There are a few things when it comes to Science Fiction that help make it unique. You have the story, you have the atmosphere, and you have the discovery. When all of those come together in such a way, it somehow can pull you in and make you a part of its world. It can make you care about its characters and what happens to them and it can make you have a passion for the story. But does Developer VERTICAL ROBOT take what is special about sci-fi, blend it with Virtual Reality, and brings us a winning formula? Let’s find out with Red Matter for the PlayStation VR.
In Red Matter, you play the role of an astronaut of the Atlantic Union named Agent Epsilon. Your job is a pretty simple one, go to this research facility that doesn’t really seem to be of the most honest of operations and uncover the secrets of the enemy, the Volgravians, on one of Saturn’s moons, the base of Rhea. Sure it sounds simple and non-threatening is what I thought. I mean what could possibly go wrong? I mean surely when my ship is going up in flames and I have to crash land some sort of buttons…any buttons would work…you would think.
But no…not one button worked. Nothing worked. At this point, I was thinking I should be singing kumbaya my lord and thinking about all the wrong choices I made, but it was a miracle I survived that crash landing. Bonus points for at least the construction of this ship to have me survive and all. Lucky for me, my suit is pretty awesome. For one, I can breathe and two, it does have some cool tools that I can use, oh and I can teleport too.
I want to point out how well the Developer incorporated the Move controllers. Using the left Move controller is where you can switch from flashlight, to claw gripper, to the scanner. The scanner is pretty cool as it will also translate Vulgarian writings so you can understand more about what is going on as you continue to progress with the story and the solving of the puzzles. Also, being able to read the text that is scanned is a how it should be, clear and readable.
When I first landed and seeing the area around me I wasn’t sure what to think. But it’s when I heard what needed to be done, going through the clearing, and seeing this beautiful world before my eyes that really got me excited. There was just something about seeing at least to me, this open undiscovered world of Rhea and seeing this facility like it was Area 51.
Now as I mentioned there are puzzles within in Red Matter and they are pretty good. Some are simple which you will figure out pretty easily to those that will make you want to think and might start to test your frustration limit (nothing too bad). Not one time did I just want to quit as I had to know more about what was going on. The thing is, the Developer has done a wonderful job of somehow putting the answers either very near to you or right in front of you that afterward you start to think to yourself “this frustration never happened and any recordings that you may have done can easily be deleted to prove you have this and no puzzles gave you any problems”. Then you realize that people were watching and well, great job VERTICAL ROBOT…great job.
I do want to point out that there will be times where you have to take the elevator and again, the Developer
Let’s talk about the sound. The music hit the dramatic marks when it was needed and deserved. Riding in the elevator and hearing those sounds to just enough to make you be aware to still keep you engaged at the same time to even the voices talking to you was all on point.
Visually, some of the scenes were really amazing to just look at. There were times that I went back just so I could do a screen capture because of how beautiful they were. The text was very readable and clear as I mentioned, which is important in VR when having to make things out. Being able to scan things from a different language to see it translated was nicely done. The lighting was lit just enough and the darkness was at the right amount. Nothing where you couldn’t really see, but were able to make things out.
I don’t want to give away too much because this is a story-driven adventure that you need to go on and find out the secret for yourself.. Everything from the crash landing to the discovery of the secret has the perfect sci-fi formula and when you mix that in with the immersion of Virtual Reality, is just the extra layer on top of that formula. If there is anything I would love to see is more of the Red Matter base of Rhea and I would love to see this become a series. There is just too much of this world I want to know more about.
When you come into an adventure and are faced with the unknown, it can be scary and challenging. But if you take the time and do not rush for the ending, you can actually enjoy the journey and isn’t that what we all could do a little more of, taking our time to enjoy?
Red Matter is out now. A review copy was provided. To learn more about Red Matter, please visit the site. To learn more about VERTICAL ROBOT, please visit their site and make sure you follow them on Twitter.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to go back in and enjoy the scenery.