One of the biggest focal points of Gamescom 2016 was none other than virtual reality. Now that the Oculus and HTC Vive have been out for some time and PlayStation VR is almost here it makes sense that the show was focused on selling and promoting VR to consumers. One of the many titles I got to try in VR at Gamescom 2016 last week was Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope. The next instalment in the Serious Sam series by Croteam VR.
Now Serious Sam VR was my first experience with the HTC Vive and honestly I found the experience somewhat underwhelming. The HTC Vive itself is a nice bit of kit that I can see offers some fantastic experiences thanks to the room scaling and motion controllers. All of the hardware itself felt good to wear and hold, and had a fair amount of polish to the production quality of each product. So once it was all set up on my head and in my hands it was time to give the game a whirl to see just how well Serious Sam plays in VR.
The premise behind Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope is that the vicious Mental is destroying ancient shrines across planets and Sam ‘Serious’ Stone is the last hope to save these important shrines. This is where the player comes in as they take up the role of Sam who is positioned at front door of said shrines as hordes of enemies flood the battlefield. Using a range of weapons with motion controllers it’s an insane free for all as you shoot, shoot and shoot some more through to victory.
Each stage is as simple as that. Grab your guns, fire away and then move onto the next stage. It can get a bit overwhelming at times when so many enemies are on screen but honestly it’s nothing to worry about once you get a hang of the aiming.
Furthermore, pick ups will often drop from the skies and by shooting at them will have them pulled towards you thanks to a grappling hook. This means that even refilling your health can be done from your single spot and therefore makes observation and exploring your environment a key part of the game. That said, however, you’re still glued to the floor and when you become swarmed with enemies you might find yourself jumping back or reacting in other ways. Unfortunately, because Sam doesn’t move you’ll feel that sense of immersion completely shatter and it can lead to some sickness if you’re not too careful.
I played Serious Sam VR for a good fifteen minutes and enjoied my time with it. That said, once I was done with it I found myself happy to move on to the next demo and leave it behind. Though there’s a lot of fun to be had using the motion controllers to fire away at waves of enemies as they flood the area in front of you, it’s also kind of frustrating that you can’t walk around, even a little bit. It seems like a waste to not even have a small amount of movement available to the player but instead you are locked in one position and must defend just that. It’s still enjoyable as a short VR experience but I don’t think it would be something I could pick up and play for a few hours. That initial “oh my gosh this is awesome” faded very quickly.
In closing I would suggest checking out Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope if you have a HTC Vive but it’s not a full game as of yet and doesn’t feel like you would get more than an hour or two out of it. I would much rather just wait for Serious Sam 4 to be released, whenever that might be.
Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope will be released on Steam in the coming months after an Early Access release.