Horror and Sci-fi + Space + Stealth + Scares + Virtual Reality = The perfect combination. When it comes to horror games they can be scary. When you add the Sci-fi atmosphere with the horror element, there are certain things we have come to be aware of, enjoy, and our expectations or at least the hope that our expectations will be somewhat met part of the way. So when Developer Firesprite first announced their vision of what we are normally used to, decided that would not be good enough. No, would not have any of that, they wanted to give us a game…an experience that would be remembered and one that would strive to be on the top of everyone’s list. But did they succeed? Did they live up to their promise? Let’s find out with The Persistence for the PlayStation VR. (Spoiler…they did)
In The Persistence, something has horribly gone wrong. You hear this voice that tells you it was responsible the ship you are on and you find out, later on, has the ability to make prints from DNA. These prints are the vessel or body you are using to move around and try to complete the objectives of the mission. Sounds simple right? I mean what could possibly go wrong out in space with parts of the ship’s systems not working, corridors that are dark, and strange 3D noises (that I might are perfectly well done)? Well, lots of things.
Before you start, you need to decide how you want to play. Do you want more comfort, play the more standard way or do you want to ease into it with Snap rotation? I used Standard, but if you are just getting into Virtual Reality, you may want to select Snap just so you can get used to everything. So thank you Firesprite for thinking about the different types of VR players out there. As you start out in your host body, the voice explains what is going.
This almost tutorial of sorts allows you to get used to how everything will work. Items such as stem cells, health to even opening doors and compartments are done simply by looking at them. Compartments and doors that can be opened will have a green marker. So simply look at it and presto. So again thank you Firesprite for not only allowing this simple control aspect but since this is space and you are on this ship, this simplicity and how it is detailed out, really adds that Sci-fi effect.
Let’s talk about the controls for a moment. The controls play out pretty well. When using your shield to help protect you as well as stun enemies, but only lasts a few seconds. The attack works but can be just a tad slow. So it’s a timing aspect that you will have to work out to have the most damage.
I was impressed with the teleport and how smooth it felt. This comes in handy when something might be blocking your way or when you need an extra defense to get out of harm’s way.
I want to talk about the map. You can access it at any time simply by pressing the touchpad and seeing it in VR is pretty cool. We will talk more about the map soon.
At the beginning of The Persistence, Firesprite has done something here that I don’t think I have really experienced, it gave me that out of body experience and shows they have the Sci-fi aspect down. What I am talking about is even though you are a print, seeing your dead body on the floor. It gives that real sense of if this were to happen to you and the struggle you would have and trying to understand the situation. But when you have to take DNA from your own body, it just enhanced that connection that can really only happen in VR.
The one thing I will say is The Persistence is not the same game twice. What I mean is when you die (and it will happen…a lot), it’s not simply game over. No, you are able to play as another print of yourself, so in essence a reprint, but the layout of the ship changes. This can either be in your favor or against as that was my case. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but adds to the experience.
But the layout is not the only thing that changes that you should be concerned with, you have the mutant enemies to deal with. Sure you could go in like a maniac and weapons swinging, but you will not last. No, your best friend at times will be stealth. And nothing says scares like being in the dark while you are sneaking around trying to get rid of the enemies. I mentioned sound earlier, there is nothing like going all stealth like in the dark with some components lighting your way as you try and sneak attack an enemy. Then new sounds can be heard to make you start to question what is around that corner or is something behind you? Or maybe the sounds you are hearing could be your mind playing tricks to counteract your heart beating.
Let’s talk about the things that will help you out the most besides your amazing defense and attack tactics. You do have the ability to detect enemies from behind walls, however, this, like your shields, only last a short while and will need to be recharged. So strategize accordingly…that is if the atmosphere doesn’t mess with you too much. You also have items that you can unlock and upgrade. The great thing about the items you unlock or upgrade does not lose its status when you happen to be defeated by an enemy or enemies that you can blame on controller…honestly I believe you.
But it is going to have to be up to you to decide what is the best unlockable or upgrade, because remember when you don’t succeed the first few times and have to start over, the layouts and enemies change. But invisibility does have its advantages and so do weapons that fire…just saying.
But just when you think Firesprite has set the bar, they actually add something special…an Interactive Companion App. This is where you find out how much your friends and family either love you or want to see you take part in some sick torture. With the app, the non-VR player will be able to add even more to the gameplay. The non-VR player can open doors to lure enemies away or towards you, discover new items and help the VR player obtain or pretend they are not there, freeze the enemies to make sure there is some hope or lead you into an ambush or even turn the lights out.
See its this level of thinking, the unlockables, the upgrades, endings, and the survival mode that allow The Persistence to be on your list to play. It’s the type of game that doesn’t need to have someone hold your hand, it’s the type of game you need to experience for yourself. It allows you to test yourself and shows that even when we fall down that we should get back up and try again, even if those right next to have the power to help or hinder your gameplay.
The Persistence is out now. A review copy was provided. Don’t forget the Interactive Companion App on the Google Play Store or Itunes. To learn more about Firesprite, please visit their site. Also, make sure you like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I’m going back in.