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Oculus Rift & VR Games/Experiences Review Thread
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So the day that got back from my four months of traveling my Oculus Rift arrived, pretty good timing if you ask me. I'll be using this thread to write up small reviews of the games and experiences that I've tried out.

First off I was pleasently surprised with the packaging that the Rift came in, really good quality and clearly built to minimize any movement of the components during transit. The left hand side of the box contains the headset itself, while the right has the sensor on the top and then the Xbox One controller and other bits and bobs under a lift-up flap. I've been using this box to store my Rift since it arrived, with the only slight annoyance being getting the cables for the headset back in. So I've resorted to leaving the cables running out of the box (using a piece of foam to place between the lid and the cable).

Initial impressions of the headset were really good, it fits well and it surprisingly light. After playing around with the lense adjustment and the straps on the side I found a nice sweet spot which seems to be the clearest I can get it. It's not perfectly sharp, but for a first generation of a brand new technology it's really impressive. The Oculus Home setup and configuring the headset it painless and took less than an hour to run through. 

I'll split my little reviews up into separate posts below.
Post pictures please! It looks really nice!

Yes I was pretty surprised with it when I used it. It's alot lighter than I thought it would be, and it's pretty well built.

As for games I only tried a few, and even on a lower spec computer they were still pretty awesome.

- That car game where you have an overhead view of the track and follow your car along was pretty sweet. You are moving with your car so it's pretty trippy for awhile as you have to adjust to the feeling of moving with everything.
- That platformer game with the cute little fox. You wouldn't think a platformer in VR would be much different, but holy shit it makes it so immersive. Really great game to play.
- That first person horror game (sorry I've forgot all their names). That was the kind of game I imagined playing in VR. Walking around in first person was pretty taxing, and the first game I really started to get a bit motion sick from. Awesome experience though.

Overall I was blown away for sure with my first impressions of the device. As soon as you have built yourself a new awesome computer it's just going to get better too.
Liams Wrote:make a car out of scrap metal from genie lamps

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One of the free games which comes with a pre-order of the Oculus Rift is Farlands, an exploration game very similar to Pokemon Snap. You explore each area, documenting the various flora and fauna that you find. It's a simple game, but a good tech demo that shows of several reasons why virtual reality can become a great way to play games.

This is definitely one of the first things you should try out if you haven't got your 'VR-legs' yet and are struggling with the unnatural movement of other games. In order to move in Farlands you simply have to look at a point on the ground and click the OK button on the remote, this will put a marker on that spot where you will be teleported to. You can optionally then shift your view slightly away from that point to specify which direction you want to be facing when you arrive in that spot. It's a mechanic which many titles are starting to implement and personally I think it's a great way to move about the world, obviously it won't work for all games but it's extremely intuitive and solves are problems with motion sickness caused by movement.

Another feature of Farlands which I was impressed with was the 3D audio, as you teleport and turn around the sounds of animals and your robotic companion move as well. Closing my eyes I could still tell where around me the sounds were coming from, and I could even use the sounds of a small bug on a rock to zero in and find it without looking in every spot.

Farlands is a simple experience with not a whole lot of content, but it does what it is was built to do. It shows of some of the advantages of VR in an interesting way and is a good game to try out early on after you receive your Oculus Rift.
Lucky's Tale

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Another free game that game with my Oculus Rift was Lucky's Tale, which is a 3D platformer very similar to Crash Bandicoot. Controls are what you'd expect from a standard platformer: jump, spin and hit the ground while jumping etc. While the game itself really just is your run-of-the-mill platformer, I've thoroughly enjoyed my time playing it. It really is a different experience being in this world and playing in VR, there is no way I'd put more than half an hour into this game if I played it on a 2d screen.

The world of Lucky's Tale is charming, really colourful and filled with stylized enemies and levels. I found myself a couple of times just bobbing my head to the catchy music and looking around the world, while Lucky stood around wondering why he wasn't moving.

It's not a long game, with only 14 levels to keep you occupied. But the time trials and the coin collection modes let you go back and replay the levels with different goals. I found that there was a decent amount of content there to keep me entertained for around 10 hours, not too bad for a launch game that comes with the hardware.

This is another game which shows off what VR means, it should show any new Oculus Rift owner that even the most mediocre games become something else when played in VR.

