The Darkish Photos: Switchback VR Assessment
The Darkish Photos: Switchback VR Assessment
Switchback VR’s story appears like an afterthought, placing you within the function of an unnamed protagonist on a hellish rollercoaster trip throughout ten totally different phases. Most are areas featured within the first season of The Darkish Photos Anthology, however you’re by no means actually advised a lot about why the protagonist is visiting them or any of the few supporting characters they meet. That’s partially as a result of Switchback VR could be very brief, solely taking me about 4 hours to finish, however it’s disappointing all the identical, given how good of a job Supermassive normally does offering backstory and depth to its characters.
However what it lacks in story, Switchback VR largely makes up for in gameplay. Whereas the on-rails nature of its motion naturally limits the place you’ll be able to go, you’ll be able to transfer your head to go searching in any path in VR. It was enjoyable to shortly flip every time I heard eerie screams or enemies creeping up on me within the background or often having to bodily duck to keep away from falling beams and leaning pillars. That situational consciousness is essential as enemies will typically sneakily seem to the left and proper of your peripheral imaginative and prescient.
You’ll all the time have two weapons to fend off enemies, every independently managed with the PS VR2’s Sense controllers. When you begin each degree with the default pistols, you’ll be able to seize ammo-limited options like a revolver or a machine gun by capturing purple crates that seem in handy sections of every stage. It’s annoying that these particular weapons are locked into the hand you initially shot the crate with, however you’ll be able to nonetheless have some enjoyable switching up your technique for a bit whenever you discover them. For instance, you could possibly use a machine gun to swiftly take away enemies near your cart and preserve ammo by firing the pistol at enemies additional away. Different weapons like a flare gun are required to resolve sure puzzles and progress additional – they don’t require lots of thought to resolve, as you simply have to shoot at sure objects to maintain the observe shifting ahead, however it’s a good change of tempo from simply capturing hordes of enemies.
The capturing mechanics themselves have been simplified for VR, with firing and reloading each mapped to 2 buttons on every Sense controller since so few are wanted total. That’s not a foul factor as on-rail shooters focus extra on throwing as many enemies at you as attainable in a brief time period than nuanced gunplay. Nonetheless, capturing in Switchback VR feels responsive and the motion-controlled aiming could be very correct, which made headshots extraordinarily rewarding every time I pulled one off.
The heads you’ll be popping fluctuate relying on the stage you’re on, starting from customary zombies to flying vampires. Most of those enemies shall be acquainted to those who performed any of the primary season of The Darkish Photos Anthology, every a trustworthy recreation of the monsters from these video games. Killing enemies or destroying inanimate objects akin to bottles, empty crates, and skulls will enhance your rating for a degree, which is a pleasant incentive to deal as a lot injury as you’ll be able to. There are even native and on-line leaderboards so that you can evaluate scores with different gamers, however it appears like a shallow train after they don’t measure necessary components like accuracy.
Switchback VR nails the creepy environment and rigidity of every stage – from the darkish and deserted World Warfare 2 freighter seen in Man of Medan to the sandy underground ruins of the traditional empire featured in Home of Ashes. Sadly, the frequent overuse of low cost soar scares shortly overshadows any constructing suspense offered by a given location. Whereas the primary two enjoyably caught me without warning, it doesn’t take lengthy for them to change into extra annoying than alarming.
However whereas the jumpscares did little to maintain me on the sting of my seat, the handful of sections the place Switchback VR took benefit of the PS VR2’s eye-tracking had been truly impressively unsettling. These areas have enemies that transfer nearer and nearer to you every time you blink, which is an extremely novel expertise for any recreation that left me eager to see extra. It is a disgrace that just a few moments of Switchback VR make use of this idea, however the components that do are an awesome showcase of the potential of this new tech in future horror video games made for the headset.
Though Supermassive has achieved an excellent job of together with a few of the PS VR2’s new expertise, Switchback VR nonetheless feels a bit technologically unpolished in a couple of locations. I observed a couple of efficiency points whereas taking part in: Some background textures, like tree branches, would randomly seem because the cart moved nearer to them, and I had three cases the place the display froze for a couple of seconds. These points had been comparatively minor and didn’t completely throw my trip off the rails, however they had been nonetheless noticeable and annoying on such a quick journey.
Regardless of its brief size, Switchback VR does provide some replayability by letting you go down totally different routes that assist shake up every run. Most of those choices are made by capturing at particular gates that mean you can change your cart’s course, which is a pleasant solution to mix that selection into the motion. You even get a whole view of your route on the finish of every stage, together with a tease of the alternate paths you could possibly have taken, encouraging me to return in and see what I missed. That stated, the little little bit of selection these routes provide isn’t very memorable when you’ll be able to nonetheless see every thing Switchback VR has to supply in two or three playthroughs.
The Darkish Photos: Switchback VR Screenshots
Along with altering your route, some phases offer you an choice to save lots of, kill, or abandon survivors that seem in some phases. Every survivor is tied to an non-obligatory puzzle that offers you period of time to at objects in a selected order. Nonetheless, like most of Supermassive’s video games, the vast majority of these small resolution factors have little or no affect on the general story.
Boss fights are additionally included on the finish of some phases, however their execution leaves quite a bit to be desired. These battles pit you in opposition to antagonists from their respective Darkish Photos entries, akin to the ultimate type of the Sailor Woman in Man of Medan, whose boss battle consists of her levitating and throwing projectiles at you. Many of the boss fights find yourself boring and unremarkable, like busy work to gradual you down slightly than an epic impediment it’s essential to overcome to complete the stage.