Robinson: The Journey is a Sci-Fi Adventure set on a far off world called Tyson III. Developed by Crytek exclusively for the Playstation VR. The game utilises the power of the Playstation VR and Cryengine to bring a sense of immersion I have not experienced in a VR game before.
The story in Robinson: The Journey is centered around Robin a young boy who is marooned on Tyson III. The only companions Robin has is a floating robot called HIGS and a pet baby T-Rex called Laika. HIGS disapproves of Laika due to the fact that since the crash he has taken a paternal role in Robins life. Meaning he wants to protect him from anything that can harm him, including Laika.
Robin’s whole goal in Robinson: The Journey is to find what caused the ship he came to Tyson III on ( the Esmeralda) to crash a year before the start of the game. Robin is hoping to find out if there are any other survivors on Tyson III and if his parents are among them.
The story unfolds in Robinson: The Journey by finding other HIGS units around the world to recover their data and watch the videos and messages stored on them. unfortunately I found myself bored by this method of story. This is due to the fact that I did not want to sit around and listen to the messages. Each time I found a HIGS unit I just wanted to get back to exploring. I wish that was an option to listen to the messages as I continued moving around the whole. This meant that I got annoyed by the story beats and just skipped a few messages to experience the world.
The gameplay in Robinson: The Journey is a little hit and miss. The main gameplay loop consists of exploring the different areas looking for HUGS unit in under to push the story forward. While exploring each area you will have to solve a number of different puzzles. I found these puzzles to be intuitive and just the right difficulty. A few puzzles caused me to get stuck for a little while. The sense of achievement I got when I finally figured out the puzzle was extremely rewarding.
Your companions HIGS and Laika are not just useless companions in the game. Laika has the ability to fetch items for you and roar to scare other creatures in the world to cause certain different effects to happen. Unfortunately these elements are severely under utilised and the game would benefit if Laika was used more. HIGS on the other hand is used in basically every area in the form of a mini game to manage the power distribution in that area. These mini games are cool little puzzles that manage to break up traveling as Robin at just the right time.
One of my favourite gameplay elements in Robinson: The Journey is the climbing aspect of the game. Crytek seems to of taken this element straight out of their other game The Climb. Moving from rock to rock or along vines in the jungle canopy is some of the best fun I had in the entire game. The problem was this element of the game also made me nauseous. If the climbing sections took to long I found that I had to stop playing the game all together for at least an hour.
The final aspect of the game is also the aspect that completionists might want to come back for once they have finished the main story. This is cataloging all the creatures found in the game. Scanning the creatures once adds them to your database. You have to scan a certain number of each creature to gain a full understanding of them. While completionists may want to come back to complete each creatures database entry. I did not find it enough of a reason for me to come back to the game once I finished the main story.
Graphics & Immersion
As always with a game developed by Crytek. Robinson: The Journey has an awe-inspiring world. The power of Cryengine on the Playstation VR gives some beautiful vistas and impressive sound design. Just as you would expect this world is full of life and exciting things for you to experience. The roar of a T-Rex seems like it is straight out of Jurassic Park. The creatures seemed so realistic especially Laika. I found myself jumping when I would turn around and Laika was just standing straight behind me. That is how amazing the immersion of this game is. There were points when somebody would come up to me and touch my shoulder to get my attention and I jumped right out of my skin. I am truly struggling to think of any Virtual Reality game that has built a world so beautiful.
The controls in Robinson: The Journey are simple when it comes to movement but seem rather annoying when you try manipulating objects. The movement is controlled by you walking with the left stick and turning with the right. Turning in this game is extremely well handled. You get to choose whether to turn in segments like a pie chart or in a continuous fluid motion like other normal first person games. This means you can choose which way best suits you or best effects you. For instance the fluid motion setting made me feel extremely nauseous where as the pie chart setting worked perfectly for me.
When it comes to manipulating objects in this game it becomes annoying. After picking up the object you can rotate it using the shoulder buttons and the analog sticks but the objects do not always move the way you envision. I often found myself struggling to get an object to go where I wanted and that made some of the puzzles unnecessarily complicated. Apart of this all other control function perfectly.