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Now for undoubtedly my favorite experience with my Oculus Rift so far, and the game which I have put by far the most time into. Blazerush is a top-down racing and vehicle combat game that is a remarkably well polished VR experience.

There are three different game modes: 'Race' which is a normal three lap race, 'Survival' which involves surviving each round for as long as possible while a huge metal shredder on wheels that chases you down. The final game mode is 'King of the Hill' where you get a point for each second you are in first place, and it's the first player to reach 50 points. All the game modes require a different strategy, so you are never just racing around a track without thinking.

The pickups which drop from the sky make the game so much fun, various boost types and weapons always keep the race interesting. All of the weapons have a different function and learning where and when to use them to get the best effect is great. The same is true for the three boost types, each one differs in the length and power of the boost so you need to learn what each one does, otherwise it's very easy to send yourself flying off the edge of the racetrack.

The rubberbanding in Blazerush is very obvious, the game actually teleports you back up to the pack if you fall too far behind. But this is a game where I really don't mind, the small tight tracks and the multitude of weapons and boosts means the race is never over until the last second. Plus the real fun of the game comes from having all the cars sliding around corners in close proximity to one another, firing weapons and trying to knock each other out.

You look down on the racetrack from above, which makes it feel like you are racing a small remote controlled car. Being able to follow the car around the track while quickly glancing ahead to see the upcoming bends in the track and powerups is a game-changer. I often forget where I am during a race, a stray missle will fly off towards me and I'll instincively duck or move my head aside. This is a game that I intend to keep playing over and over again with my headset for the foreseeable future. Highly recommend Blazerush!

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Henry is a VR short created by Oculus Story Studio, a company made up of people who used to work creating various traditional computer animated films and games. These people all saw this new medium as a chance to evolve how stories are told, and although Henry is a small experience confined to one room it does show that virtual reality is not going to just be for games.

Since the film is only about 10 minutes long I won't spoil any story details, but here is the description from the Oculus Story Studio website: 'It's Henry's birthday, but where are his friends? The new movie from Oculus Story Studio takes you inside the world of a lonesome but lovable hedgehog.'

Henry is a great proof of concept and a touching story, I found myself feeling much more attached to this cute character since it felt like I was actually watching him walk around right infront of me. The word 'immersion' is thrown around a lot, but I think feeling like you are in the world with the characters will make for some truly great experiences down the line.

I've found that this is a really good film to show people who aren't the biggest gamers (and therefore wouldn't appreciate games like Lucky's Tale or Blazerush). But everyone I've shown Henry to has been completely endeared with this little hedgehog and his story.
Going to get the hand controllers?
(07-07-2016, 07:37 PM)jmp246 Wrote: Going to get the hand controllers?

Absolutely, as great as the Oculus Rift is at the moment I can't help feeling that it is still only half of a package.

I have tried the Vive (with motion controllers) at a demo and I absolutely loved it, can't wait until the Touch controllers are released.
(08-07-2016, 09:11 AM)Pythagean Wrote:
(07-07-2016, 07:37 PM)jmp246 Wrote: Going to get the hand controllers?

Absolutely, as great as the Oculus Rift is at the moment I can't help feeling that it is still only half of a package.

I have tried the Vive (with motion controllers) at a demo and I absolutely loved it, can't wait until the Touch controllers are released.

Yeah getting your hands in there will make even better. There have been so many times ive wanted to use my hands.
Liams Wrote:make a car out of scrap metal from genie lamps
Apollo 11 VR

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I picked this up a week or so ago, and sat through the whole experience over the weekend. The Apollo 11 VR Experience walks you through the whole story of the first moon landing from JFK's speech, all the way through the actual mission and ends with re-entry to Earth.

It was created by Immersive VR Education, a company which works to bring virtual reality educational experiences to consumers. This is their first big release and available for purchase on the Oculus Home store.

While the graphics don't quite have the level of polish of some of the other experiences, the level of detailing in the cockpits is staggering. The recreated control panels look so real that I wanted to reach out and start flicking the switches. Your fellow astronauts are rather static and only really move during a couple of scenes, but for a first attempt at something like this it's a great start.

The audio of Apollo 11 VR may be the best feature in my opinion. The moving music made each big moment feel incredibly moving and dramatic, while the use of the actual mission recordings from the crew members, NASA and the President bought me into the world with them.

All in all a great way to experience the greatest journey in mankinds' history, looking forward to seeing what else this company brings out.

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