In 1993, a thirteen year old me was sitting at my PC, meant to be doing homework of some kind. Instead I was playing what would become one of the most important and influential games of all time, Doom. At the time I wasn’t thinking of the possibilities this game would create in the future or how it helped define a whole new genre. In fact, the only thing I kept thinking about was how bad my nightmares were going to be. Fast forward to 2017 and the nightmares have become a reality…. AND I LOVE IT!!!
Doom VFR for Playstation VR submerges you in the world of Doom. Developed by id Software and published by the mighty Bethesda Softworks, Doom VFR takes you straight into the depths of Hell.
Starting out in a UAC research facility on Mars, you take control of the sole survivor of the demonic invasion, Dr. M. Peters. Due to a UAC contingency protocol Dr. Peters’ consciousness has been transferred into a cybernetic brain matrix. His task is to clear the facility of the demonic horde.
Now, I get it, this isn’t the deep, immersive story of something like Dishonored or Half Life 2 BUT, it’s Doom. We need demons, big demons, bigger demons and some crazy big weapons to make these demons go boom. All the classics are in there like the shotguns, RPGs and of course the legendary BFG.
Doom VFR relies heavily on its gameplay. As some VR first-person shooters tend to eliminate the movement options and focus mainly on aiming and shooting I was interested to see how this would be handled and I was not disappointed. Movement is based on teleportation. You look where you want to go and warp there. This can induce motion sickness but is a really clever way of getting past the limitations of running. It also leads to my favourite kill method, the beautifully gory telefrag where you stun an enemy then teleport into them for a gore shower.
The control system really takes some getting used to. There are 3 ways to play, Dualshock 4 controller, PSVR AIM controller or Playstation Move controllers. As I don’t own the AIM controller I tried the standard and Move choices. Playstation Move controllers were a must for me when playing Doom VFR. They allowed me to shoot at enemies with one hand and teleport with the other. There is also the ability to strafe left and right and take a step forward or backwards. This is handy when trying to get closer to objects after teleporting just out of range. The Dualshock 4 is adequate however aiming at the enemies and teleporting is hindered due to the controller only being able to point at one target at a time.
Graphics & Sound
PSVR games have struggled graphically with most games focusing on playability rather than stunning animation. Doom VFR has managed to deliver a decent mix of the two. I played it on a standard PS4 and whilst PSVR is optimised for the PS4 Pro I still had an amazing visual experience. The demons feel like they are genuinely trying to rip my soul apart and being in that world gave me the perspective of how massive they really are, especially when they get up close and you’re having to look up at them. There is a sense of claustrophobia when in the research facility and Hell looks terrifying! One downside of the visuals is the weapons. It seems as though the sizes of the weapons may have been miscalculated which leaves some weapons going through the heads of enemies when aiming from close range.
Subtle sounds around the UAC facility add to the sense of terror. Pipes clanking and alarms going off in the distance set an uneasy tone in the research facility. There is a spooky hum throughout the game and the classic, adrenalin pumping, heavy metal soundtrack kicks in during demon fights, just in time to get the heart racing for battle. If you do play Doom VFR then I suggest investing in a decent gaming headset in order to fully appreciate the brilliant subtleties of its sounds.
The one thing I feel is missing is a multiplayer aspect. Being on Mars or in Hell with a team or space marines in virtual reality would be epic.
Written by Steve Kyriacou
Steve loves all kinds of games. Primarily playing on PS4, he is a self-confessed Nintendo fan boy, owning every Nintendo console to date. His favourite games series include The Legend of Zelda, Resident Evil, God Of War and Uncharted with the guilty pleasure of Super Mario games. He is currently playing a lot of PSVR games and is really excited about where VR technology is going.