What would you do if you were thrown into a situation where you had anyone and anything possibly wanting to attack you or worse? Do you think you could handle the situation alone based on instinct or would certain skills need to be crafted in order to help with your chances of surviving? Hopefully, we will never have to encounter where we are totally out of our elements in a strange place. But does developer Incuvo show us the art of crafting and a story for survival? Let’s find out with Green Hell VR for the Quest 2.
In Green Hell VR, you follow the story of Jake Higgins a famous anthropologist, who is thrown deep into the emerald and impenetrable Amazonian rain forest – the Green Hell. What you discover will be worse than what you fought so hard against to survive. Find yourself stranded in a dangerous jungle, surrounded by predators with only a trusty smartwatch, backpack, and the survival guide in hopes of surviving the adventure. But before you enter the rainforest, there are a few things that you should know. First, anything can and probably happen. So be prepared. Second, pay attention to your vitals. Just as anything can and will happen, you need to keep yourself as healthy as possible. Third, make sure those controllers are charged. You don’t want to come face to face with something and become a sitting target because you forgot to charge or replace the batteries. Fourth, I am not going to spoil anything for anyone. I want you to be surprised by what is out there and seeing what’s out there in VR is something special. And finally, have some fun. With that said, let’s continue…
When I first saw what developer Creepy Jar was bringing to the world of Green Hell to PC, I always thought it would make a fantastic VR experience. In fact, when @TheIndieLegends from The PlayStation Brahs reviewed Green Hell Co-op, I got even more interested in it as I could see the potential for what VR could do for this world. And I am happy to say that I was not disappointed in what Incuvo has done with the VR for Green Hell VR.
Before you even get into the story, you are given the option from the Game, VR Movement, VR Rotation, the controls, and audio. Controls are pretty simple. You walk with the left thumbstick, press down on the left thumbstick to sprint, Jump with the X button, grab items with the Grip buttons, and confirm and interactions are done with the Trigger buttons.
But then it comes to the next important question, the difficulty. Do you want to have a peaceful mode with no hostile attacks or dangerous animals and focus more on the story? Then select Tourist. Do you want a peaceful mode with no hostile attacks, but still can walk into danger? Then select A Walk In The Park. Do you want to have Guns N’ Roses Welcome to the Jungle song immediately enter your head as soon as you see it and also have a balanced survivable experience? Then select Welcome To The Jungle. And if you want to be the king where the enemies are more hostile, then select King Of The Jungle. It really is how you want to play which is always nice to have options. Once you made your choice, it’s time to have the adventure begin.
You start out as the one and only Jake Higgins along with their partner Mia. Immediately from the start, you can feel the connection between the two characters of how two close people can have with the humor and caring for each other as these two have. Most of the communication is done via walkie talkie which will come in handy. You start out with the objective of finding the camp which also works as a tutorial as you learn how to do things like eat and move and once you are at the camp, do things such as reading items, using your book that will show you the objectives, collect items, and of course use a weapon
It’s when you receive a message from Mia that things start to take a twist. As you are out in this Amazon rainforest using what it provides where you will need to find and craft items, find food, sleep, and stay healthy for survival and the right path for that survival. Part of that survival will include weapons such Bow and Arrows that you will use to hunt and defend yourself and items that can go in your backpack. The notebook you have will also contain a map to show you where you need to go. But, I will say, what looks like should be a straight path is not always the case. It will also contain information as you come across new items on your adventure such as plants.
You do also gain a watch that has a variety of uses. From seeing your vitals, GPS, when to sleep, and most importantly, because it is a watch, the time. Being in the rainforest is not going to be an easy task. Moving around means you will get tired and hungry. Hunger can be found all around from fruit to other things you probably would not eat. But if you have some time and want that fresh fish dish, you can use a fishing rod, however, you will need to make sure have the right bait. There will be times when you are dry and times when you are wet and you need to be careful when moving as things such as leeches can appear on your arms and if left there too long, just maybe a closing end to your survival. But it’s not just parasites and other creatures you will need to worry about, you do need to pay attention to things in your inventory. That food you thought you would save for later could expire. That injury that you thought would heal on your own and you thought to yourself “it will be fine” can spread causing you more pain and suffering than what you signed up for.
Of course, survival is not going to be the thing everyone does on their first attempt in Green Hell VR. You will die. And when you die, you are reminded of how you died in hopes you may not repeat the same death. Remember, learn from your mistakes so you don’t have to repeat them.
Since Green Hell VR does not have any type of autosave, in order to save, you will craft shelters. Remember your notebook? It shows you what you need to craft them. So make sure throughout your adventure, you put that backpack to good use and collect those long sticks, that rope, and leaves. I mean, the more places to save, the better off you will be so you don’t have to try and backtrack to where you were and possibly because you might have fallen or worse and have to repeat the hour or so that you just spent playing. I say this as one of the greatest tips, if nothing else, from personal experience. So do yourself a favor and craft those shelters and don’t forget to heal whenever possible.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. Being in this rainforest is bright and brings a sense of life of all shapes and sizes. From the dynamic lighting with the shades of light from the trees to when the water is clear and seeing animals such as a Toucan to even creatures such as snails, crabs, and even spiders make you feel like you are not here alone. But you do start to get a more eerie feeling when it becomes you out here in the dark. Different weapons and items are clear and it just made me want to see all the smaller things of details that this world had to offer. With the sound, hearing things like birds, the water, and other sounds of the jungle just goes to show how good the spatial audio is used here and immerses it all around you.
There are a few things that I would love to see here. First, the cutscenes. They are not bad, however, they are in 2D which may break the immersion for some for a short period of time. I know it would be more time-consuming and overall difficult to try and get them into VR, but I hope down the line they can be added. Second, there were a few glitches I encountered such as making a fire or I couldn’t craft at all. I am happy to say that the developer did add a patch recently that addresses what I experienced and others that I did not. So thank you Incuvo for that. And finally, the missing co-op. I knew going in that co-op would not be here at launch, but it will be coming.
Green Hell VR allows us to be dropped into a situation and gives us the tools to try and survive. Sure, we could all talk and think about how we would be in certain deathly situations, but until we are faced with them, we may never truly know how strong we truly are both emotionally and physically. Life sometimes will give us certain times in our life where we are tested so we can get closer to who we are destined to be. Life is short as it is. Shouldn’t we use the time we have to prepare for the best version of who we could really be?
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to see if I can survive and become King OF THE JUNGLE.