There has been a few questions when it comes to Space throughout history. How far can we really go? Will we ever find any other planets that would be habitable? Is there any alien life form out there? Those are all good questions that to this day we are trying to find out even more of the answers. But we needed something, something that could see the images that were too far away and see them with such clarity and detail. Then on April 24, 1990 we had our opportunity with the Hubble Space Telescope and take it to space where we would have a new set of eyes. But things didn’t always go as smoothly as we would have liked and over the years we had to go back and service the Hubble Space Telescope in hopes that the missions of space would help us continue. So does Developer Immersive VR Education show us the way to space and the hard work it takes to launch the Hubble Space Telescope? Let’s find out with Shuttle Commander for the PlayStation VR.
In Shuttle Commander you will have a couple of different choices to make. You can go straight in and start and play as the shuttle commander where you will go from take off to the different missions to even landing the shuttle. This is the one I would suggest to start with so you can get the complete full experience that is presented here. The take off, missions, landing sim are all part of the experience, but it is broken into parts so if for some reason you crash landed the shuttle and want to try again, you have that option to. There is also the Science option that gets more of the pictures and astronomy aspects of things that we will discuss a little later on.
I will say this now, that the DualShock 4 controller is the only option to go with and that I did find later on that I wish I could have the option to use the Move controllers as I think it would have helped make things a little easier and I do hope that a patch comes to add the option to use the Move controllers in the future.
During the take off, you will launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida as you are commanding the Space Shuttle Discovery as your mission is to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope into space. But what is interesting is how the audio plays well into the experience. The audio was taking from the original cockpit that was recorded and from mission control on April 24, 1990. So it was interesting being inside Discovery and hearing the actual conversations that was happening around me.
But during the take off, you do not interact with anything. There is not touching the controls, no talking or anything. Your placement in this take off is just to observe and be immersed of everything that is going on. I really did enjoy launching into space and looking out the window as you can see the sun glare through the window as we were leaving Earth and venturing into Space. Even though I would have loved to have this be more interactive, I did enjoy the view as day turned to night as the stars started to appear.
But things are not all just sit back and just observe. The purpose of this mission is to launch the Hubble Space Telescope. And like all things expensive placed in space where we cannot get a hold of them on a daily basis, things will need to be fixed. This is where you come into play as you will need to try to help extend the life of the Hubble. This could be fixing repairs to upgrading the Hubble Space Telescope to help us see further into the universe than we could have ever hoped.
This is where the Move controllers, I think, would have come in handy. There will be parts of the Hubble that have to be replaced. So that means you must use the DualShock 4 to move towards the damaged parts, remove them (let space do its magic) and then get the new piece and place it in the same way in the same place. Sounds simple, right? Well, it would (if I could use both Move controllers as my arms), but when you use the DualShock 4 controller, you have to use both thumbsticks to rotate the piece in just the right way and hopefully, it doesn’t get away from you and drift towards the sun as you try and go and chase it only to have it get away from you and just when you thought you had it, you see the message that you have to restart the mission or as I thought, my hopes and dreams drifting away to non-existence. But that was my first couple of attempts as I was trying to over-rotate it and just needed to understand and learn how the rotation works (pay attention to the arrows) and once I did, things were a lot happier in space and I could continue being the hero that NASA needed me to be. So the lesson here is don’t give up.
As I mentioned, it’s not all about observing and repairing, there is also trying to land the shuttle, which I will admit is not as easy as I went into it. I thought I would be like Armageddon-like and land that thing like nothing else and instead, well I hope I will be remembered at my funeral. But thank you Immersive VR Education for not having the shuttle explode as I crashed it by accident and no need to replay the audio from the box to find out what happened. But the great thing is you are able to go back and try out these landings and keep practicing as I learned that practice makes perfect.
But after the missions, after you have practiced the landings, things are not over as this brings us to the Science option. This option is pretty cool as it takes information from datasets of almost 120,000 stars and takes us into an exploration of our Universe, the life cycle of the stars as well as the constellations of our solar system. It really is a nice added benefit to be able to witness this and really only can only be done in Virtual Reality.
When looking at the graphics, I loved the way Immersive VR Education added the amount of details from the controls in the shuttle to seeing the constellations up close and personal. You can tell a lot of hard work went into this. I have always said that audio is important in Virtual Reality as well as the surroundings, and I love the way the audio was used. Sure someone could have read some lines to help bring these missions to life, but using actual audio recordings from the day of the launch is pretty awesome. It allows you to be in the center of it all as you are being immersed by all that is around you. If Immersive VR Education can take these recordings and allow us to learn in the presentation that they are providing, it just makes you wonder what other important events could we all learn from.
Shuttle Commander is out now for PlayStation VR. A review code was provided.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I need to go practice more landings.