Gaming has come a long way, hasn’t it? From the pixelated sprites of the classic Doom, we’re now able to recreate hyper-realistic scenarios in virtual reality. Hooray, technology! As with everything, it’s not perfect yet—there’s always room for improvement. While Farpoint shows how a fully developed shooter can work in virtual reality, we’re still far from recreating Call of Duty campaigns perfectly. That, in itself, isn’t that much of a weakness. At the least, it’s a proof of concept that hyper-realistic shooters can be profitable endeavors in the future.
The first true PSVR shooter. Except for the fully playable Resident Evil 7, Farpoint is the first PlayStation VR game with a fully formed campaign, movement, and aiming mechanics. Most games until this point relied on shaky, unpolished vomit inducers or theater-like fixed perspectives where you can’t do anything. There wasn’t much immersion. With Farpoint, you can move and shoot freely within the game world. It’s as if you’re actually inside the world it wants you to play through.
The limits of VR. We’re still far away from being dropped into a truly virtual world. As such, the world and artificial intelligence of Farpoint are more in tune with arcade games than full-on shooters. Movement is largely linear. There’s no need to backtrack. Enemies attack you from the front. Most attacks shoot and jump at your face.
Still a thrill ride. Despite the limitations, Farpoint is still suspenseful. Starting with simple spider-aliens, the game progresses through harder and harder enemy encounters that will tend to mob and overwhelm inexperienced players.
Immersive environment. Farpoint is set in an alien planet that looks similar to Mars but with volcanic activity and weird underground locations. Because of its location, there’s not much to develop in terms of scenery. Most locations are vast rocky deserts with sprinklings of lush landmarks that still feel amazing to behold in VR.
Seamless controls. The best way to play Farpoint is with the new PlayStation VR Aim Controller. Holding an actual analog for a gun is such a refreshing change of pace from the usual controllers we’re so used to. The controller is a two-handed rifle analog with the usual PS4 buttons and sticks where your hands are. It’s easy enough to master without fiddling around in and out of the VR headset. Even with multiple guns, gameplay is still smooth.
Customizable motion levels. VR isn’t for everyone. Even strong-willed individuals I know couldn’t spend hours on end under VR. Motion sickness is a real problem. By default, Farpoint uses the PSVR’s tracking mechanism to look and move. It’s simple enough that you don’t have to move at all from a fixed location. This can be customized in various ways—including an option where you can move using the left and right sticks. Personally, I prefer this method as it gives a lot more rein on movability and exploration. However, it’s still a motion sickness magnet. Anything but the tenderest movements can send my head spinning. Even in light settings, it was difficult lasting more than 45 minutes under the headset.
Standard story. Finishing Farpoint’s six-hour story is nothing to write home about. A gravitational anomaly leaves three astronauts stranded on an alien planet somewhere in the universe. Using holographic records left behind by the other two crew members, you, the playable character, must find a way to get back to Earth. The story feels similar to The Martian and Alien Too similar, in fact, that it doesn’t feel so revolutionary. Still, that’s not why you came to Farpoint, is it?
Different ways to play. A six-hour runtime isn’t much for a shooter. Even if game sessions only last thirty minutes each, it’s still a far cry from a long campaign. Luckily, there are other game modes available—co-op and challenge mode. If you know someone else with the game and gear, you can play through the campaign again with a friend in co-op mode. You can also play through a series of challenge runs with different gameplay conditions.
Moderately expensive. Like the PSVR, Farpoint is an investment in the VR economy. With the Aim Controller, it costs P4,995 in Datablitz. Without the controller, it’s only P2,295. It’s still quite a price for a small shooter.
By our current standards, Farpoint isn’t an amazing game. But as a proof of concept, Farpoint shines. It’s a complete game made for the VR. It has a working gameplay system that thrills players. If anything, it’s a sign that more advanced VR shooters are possible in the near future.
|Publisher||Sony Interactive Entertainment|
|Platform||PlayStation 4 (with PSVR required, PS Aim Controller optional)|
|Mode||Single player, co-op|