Layers of Concern VR launched late final 12 months, however we didn’t get the possibility to overview it on the time. Now that the VR world has settled down post-Half-Life: Alyx, we thought we’d test it out.
Very similar to horror in cinema, one of the best type of horror in VR is when there’s a mix of rigidity, suspense, gripping narrative with deserved soar scares, and really horrifying moments. It’s usually when a number of of these parts is lacking, or executed poorly, that you simply’re left with one thing fairly disappointing. Sadly, amidst many different issues, Layers of Concern VR is lacking a few of these parts totally whereas additionally failing to efficiently execute loads of the weather that it does have.
Layers of Concern VR is a VR port of a PC and console recreation titled, as you may need guessed, Layers of Concern. The unique launched in 2016 and has since obtained a sequel that launched final 12 months. Layers of Concern first got here to VR on the Google Daydream within the type of an abridged and closely modified model, Layers of Concern: Solitude. Nonetheless, Layers of Concern VR marks an try and convey the complete unique recreation to VR for the primary time.
Committing Cardinal VR Sins
To name Layers of Concern VR a port could be beneficiant. There have been really only a few adjustments to accommodate for the drastic shift in medium, and it feels extra like a fan-made VR mod than one thing produced by a studio. The sport’s mechanics have barely been translated into VR and what you wind up with is completely dreadful VR implementation with extremely clunky mechanics.
There are a number of quirks and oddities with the VR interactions, reminiscent of while you transfer your head too near a wall or object, the engine will typically produce compelled synthetic backwards motion, presumably to forestall you from transferring into the article. Any merchandise you decide up lacks any gravity – dropping an merchandise will see it float again to its unique place, missing any sense of physicality. Plus, you’ll additionally usually get caught on even the smallest of obstacles on the bottom whereas transferring by means of an surroundings. These are only a few examples.
Changing the UI to work in VR is an afterthought. Saved objects and subtitles sit obnoxiously on the backside of your discipline of a view, ready that by no means fairly feels comfy.
However maybe worst of all, the sport regularly makes use of visible distortion and results which can be each pointless and certain extremely nauseating to anybody who’s prone to movement illness. The consequences range, however will do factor like warp your whole discipline of view, rapidly shift your discipline of view forwards and backwards between two positions, and use sudden disorientating motion from one place to a different.
These results can’t be turned off, they usually really feel aggressively misplaced in a VR recreation. It’s a baffling resolution, seemingly taken from the unique and never modified in any respect, that can solely serve to nauseate many individuals.
There’s additionally little or no in the best way of consolation choices. Steady motion is the one motion methodology, accompanied by some fundamental tunneling toggles within the menu to permit for FOV dimming, which helps with nausea a small quantity. Nonetheless, even with tunneling turned on, there’s one thing about Layers of Concern VR’s motion that I discovered significantly uncomfortable, extra so than different video games. I contemplate myself to have comparatively robust VR legs, however the mixture of strange quirks and bugs with the VR implementation, together with the obnoxious results and the motion system made me really feel very nauseous, to the purpose the place I needed to take frequent breaks to make it by means of to the tip.
A Tortured Artist
All of those issues with the VR translation and implementation don’t set an excellent baseline for the sport, and sadly the story and gameplay aren’t overly compelling both.
The story that Layers of Concern tries to color is one in every of an artist who’s haunted by the recollections of his previous as he explores his household’s mansion whereas making an attempt to work on a brand new masterpiece. However your journey by means of the home turns into a horror labyrinth, haunted by the person’s household. You’ll transfer from room to room, accumulating vital artifacts and objects to be taught extra about his fall from grace and the failing relationship he had together with his spouse and daughter. It’s clear that 2018’s Rise of Madness (which is offered in VR as nicely) took some heavy cues from Layers of Concern when it initially launched.
It’s a reasonably inventory customary story, which is delivered primarily by means of uninteresting and uninspired voiceovers and subtitled sequences that limit your motion totally whereas they play out. When it comes to gameplay, you’ll spend 80% of your time strolling down empty corridors and checking if a door is locked or not. The opposite 20% are puzzles, which normally encompass simply discovering an object in a room, with just a few unremarkable exceptions.
The sport does do some attention-grabbing issues along with your discipline of view and enjoying with the environments in keeping with the place you’re wanting. Typically you’ll attain a lifeless finish, flip round to double test for those who missed one thing, solely to search out that the surroundings behind you has modified totally. It’s a neat, if not very unique, trick that’s enjoyable when it really works. These dynamic and trippy surroundings adjustments are maybe one of many higher elements of the sport general.
On the subject of the sport’s horror, the standard is far and wide. The opening hour or so of the sport is principally low-cost soar scares and the remainder of the sport mixes these with sequences which can be a bit extra suspenseful, with some grotesque imagery blended in. There are some genuinely attention-grabbing horror set items, however by the point the sport will get to them it’s method too late. The higher horror sections come within the latter half of the sport, however by that time, my persistence had worn skinny.
Every of the sport’s entertaining sections are buffered by too many filler corridors and rooms that begin to look the identical and don’t characteristic something vaguely attention-grabbing inside them. The sport isn’t that lengthy to start with, round 2-Three hours complete, however the uninteresting areas between well-crafted set items make it really feel for much longer.
Whereas there’s a considerably attention-grabbing conclusion to the sport’s paper-thin storyline, the complete ending reveal performs out as a cutscene on a 2D display screen suspended in a black void, ripped straight from the unique recreation. It’s nonetheless from the standpoint of the sport’s protagonist, however isn’t in VR in any respect, then you definitely’re immediately thrust again into VR to play out the final minute of the ending. It’s a disgustingly inappropriate word to finish the story on, but additionally encapsulates the issues that plague the sport from begin to end.
Layers of Concern VR Assessment Ultimate Verdict
The saddest half about Layers of Concern VR is that there’s nothing overly redeeming or ok within the recreation’s content material to beat the horrible VR implementation and mechanics. If the meat of the sport and story featured one thing extra compelling, then maybe it will be price pushing by means of the stodgy VR, however that isn’t actually the case right here. Aside from some good visible results, highly effective horror set items, and some stable soar scares, it’s simply not price contemplating.
When you nonetheless wish to play Layers of Concern VR for the story and the horror set items, you’re most likely higher off simply enjoying the unique flatscreen model on PC or consoles. No less than then you definitely’ll be enjoying a recreation that was designed for the platform you play it on, versus a port that was haphazardly thrown along with seemingly no care or respect for the work required to make a profitable translation between two very totally different mediums. When you’re a hardcore horror fan with an iron abdomen desperately on the lookout for 2-Three hours of content material to whet your urge for food, there’s one thing right here for you, however in any other case I’d suggest wanting elsewhere. There are much better VR horror video games on the market. Layers of Concern VR could technically be a horror recreation, however the scariest half is the dismal missteps made in bringing the sport to a VR platform.
Ultimate Rating: | 2/5 Stars | Disappointing
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Layers of Concern is offered for PC VR on Steam and the Oculus Retailer for $19.99. This overview was carried out on the Steam model of the sport by way of Oculus Hyperlink utilizing an Oculus Quest.