Game: Rez Infinite
Developer: Monstars Inc., Resonair
Publisher: Enchance Games
Reviewed on: Oculus Rift (PC Steam code provided)
Virtual Reality is not an easy platform for games to translate to. Some, however, feel like they were born for VR in the first place and slip into it like a well-fitted glove. Rez Infinite is one of those games. Whilst suffering from a few short comings in the general gameplay department, it presents a captivating experience that stays with you long after the headset comes off.
Rez Infinite presents an on-rail shooter, sweeping through geometric shapes and pumping music that ties into your shots in rhythmic patterns. You simply point or hover over targets with your cross hair to select them, then release the button to unleash your shots which thumb and align with the beat in a pleasing way. Along the way enemies may drop power-ups that may boost armour or increase the devastation of your attacks, particularly helpful once you reach the bosses at the end of each of the five levels.
The bosses elevate the strategy and depth a little by tasking you to be more selective with your targets. Hitting the right ones first could mean the difference between failure and success as leaving high nuisance enemies free to inflect damage on you will be detrimental. Whilst most of what you’re shooting at spins in from different directions as small grouped waves, akin to something you’d see in classic 2D shooters, the bosses are multi-target entities that force you to prioritise your actions and elevates the soundscape further.
The atmosphere is Rez Infinite’s strength. With the headset on, you’re enveloped in this sweeping landscape that draws you in; a visceral experience in a way that’ll catch you off guard as the scene changes and the beat begins to crescendo. Whether that’s my inner child being mesmerised by Rez Infinite’s eye-opening traits to the possibilities of VR, or just the game’s inherent ability of being a natural VR experience, I’m not entirely sure. Either way there’s something a little bit magical about the presentation and how well it works once you’re inside it’s virtual world.
Just when you think the game has peaked, in comes ‘Area X’. It’s a single level that builds on the game’s original elements but was built specifically in mind for VR, and it shows. The geometric lines and shapes are changed up for complex particle effects and removes the reins of linear progression in favour of free movement in a spectacular 3D space. It’s a shame it only serves as proof of concept, but half way through I found that I’d stop shooting things altogether and was just floating around in a daze of the mesmerizing visuals around me – so immersing, in fact, that removing the headset and being dragged back to reality made me feel a little claustrophobic back in my non-infinite little room.
All that being said, some things could’ve translated a little better. The Oculus touch controls feel great as usual in game, but the cross-hair seems a little erratic, not always bending to my will and conflicting a little with head-tracking. There’s also a shortage on content where the game stops being fresh and becomes a re-playable score chaser, which in fairness has a certain depth and strategy of its own, but it would’ve been nice to see some more levels regardless.
What you’re left with is a very competent VR title that, whilst serving up a word that’s becoming an in-joke amongst VR naysayers – ‘an experience’ – it does have some great gameplay mechanics that’s only real let downs are ones of disappointment that there’s not more of it. If you’ve never played Rez and need something to scratch that VR itch, you owe yourself to play this game and join the rest of us in waiting eagerly for a next iteration.