I love games like Monopoly, checkers and even Uno. I have always loved the idea of chess and I know people love the game. I mean when they have different themed pieces of chess from Star Wars to Harry Potter, you know people can get serious about the game. So going into Chess Ultra for the PlayStation VR, I will say I have never played a game of chess in my life and didn’t know what to expect with taking my non-knowledge and throwing that in with VR would bring me. Once I started the game, my wanting to learn about the game turned into an eagerness of wanting to really be good at this.
You are presented with a list of options and not wanting to jump into an online game, I went for the training and if you are a trophy hunter, you may want to go through the training even if you already know how to play. The tutorial is very informative from explaining what each piece is to what moves it can do to giving you a scenario that you must pass before you can move on. One of the great things about Chess Ultra is how even when playing a real game, is that the piece you select will highlight the moves on the board to give you paths of your journey.
The scenes within Chess Ultra are really immersive as you can select from an apartment, library, museum and what seems like Hell (yes you can play against Death) along with the calming music with just a touch of footsteps or even a vibrating phone to add to the experience, just makes you want to keep learning and keep playing. And I will say this, you will lose track of time. The board itself is labeled with letters and numbers to help you with the moves which are a nice touch. And all the pieces are very well detailed. But if you are new to the game of chess and still want that checkers feel, there is a mode where you can use the pieces of checkers with chess rules.
What about the online you ask? Well if you ever wanted to play 8 games of chess at the same time, Chess Ultra lets you do and across all platforms and the online portion is really where you may spend all of your time. You can use the Dual Shock 4 or even use both Move Controllers to add to the experience. Don’t feel like playing in VR, you can also play non-VR as well if you desire. But for me, playing in VR is the way to go. I will say that playing against the Grim Reaper in Hell and having him point at you and yelling because your moves are causing the game to stale is somewhat of a happy feeling and gave me that Bill and Ted Bogus Journey felling that put a smile on my face and just started laughing and for my first time playing chess, I beat the Grim Reaper and felt very satisfied.
I appreciate the fact that Chess Ultra gives me the need to learn more about the game of Chess and with the over 80 chess puzzles, there is a lot to be had here. So should you buy Chess Ultra? Yes. It is one of those few gems that make you want to learn and makes you want to get better. Even if you don’t own a PlayStation VR, it is a rewarding experience with its 4k visuals and the fact that I am able to re-write history in some of the biggest historic matches and even compete in Official Ripstone tournaments, and seamless online and Grandmaster approved AI. But playing with the PlayStation VR in that immersive world made me feel like Charles Xavier from the X-Men and unleashing my mind and getting that checkmate!
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy.