Video Game Journal – March 01 2023

I know you probably thought this week’s journal would be all the video games I had tried in PS VR2. Unfortunately, I didn’t get as much VR time in as I wanted. I am going to write up my PS VR2 experiences separately, but the journal is for my game experience more than the hardware.

So, the only VR game here is Horizon Call of the Mountain, and what I think of the game so far. For PS VR2 thoughts, that will probably be next week. VR has quite a bit going on, and I need time to sort through it all.

So not as much gaming progress as I hoped to report in this journal, but there was indeed progress!

Dead Space (Remake/2023)

The Impossible run for Dead Space continues slowly. I am actually starting to worry about how long it’s taking me. I remember everything I have to do, but some of the finer details I may be forgetting.

For any other run, an unfortunate death isn’t so bad. For a run with permadeath – Not so much. But I don’t want a repeat of Resident Evil Village and be ONE trophy away from the Platinum!

20230215 - Dead Space - One more trophy then Platinum
So near, and yet so far

I did try Dead Space in PS VR2 though. Short version – image quality was great, with zero light bleed. The experience though? Not as great. At least for the one try I had.

There was a fight where I had to fight the camera and a moving target to aim. This doesn’t happen often, and normally is only a small difficulty spike.

With the settings on PS VR 2, the screen wasn’t fixed though – it moved with my head. I am sure this is just a setting to fix the virtual 2D screen, but it wasn’t set when I tried.

Targeting a moving target, with a moving camera, AND a moving screen? I noped out of playing Dead Space in PS VR2 for the moment. Maybe next week?

Dicey Dungeons

Since switching out the Joy-Con joysticks, my Switch has been getting more love lately. Not because of the new controllers, but because of the rediscovery of Dicey Dungeons!

I have been pretty tired the last few nights, and Dicey Dungeons has been a smooth fit. I will be frank – If I didn’t have things to complete in Dicey Dungeons, there is a solid chance I would be playing Vampire Survivors instead. But I do have new tasks, so hello Switch!

20230301 - Dicey Dungeons - Making Progress
Little by little, progress continues

Again, it’s hard to describe WHY Dicey Dungeons feels good to play. There are random number shenanigans with dice rolls, but Dicey Dungeons is a puzzle at its heart.

When you can clear a level, or work out how to beat the boss with the tools you have randomly acquired, it’s a great feeling. When you lose because you realise too late you played in the wrong order, you want to jump straight in and do it right.

20230301 - Dicey Dungeons - Working out how to use your spoils effectively is key
Working out how to use your spoils effectively is key

If you are curious and have Game Pass, give Dicey Dungeons a try. Playing portably like on the Switch or even Steam Deck is probably the perfect console choice though!

Horizon Call of the Mountain

I have played the first two chapters of Horizon Call of the Mountain at least three times so far. Why? Because as much as people say otherwise, VR is not immediately plug-and-play! Also, Horizon Call of the Mountain is a lot to type over and over, so I am going to call it Horizon VR here!

I am also going to try and separate Horizon VR the game from PS VR2. This is a bit tricky, as Horizon VR is very much the tech showcase for PS VR2. Think of Astro bot for PS VR and PlayStation 5 – the game itself was fun, but mainly exists to show what the tech can do.

All that said, my first thought when starting Horizon VR was Horizon – Skyrim edition. You play a new character in this stand-alone adventure, and the opening is almost copy-pasted from Skyrim. You are in a boat rather than a carriage, and you aren’t the chosen one, but if you played Skyrim it’s hard to ignore.

20230301 - Horizon VR - Skyrim Edition
Horizon – Skyrim Edition! You can see where the foveated rendering kicks in

Then you are given a tutorial on how to play with your chosen control methods. This is why I have played the introduction so often. For myself, I am moving with the sticks like a normal controller.

The alternate method has you pumping your arms like you are running. You don’t have to go that hard, but it does apparently help with motion sickness if you are new to VR.

It’s nice that Horizon VR has touches like this as part of the core experience. It might have been better to default to this and change to stick controls as an option. VR veterans are more used to this, and it means newcomers are less likely to feel sick up front.

20230301 - Horizon VR - Play your way
You can play with the controls for a while, then see if you want to stick with them

Combat is a mixed bag to me. You are on ‘rails’ again, set to circling around your enemy. You can strafe and quick dodge, and combat movement is workable.

Firing your bow though – that’s a heap of fun. In terms of realism, I feel Wii Sports had archery feeling more realistic. Once you get used to the slightly floaty aiming though, Horizon VR archery is a lot of fun.

During the levels are warning beacons that you light with your bow. These are a form of collectible for completionists/trophy hunters, but offer something to fund on your second playthrough. The feeling you get when you hit a distant target is so satisfying though!

20230301 - Horizon VR - Light the beacons
It’s a fun activity trying to spot all the beacons

Your focus has been replaced by Instinct – different name, same idea. Hold down the triangle button to see where you can go, and what you may be able to interact with. That said, the path you take is fairly linear – there is no real open world to explore.

That doesn’t mean you are stuck to the same experience each time. At times there are essentially ‘pick a path’ choices that allow you to play again and experience something different. These are isolated experiences though, as you rejoin the story path again every time (so far at least).

As a game, and remembering I am maybe one-third of the way through it, Horizon VR is average to above average only. It’s Horizon Lite, and a VR tutorial rather than a must-play game standing on its own merits.

20230301 - Horizon VR - I dont know about 100 dollars worth of fun
Fun, but AU$100+ worth of fun? I am not sure.

This isn’t the end of the world, and I highly recommend starting with Horizon VR (get it bundled if you can!) if you are new to the world of VR. If you have experience with other VR experiences, I think you will enjoy Horizon VR but get it on sale – the AU$100 asking price is a bit much!

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know! 

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Until next time,