When you enter a world of Virtual Reality we go in looking to escape. Sometimes we are thrown into that escape and sometimes that escape starts to take over and we become one with that world. But when the world you start to become accustomed to, starts to change every time you enter it, can make things very interesting. So does Developer Solfar Studios give you what you need? Let’s find out with In Death for the PlayStation VR.
The one thing I noticed before even starting was the music. Sometimes seeing the world for the first time will put you in that time frame, but somehow the music has made such an impression, that music helped set the tone as much as the gothic world of In Death itself. But what is In Death truly about? The dream kingdom known has Heaven is abandoned. Ruins have crumbled and creatures and demons well, have taken over. It’s up to you, to restore harmony and balance. Sounds easy right?
Well, in theory, it does. You are going to have to go in all roguelike, get your trusty bow and shoot your way through destroying enemies and collecting money and trying to survive. Because In Death does not allow any save points. So when you die, no matter how far you may have gotten, that world as you see it and remember it is all gone. More about this in a minute. In Death can be played with either the DualShock 4 controller or both Move controllers. One thing I really like is how easy it is to switch between the two in the options before starting or while in game. Let’s look at how you move around, shoot, climb, dodge, and how to swap.
Using the Square and Triangle buttons allow you to rotate and holding down the left Move button will allow you to move constantly. If you want or need to, you have a shard that you can throw that will make you move much faster to get out of those situations when the enemies are starting to invade your personal space. What I also like is seeing not only your health but also how much of an arrow you have right on the bow. It really is so convenient having it right in front of you. Also, just holding out your hand to show you how much
But being as this is Virtual Reality, there is something about having a controller in both hands, pulling back on the bow and firing at the target. Now I will say, in the beginning, it took just a little bit of time to get used to how to move, turn and shoot without hesitation, but once you get used to it, everything just clicks and becomes this second nature I never thought I needed or wanted. As I entered this world after my training, I couldn’t help but notice the architecture and the detail that went into this world. Sometimes it’s nice just to look at your surroundings, even if it is stained glass.
But when you first see the world before you, you get a sense of the length of the journey you must go on before you reach that distance, but I knew I had to do this. It was like I was being tested from the Gods to see if I could handle what was thrown at me. In the beginning, I let them down…many many times. But I did not give up. Each arrow that was shot, each arrow that was blocked by my shield proved that I was becoming stronger and stronger. That is until I became overpowered and I died.
But earlier I mentioned how the world as you see it and remembered it is all gone. Every time you die, remember there are no save points, you start over in a new layout. The world is procedurally generated which really adds to the replayability. After your death, you see how well you did, but also the achievements you have unlocked. I really love the visual achievements that you see. But keep in mind the more achievements that you unlock, the more of the world In Death will tailor itself to challenge you from the number of enemies to the types of enemies. You are able to check on each one to see what is needed to unlock it which is a very nice touch. Also, you are able to see how you stack up in the leaderboards. Yes, leaderboards are present and for this to be in In Death is a very nice touch. But once you are ready to go back in, like I mentioned, the world is procedurally generated. And if you feel that the path that was generated for you is not to your liking, may I suggest the aerial approach?
Now if you are not so keen on just having a bow and arrow, you can upgrade to a crossbow. Which yes is awesome and I can’t tell what I really enjoy more. I mean sure there is something about the mighty crossbow that makes you feel awesome, but there is something about the bow and arrow here, where you can peak around walls not only so you can sneak on the enemies, but also use the walls for defense. When you have enough gold collected, feel free to stop on the side of the path to the buildings with the light. If you do not have enough gold, you will get this light that moves in a NO formation letting you know. But if you have enough gold to get those powerful arrows or help increase your health, all you have to do is grab and it shall be yours. Yes, exploding, fire, and freezing arrows are very well worth the price of admission.
Sound wise, like I mentioned sets the tone here. I loved the music and it’s something that I could just listen to by itself. Hearing the arrows fly over your head or creatures right behind you is really good and plays as it should. There were times when I could hear creatures from a room, but I went there and they were not there. I could be on a rooftop and I could hear the creatures below me. Enemies will appear behind you and if you wait, they will get you. So hearing them at the right moment before turning around played very well here. It’s like I was being watched and whatever was watching me was just waiting for me to make a mistake.
Visually speaking, In Death is very clear. While I was shooting enemies from a distance, I could tell where they were. Seeing the details of this gothic setting was very beautiful that I could stand there and look at the designs. The enemies were detailed from what they were wearing to the shields that some of them were carrying.
If there would be anything that I would have loved to see is the ability to have some sort of multiplayer. Ethier as in co-op or in like a Deathmatch. Capture the flag or freeze tag environment. Does it need it, no? Not at all. It would be just one more thing that already adds to the replayability that is found here with the procedurally generated levels and leaderboards.
Sometimes in Virtual Reality, we are giving an opportunity to go through the doorway of adventure and sometimes that doorway chooses us as the ones that can enter. When you come across such an opportunity, don’t pass it by, but embrace it. And in life, couldn’t we all use more opportunities instead of being passed by?