East in Boston, where I played through one of the game's levels set in a besieged village. 

Sniper Elite VR plays as close to a mainline Sniper game as you'd probably expect. There's stealth. There's action. And there's plenty of Nazi scum to shoot. The biggest difference here is that everything happens from the first-person perspective. 

Movement happens in two ways: either through teleportation or free-movement. Teleportation plays out as it does in other virtual reality games: point to a location, click a button, and move. Free-movement works as you'd expect, but unlike other experiences I've had with the mechanic, it's silky smooth here. 

While it might be a tad slower than some might like, Sniper VR's free-movement fits with the world of a methodical sniper. Though I kept trying to run by pressing down on the control stick  a habit carried over from the mainline games  the game's design doesn't allow for it. 

"This is quite a slow-paced game relative to other titles. So it's not like being on a rollercoaster and getting shot through a level." That's Rebellion Assistant Producer Thomas Waterhouse-Biggins, who spoke with me after I'd played through the demo.

He said that not only would running make players sick, but it would also mean your sniper would give up their cover and quickly get killed by a dozen lurking Nazis. 

"You're walking through [levels]. You're observing your surroundings. You stop, look down the scope. You're focusing on a specific point... which only moves when you move your hands. You have all of that freedom, but what you're actually doing doesn't cause motion sickness because it's very methodical."

The main draw here, however, is actually peering down the scope of a sniper rifle. While I hesitate to fetishize guns, there is a potency to the new first-person perspective, especially in the encompassing nature of virtual reality. 

Instead of a singular and detached button-press, actually pulling up the rifle engages all of your senses and motor functions. You raise your controller(s) to eye level as if you're holding a rifle, aim, and fire. It's a set of actions especially immersive using the PSVR Aim controller. In fact, I saw a few players actually rocking back as they fired at digital Nazis, as if they were replicating the kick-back of a real-life gun. 

Though I wasn't able to test Sniper VR using other inputs, such as Oculus Touch Controls or a DualShock 4 controller, Waterhouse-Biggins said the team worked hard to make the experience as ubiquitous as possible across all devices.

"One thing that really helped us is that we're using Unity [for Sniper Elite VR], which is a really versatile engine. You can just set up the game across all of these different platforms. It's definitely a challenge, though there are a lot of similarities between these control schemes. 

And while there is a seated mode, Waterhouse-Biggins said that the game won't work with mouse and keyboard because of how aiming works. 

"With two PlayStation motion controllers, you use two hands, and on the Rift and Vive you're using two hands. So a lot of those systems work across the board, although if you tweak one control scheme, you have to think, 'How are we going to tweak it again to make sure there's balance across the board?'

You're physically moving a controller to tell the game where your gun is, then you look down that to aim. If you had a mouse and keyboard, there would be no way to physically do that."

The level I played was fairly straightforward and mostly took place from the rooftops of a small neighborhood at the edge of a village. Looking down on the street below, I sniped Nazis huddled behind crates, and ducked behind sandbags and walls to dodge incoming fire. Holding my breath to steady my shot was a simple button press. 

Though Waterhouse-Biggins later told me there were throwables such as grenades in the demo, I didn't see them in all the chaos. However, I was told they also work in a more immersive fashion, depending on which VR platform you're playing the game. For example, throwables are assigned a specific button on the PSVR Aim controller, but using the Move controllers in each hand allows for a more realistic throwing motion. 

And though they weren't in the level I played, Waterhouse-Biggins did confirm that other signature weapons from the Sniper series would make an appearance in VR

"I can't confirm an exact list, but a lot of the guns you've seen in the other Sniper Elite titles... are going to make it here because it's going to be an authentic World War 2 shooter. So we need to have those authentic weapons." 

Of course, a Sniper game wouldn't be a Sniper game without the series' signature X-ray bullet cam. But where the mainline titles feature a bullet cam that zips across the map and might bolt through kill-shot animations, this one is slowed down.

Getting a few precise shots during my time with the game, I found the speed to be mostly right for virtual reality, though I think it could be a tad too slow. However, like many of the game's other mechanics, the priority here was to not oversaturate the player with too much stimulus. Waterhouse-Biggins said it was challenging to get the bullet cam right.

"We want to maintain what we did in Sniper 4 but we have to make changes. There's a balance there [between VR and the mainline games], but we still got the full impact. When you're watching the bullet go into the person, you can actually turn your head and it turns the camera," letting you see the bullet penetration from unique perspectives. 

Asked what kind of bullet cam shots fans might expect to see in the final product, Waterhouse-Biggins said many of the ones they've come to love will be included.

"Testicle shots, we got em'." 

Sniper Elite VR is set to release sometime later in 2020 for PC and PS4. 

Get a New Look at Half-Life: Alyx with These Gameplay Trailers Mon, 02 Mar 2020 18:36:59 -0500 GS_Staff

Half-Life fans have been waiting for a new entry for what feels like ages, but in just a few weeks, they'll get one in Half-Life: Alyx. Though we've known about the existence of the virtual reality prequel to Half-Life 2 for a while, we didn't know too much about its gameplay. 

Now, Valve has pulled back the curtain just a bit with three brand-new gameplay trailers. Each shows Alyx in various stages of her journey through City 17. 

The first trailer, which can be seen above, sees Alyx make her way through a subway station crawling with zombies. She gets her hands on a pistol and quickly kills two (of many more) enemies.

Here, the game's teleportation mechanics are shown, as well as how players will be able to interact with the environment with and without the Gravity Gloves, such as by removing boards blocking a pathway, pulling doors off lockers, or grabbing objects from a distance. Players can even empty buckets to search the contents inside.

This section is important, though, because the game's upgrade system makes a fleeting appearance, with Alyx upgrading her starting gun. Upgrades such as Reflex Sight, Bullet Reservoir, Burst Fire, and Laser Sight are available, and each has a listed Resin cost. 

Valve also shows off the game's health-upgrade system here, as well as the gross little test-tube critters players will have to gather to use it. 

The second gameplay trailer starts out with what looks like Alyx solving a hacking puzzle to unlock a door with a grotesque figure on the other side. Quickly, we see Alyx use an explosive and interact with a Xen before dispatching another zombie and it's accompanying headcrab. 

This video also shows that power packs will be needed to traverse certain areas or to call elevators, and some enemies will try to devour them before Alyx can use them.  

The trailer ends with Alyx ascending into the city itself. 

Now in the city proper, Alyx contends with Combine soldiers patrolling the deserted streets. She uses stealth to gain the element of surprise before blowing up a tank on a soldier's back. A firefight ensues, and Alyx opens a car to block incoming fire. It's a neat wrinkle that holds a wealth of possibility for the rest of the game.   

This trailer also further emphasizes the player's ability to uncover secrets and items, something that isn't always possible in VR. Alyx can knock over buckets to find items inside, or open a toilet lid to fetch something in the grimness below. 

It also highlights the frenetic quality of the game's combat once it gets going. Alyx must use the environment to her advantage while fighting Combine soldiers, ducking behind walls and traversing ladders to get to high ground. Grenades can be thrown back, too, adding another layer of complexity. 


Half-Life: Alyx is set to release on March 23 for the PC. It will be compatible with all VR headsets, including the Valve Index, the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality.