The one thing I have found that when you are in Virtual Reality and in space it’s a very immersive experience from the zero-gravity to the way you move. And when done correctly, it can really add to the experience like nothing else. So does Developer 3rd Eye Studios bring the immersion? Let’s find out in Downward Spiral: Horus Station for the PlayStation VR.
Now before we go any further, Downward Spiral: Horus Station can be played in both Non-VR and in VR. But I highly recommend you playing it in VR if at all possible. There is just something about the immersion that you are in that works very well that you would not get the same sense if you were playing in the Non-VR mode.
I am also going to state that adding a grappling device is extremely satisfying and awesome at the same time.
But what is Downward Spiral: Horus Station really about? Well, something happened on Horus Station, but what? This is where you come in. You must find out what happened all while exploring the station to hopefully have your questions answered. But before you really begin you have some choices to make. Do you want to go in solo or online co-op 2 players explore mode? Do you want to just explore or do you want to engage with enemies? The choice is yours. But grappling while having to defeat enemies in zero-gravity is really fun…just saying.
Speaking of zero-gravity, the developers have done a wonderful job of imagining what it would actually feel like with zero-gravity. Before grabbing my grappling device, having to hold on to things to move me in the right direction and even if I missed I would just drift until I got to a solid object so that I could push myself in the right direction. It’s moments like these that make you really appreciate the extra effort that gets put into a game like this and not to have any feeling of nausea or motion sickness is a great thing for a lot of players in Virtual Reality. So great job 3rd Eye Studios…great job.
I want to talk about the controls for a moment. Using both of the Move controllers (you can use the DualShock 4), the button layout is right where they need to be. Using the trigger buttons allow you to grab on to the objects as well as fire your weapons. Don’t want the grappling device in your right hand, then press the Move button to make the device you are carrying and it will show your hand. Press the Move button on either hand will show your inventory which you just reach out with whatever hand and grab and you are good to go.
But as you are trying to figure out what happened, there are signs that give you an idea of what needs to happen such as restoring the station. There will be times where you may have to go to one end and then come back. Which honestly is fun as the design of the levels have that old sci-fi feel to it. But if you elected to engage, as I mentioned really adds this excitement to the mix. Another thing I like is the floating objects that you can grab on to and who knows, you just might find some collectibles along the way. Along the way, there will be certain sections that will require you to push a button to have something activated or even try to find a battery or two in order to help to charge the system. In the beginning, I activated the security system which resulted in me dying from the bots. This might happen frequently until you figure out what you need to do. But when you have a big enemy who can fire at you and you have to grapple on the floor in zero-gravity to move along so you do not get detected, that is something pretty memorable.
Downward Spiral: Horus Station does also have an online play with 8 players free for all deathmatch as well as a 4 player Horde mode with 5 different maps. Unfortunately, I could not find anyone to play, but I would love to play against others. I mean 8 players free for all deathmatch in zero gravity would be astonishing, to say the least. That is something I would love to see is more people embracing the space genre of battle.
Let’s talk about the sound. There are no voice auto logs, there are no voice-overs to help you. Downward Spiral: Horus Station is based on the expedition, the exploration, and the examination of the mission. Music just compliments the journey as well as the silence compliments it. At times where the music became this intense beat, I knew as soon as I opened a door, something would be waiting for me and that is what you want when you explore. But there were times when it was just silent and not knowing what was coming or what possibly could be around the corner or even in the next area, which at the right moments adds another level of excitement and when you can have silence play a role as important as the music that says something.
Graphically things are clear. I could make out the different objects and it reminded me of being in an old sci-fi space movie except I was not watching it, I was in it and that is the power of Virtual Reality. The graphics fit this sci-fi experience that I had the pleasure to have my eyes experience. Seeing the designs on the weapons is a nice touch. There is something I want to point out. The hand movements. To not only be able to close your fist but moving your wrist up and down with a natural flow as humanly possible shows the amount of detail and work the developers put in. Again the small things that most think will not make a difference, it does.
At times when we try and figure out what we want to bring alive, sometimes stepping back and seeing what has been done and building upon to make it your own can be better than reproducing one’s idea. Sometimes we need the correction in order to see the brighter picture of it all. And when you can grapple a basketball and make a basket in zero-gravity just because you can, it makes you think what the final picture may be or if there ever will be one at all. We have to remember to never stop thinking, never stop dreaming and never stop creating.
Downward Spiral: Horus Station is out now on PlayStation VR and is also available on Steam. A review code was provided.
Also, check out the interview with Gregory Louden and Arttu Rajala of 3rd Eye Studios.
To learn more about 3rd Eye Studios, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to go back and grapple around in zero-gravity.
Mr. PSVR, September 27, 2018, theplaystationbrahs.com