Video Game Journal – March 22 2023

Even though I am feeling better overall, I didn’t get to jump back into as many video games as I hoped. But the one I did, I have been looking forward to since PS VR2 was announced!

So while it looks like another light journal, this is because I played the hell out of Switchback VR. So expect to see a review on it soon!

Resident Evil 4 (2023)

Super quick entry this week. Last week I talked about the visual issues of the Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Demo on the Steam Deck. Well, Valve has released the new graphics driver ahead of the next major update, which fixes the graphical glitches completely!

Compare last week’s example:

20230315 - Resident Evil 4 - Locked to 30 fps in settings but that tearing
It’s hard to see, but I am sneaking up on a villager here

With the same scene a few days later with the latest Steam Deck update applied:

20230322 - Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Demo - Graphics fixed
The graphics have received quite the boost, and performance has improved nicely

It’s still not enough to convince me to playthrough Resident Evil 4 on my Steam Deck – that run will be on the PS5. But if the Steam Deck is your primary way of playing games, you can breathe a sigh of relief that performance issues are already addressed.

I mentioned this with the Steam Deck thoughts last week – the effort and responsiveness of Valve to ensure that games run as smoothly as possible on the Steam Deck cannot be understated. Sure, the best experience is when you purchase the games on Steam, but when is the last time Sony or Microsoft stepped in to make a gaming experience better across the board like this?

When this journal comes out, there are only a couple of days until the Resident Evil 4 remake releases. I don’t think I will be getting that Dead Space Platinum – I can’t wait to jump back into RE4!

The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR

My proudest Platinum is Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. The VR roller coaster shooter hit all the right notes with me. It was also the first game that made me ‘nope’ out of VR! So when Supermassive announced the spiritual sequel The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR, I was fully in.

So as I had started feeling better, I tentatively fired up Switchback VR. I expected to have to bow out, as the motion of a roller coaster coupled with lingering illness might have caused issues.

Luckily, this wasn’t a problem. I made it through three of the four Dark Pictures ‘levels’. My only problem is I started playing late on a work night, so I couldn’t power through!

20230322 - Switchback VR - Opening Train Trip
You begin on a train, with a lot of imagary that you will soon be very familiar with

So what is the story of Switchback VR? No disrespect to Supermassive, but it kind of doesn’t matter. You end up on a roller coaster, assisted by the Curator, and play through levels based on the Dark Pictures Anthology.

What you want to know is you are on a roller coaster, and there are plenty of things to shoot at and jumpscares to look out for. Thanks to the PS VR2 and its awesome eye-tracking, there is also blink detection. That’s right – Switchback VR knows when you close your eyes and uses that against you!

20230322 - Switchback VR - The shooting is fun
The shooting is fun, with only a smidge of aim assist on higher levels

I enjoyed Switchback VR, but it didn’t quite live up to what I hoped it would be. Switchback VR isn’t a bad game by any means. In a lot of ways, it is slower than Rush of Blood, which is where I felt a little letdown.

But I have played a lot of VR over the years, and a complaint with Rush of Blood is VR newbies had lots of motion sickness issues. Toning this down for Switchback VR makes sense, as you want new people to enjoy the experience and not be put off by it!

20230322 - Switchback VR - The roller coaster sections are fun but far between
The fast motion and jerky motion do take a lot of getting used to in VR

So if you are a Rush of Blood veteran, while I think you will enjoy Switchback VR maybe nab it on sale. If you are new to PS VR2 and don’t mind some scares, then Switchback VR is a great showpiece of what the hardware can do!

I will talk more about Switchback VR soon though. I have one more trophy to collect for the Platinum (Sorry Dead Space!), and then I will do a formal review.

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,