EVR Preview – E3 Hands On

by on June 18, 2013

Being a backer of the Oculus Rift, I’m one of the lucky few people to own an early devkit. I’m not one to get motion sickness, I travel a lot and have only experienced a queezy stomach once, on a dodgy ferry crossing a choppy channel, but after playing with the Rift for the first time at home, on a number of freely available demos, I felt sick. My head was pounding, my stomach churning, I was genuinely disappointed. Not only had I been waiting months between my original Kickstarter backing, to the unit arriving on my door, but Virtual Reality is something I’ve been looking forward to since childhood. VR and hoverboards – when we have them, we know we’re officially in the future! So as you can imagine, I was a little upset about the end result.

That is, until I got my hands on the EVR demo at E3. I have no idea how the smart developers at CCP did this, but they made the Oculus Rift into the experience it was designed for, and restored my faith in Virtual Reality.

EVR is a first-person space shooter, with two teams of 6 players battle it out in a dogfight. At the moment it’s very basic, it is a demo after all. The player starts in the cockpit of their space shuttle, and as the game begins, your shuttle is launched out of a dock into space. Whoosh! There’s that VR roller-coaster effect. Once in space, the controls are very easy, you use the left analogue stick to fly the ship, and move your head to aim your weapons. Hold down RT to fire space lazers, which look really cool, but the truly impressive mechanic is in the missiles. Hold LT and move your head until your reticule locks on to a target, then simple let go of LT to fire your missile. Moving your head around in a 3D space to find and secure targets is an exhilarating experience, and flying the ship with the use of a single analogue stick means the game isn’t overwhelming. That’s a problem a lot of the other demos had, you’ve got one analogue stick for movement, another for looking around, and then your head movement is on an additional axis – it’s all too much! Hopefully more demos will follow suit with the CCP method, and we’ll see some advancement in the VR area, which may encourage AAA studios to support the device. There are already rumours of possible PS4 support. Fingers crossed.

Here’s to hoping CCP develop this into a fully fledged game, and release it sometime soon!