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Room-deep in the dead: DOOM VFR out today

doom-vfr

Lest 2017 didn’t already feel like the year in which everything happened all the time constantly, also joining the fray is Bethesda’s three-pronged attempt to adapt their biggest games into virtual reality. Skyrim VR is PS4 exclusive for now, Fallout VR arrives on Steam in a fortnight, and DOOM VFR – well, that’s today. Prepare for Cacovision.

As it happens, I tried DOOM VFR – yeah, you know full what that F stands for, chummer – a few months back, though I slightly hid my thoughts about it within a broader chat with Bethesda about why they’re jumping aboard the… somewhat rickety VR bandwagon now. So, to recap: it looks the part, you can’t argue with craning your neck to take in the immense sight of a life-size Hellknight, and the bodies hit the floor at approximately the rate you would want them to.

Edit: I’ve been informed that DOOM VFR has in fact had a full movement option added since last I played it. Excellent news for those with strong constitutions!

But it’s also one of those VR games that uses teleportation-based movement, as full analogue movement in a game this intense would entail an extremely short ride to chundertown. I don’t blame ’em one bit, and they’ve done some stuff to tone down its mechanical nature – a double-tap to insta-move in the direction you’re facing, and a thematic conceit in which you play as the disembodied consciousness of a scientist, who can hope from mech-body to mech-body to reach new places and explain away death.

But, the teleport thing (where you use your motion controller to point at a spot on the ground, then click to move there, as opposed to walking) wound up feeling more artificial than does being rooted to the spot and unleashing a storm of bullets in Serious Sam VR or Robo Recall. Important proviso: I only played it for about twenty minutes, and so there’s a real chance that I simply grow more comfortable with and rapid at the full thing. (Also, as per the above edit, analogue movement is an option in the release build after all).

Alls I’m sayin’, like, is that you shouldn’t buy DOOM VFR expecting the same hyper-kinetic death-frenzy that Doom 2016 did so well, but if you want to shoot some really, really big 3D demons in a virtual hellscape, I’m pretty confident it ticks that box.

It’s out at 7pm ET/11pm UK time today, costs £20/$30, does not require any other version of Doom but is both Steam and Vive exclusive (what with Bethesda and Oculus not being the best of friends).

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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