Espire 1: VR Operative, Hands On

A blur of a few weeks ago at PAX I go to go hands-on with Espire1: VR Operative from Digital Lode. On that day the release had been pushed back to a loose ‘pre-xmas’. It felt appropriate to hold back until a day like today, when the launch date was finally announced.

And that Release Date is THIS WEEK! Yes, THIS WEEK!

The game has been described as a Stealth VR Shooter, Guy has been dribbling over it for months because to him, it’s Splinter Cell VR. Either way Espire 1: VR will certainly tick some boxes.

Espire1 has been put together by a passionate and driven micro team of developers. The game ‘feels’ like a release from a much bigger studio and deserves some attention. I can only hope the install base on the PSVR gives it a strong showing. I for one will be leaping into an Espire unit this weekend. To stealth, shoot, scan, climb and hack my way out of trouble.

Espire1: VR Operative – it’s VR Splinter Cell, what could go wrong?

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Concrete Genie Review, PS4

Only last week my wife was watching me play another game and she asked ‘why is it always shooting’? Sadly I knew exactly what she meant, then I fired up my Concrete Genie review code and we both got lost for a few hours.

First party developers Pixelopus have created something new and unique, a game that drips with charm and subtlety. It is fair to say although short by some standards Concrete Genie is a beautiful experience that lifts your spirit.

Concrete Genie tells the tale of a boy saving his hometown Denska from darkness with magical graffiti. It is beautiful, colourful and enriching.

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Blood & Truth, PSVR Review

Every now and then I play a game and it floors me. It’s not often mind you, I’m talking once or twice in a console generation. Anyone who reads my stuff or follows me online, knows I am a PSVR fan and I love it, warts and all. But ‘Blood & Truth’ is something special, it’s a leap forward in mainstream big budget VR experiences and I am going to break from the traditional idea of a “Review” for this one.

So here we go….

“Do you and your PSVR a favour……….Go and BUY Blood & Truth”!

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BoxVR Review, PSVR

Look, I am the first to admit I can’t play rhythm games, my physical structure does not generally move to music in any shape or form without a massive amount of encouragement or threats.

Yet, here I am, really enjoying the music and movement co-ordination with BoxVR.

Overall, BoxVR isn’t going to replace an actual gym or a six mile run, but it does get you off the couch and it does help you to break a sweat. I can’t say it has changed my life, but I will say this, there is a spring in my step that wasn’t there in this tired old body a couple of weeks ago and I am looking forward to my next session more than the Triple A game I’m supposed to be playing.

Think on that.

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Blood & Truth PSVR hands-on preview

We recently had the opportunity to send cheeky chappie Darren Price on an hands on adventure with new PSVR title Blood and Truth, and it turned better than a Bank Holiday in the Queen Vic.

“I recently entered a world of old lags, muppets and geezers for a trip to the East-End London with PlayStation AU and their up-coming PSVR game, Blood & Truth.

Blood & Truth comes to us from SIE London Studio, the same developers that knocked out the VR Worlds anthology title for PSVR. The new game is an extension of their acclaimed The London Heist sequence that was the highlight of VR Worlds.

If you are familiar with Guy Ritchie films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, you are on the right track. This is a game chock-full of violent Cockney villains, so expect loads of tasty-looking, tooled-up geezers, lots of swearing and comedy East-End accents.”

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Falcon Age, PSVR Review

Since launch PSVR has been a platform full of experiences and a lot of them either off the wall or surprisingly original. Falcon Age probably sits in those two camps with a 20/80 split.

A brave new single player experience from Outerloop Games, a Seattle based Indie company with a pretty tight team roster. It shows in the way the game has been crafted, it is deep without being complex and does exactly what it needs to. Built from the ground up as a VR title the game is a sci-fi adventure in the shoes of Ara, a young girl imprisoned by some temperamental robots on a barren planet.

Pretty straightforward then, the first few game days get you into the control scheme nicely by running some prison day-to-day routines and forcing you to converse with one of your captors. Some of the humour, writing and art style here start to feel like a nod toward Portal and that’s okay.

It’s a setting that serves the purpose of the story, but feels light on structure, which isn’t that big a deal when you remember this is a game, in VR where you can fist-bump your Falcon before sending it off to rip up a rabbit.

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Byte Size – The Wizards Enhanced Edition, PSVR Review

Harry Potter is a shit Wizard, make no mistake.

In my youth, when books were still a big thing I had firm favourites in the Wizarding space, these guys were qualified as Wizards because they actually did proper magic and I loved it, and I wanted to do it too.

The Good – Casting spells! With your hands!

The Bad – Old School level design and AI.

The Ugly – 2006 called, they want their textures back!

Overall it is a fun game, while being a throwback to the nineties in look and level feel it offers plenty of suspended disbelief as you creep around looking for the next encounter and spend a few minutes fervently creating and using spells.

It is a game I will go back to and certainly puts the power in your hands.

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Byte Size – Guns ‘n’ Stories: Bulletproof, PSVR Review

Waveshooters have unfortunately been the staple diet of the Playstation VR for over 2 years, Guns’n’Stories: Bulletproof is no different.

The Good – The variety of weapons and the changing game-world was entertaining, as it kept me on my toes over the roughly 90min romp.

The Bad – It’s a wave shooter that does little to revolutionise the genre and frankly there are better titles on PSVR that should be played first.

The Ugly – The missions are just too long and overstay their welcome.

This is far from a ‘must buy’, but it actually looks quiet good and is mechanically sound to play. Simply put, it was a fun way for me and the kids to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon. It has to be given credit for doing what it says on the box and doing it well. There are GUNS, and they are fun. There are STORIES, and they are (at times) quite funny.

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Byte Size – Gungrave VR, PSVR Review

Initially I knew nothing about Gungrave, but after a quick Google Search, I came to understand that this is a long standing Anime franchise from Japan and it has had a single video game release back in 2002 on the PS2.

Gungrave’s overarching story is about Brandon Heat or ‘Grave’, a reincarnated death dealer who seeks revenge on evil syndicates and baddies and …well you get the idea.

The Good – There isn’t any. Maybe the character model of Grave, it looks quite good at times, and the tutorial is quite good. But that’s about it.

The Bad – The shooting feels slow, the enemies are mindless cannon fodder and the whole game lacks any identity.

The Ugly – It’s just not fun. Nothing in the game adds anything to the brilliantly immersive VR gaming-space.

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Byte Size – Beat Saber, PSVR Review

With Playstation VR going from strength to strength in 2018 though, it seemed only matter of time before an immersive music-based game would raise its virtual head. Low and behold, little known Czech-based developer Beat Games have done just that.

The Good- Beat Saber is a game where the whole family can play….and more importantly, WANT to play. It is unique, easy to understand and fun. There is no motion sickness, looks great and even works as light physical exercise. My wife is NOT (yes in capitals)… not a gamer, and she loves this game.

The Bad – The music selection is very limited, which is a big deal for a music rhythm game. None of the songs you will likely know, and worse you cannot add custom music like our PC cousins can.

The Ugly – At $48.95 it’s pretty expensive when compared to some of the other amazing titles on offer on PSVR.

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