If the world as you knew it was overtaken by machines and what you knew or thought you knew of mankind had to live underground, how would your whole look on life change? Would you do what you could to fight even though the outcome might not be so bright or would you believe in yourself when no one else would to come above and fight the machines? It really gets you thinking that with the world the way is going, we might not be surprised at all if this were to happen. But does RealityArts Studio give us a glimpse what it could be like if this became our new reality? Let’s find out with The Stranger for PCVR.
I first want to apologize for the off center of the recording. I tried to adjust it many times, but this was the result. But luckily my last attempt was the best out of all the attempts and just had it a little off center. So with that said, let’s continue.
In The Stranger, the world that you knew became destroyed by machines from a parallel dimension from 3,000 years in what was the great battle with the previous ancestors (called the ancients) in The Rift War. And it seems that only those with specific genes of the commanding Lord Fathers can reach the surface and try to reclaim the land. You happen to be the one with so said genes and for those that can reach the surface, you are known as the Strangers. Now that we have the backstory, it’s going to be up to you to try and do what you can, have your aiming skills at the best level that they can be, and hopefully, reclaim the land. So before you begin, you will want to decide if you want to sit or stand as either way can be played and go through the tutorial as it will help you with the movements which you can move freely or by teleporting as well as switching between weapons and learn about reviving your health and ammo.
When I started with The Stranger I did notice something and the fact that there is no narration to pull you along. And yes, there could be narration added, but at the very beginning, you do see the intro scene (more about this in a few) that tells you the story. So really it’s you trying to reclaim this world. But it’s not a world where you want to just stand in one place too long as you will have enemies appearing sometimes out of nowhere a not alone. They will come out you in waves and you better have your aim ready as you will need it.
But while you are trying to get rid of enemies of various shapes and sizes, you will want to be on the look out for check points and wave points that you will need to reach. The wave points are the beams of light that may not be as straight forward as you might want, but at the same time, if it was so easy to get to, you might want some difficulty to be in your way. There were many times that I was right there of reaching either a wave point or check point only to have enemies appear and take me out and had to start from the last point. This is where I think the teleportation movement comes better in to play as I was able to move faster then if was simply just trying to avoid the enemies.
I do want to point out that seeing this world when there are not enemies just randomily appearing, has some beautiful aspects to it. Seeing the glowing of the plant life and crystals in the cave almost felt like they had their own life or having the sky have this certain darkness to make you feel like how alone you really are, at least for a brief moment made me realize how much dedication went into some of the level designs.
The weapons can be upgraded and it’s once you can finally be able to upgrade the weapons do you start to feel like you will not go down without a fight. Seeing heads being shot off of the enemies is always a satisfaction that I would hope the other enemies that witnessed such a tragic loss to their kind would give them a different outlook on life, but sadly, they made their choice.
I do want to talk about a few of the issues I ran across. At the beginning of the intro it seems like I could move my head around and it wasn’t fixed. If you had someone new to VR and trying that, that could lead to some motion sickness. This is the only time I experienced this, so if you do decide to play The Stranger, keep your head straight at the beginning. Another thing is about the enemies. I did witness on three separate occasions that some of the enemies got stuck. behind a wall or object and just would not move around it and just stay there or I would be moving and you can hear the enemies as a warning, but you don’t have to stay and fight them as you can just move past them with the teleportation to get to the next point. I know the developers are working to get updates and can’t wait to see them when they go in effect.
But there are some things I really liked about The Stranger. For one, the level design. Seeing the way the light would hit the ground while the sky was dark just gave me this feeling like this part of the world was once full of life, but now because of the war with the machines, the defeat that the ancestors had is still a burning memory of what once was. I also love the music in the game. It gets you pumped for what’s about to come. I also like how the aiming of my weapons was straight on with no drift or hiccups using the Oculus Touch controllers which is always nice when you are being attacked.
But if there is anything I would love to see added would be the ability to add more customization to the loadout. When it came to the grenades, I’m right-handed and had to throw them with my left hand which I am sure is awesome to see. Another thing I would love to see is the ability to throw co-op in the mix. I get that only a few have the genes to reach to the surface, but going at this with a friend would be a nice touch. And the last thing would either be a prequel. I get that there was this Rift War, but with this genre, since there are not hints during the game about the past other than the intro, a prequel that allows us to see what led to this moment over 3,000 years ago just might fill in some gaps. I can just see giving the science fiction aspect, many different stories that could be told and that is not a bad thing at all.
The Stranger is out now on Steam and Viveport. A review code was provided.
To learn more about RealityArts Studio, please visit their site, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Also, check out The Stranger interview.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to escape for now.