I don’t own a VR headset myself yet, but luckily there’s a location near my workplace where you can book a session to play a few games: Futurist
I plan to visit them a few times and if I get a good enough feel for a game, I’ll write up a (small) review so everyone knows which VR games are worth playing and which ones you should leave be.
The first such game I tested, was Elven Assassin, an archery game in which you face wave after wave of Lord Of The Rings inspired fantasy enemies.
The only thing you’ll have to do in this game, is shoot arrows. You do this by making the same movements as you would with a real bow and arrow: one hand holds the bow, the other hands draws the string back to launch the arrow. Meanhwile, waves of enemies will come from all directions and attack the stronghold you’re defending until it’s down to 0 health.
Headshots obviously do more damage, but it can be hard to accurately aim as you don’t see a predicted trajectory for your arrows, nor is there a sight like you have on modern bows. Luckily you can also move around, aim an Arrow at another watchtower for example and you’ll teleport there. This method of moving around makes it so you’ll never experience the nausea which can be such a nuissance with other VR games. You can also move around and the game will quite accurately translate this movement: you can walk forward a bit and lean to look around corners, or you can duck down into cover.
You’ll need to move around a lot if you want the best possible results, both by teleporting around and to dodge incoming axes that the orcs sometimes throw at you. I found it surprising that it wasn’t my arm muscles that got sore, but rather my legs and thigh muscles from standing up for a long period of time and then doing some quick successive squats. (in fact, two days later I can still feel them hurt, so there is something that can be said for VR games being a good motivator for physical exercise)
Smaller orcs aren’t the only enemies thrown at you, you’ll also have to shoot down small drakes or sometimes a giant will slowly walk to your stronghold and it takes quite a few headshots to take him down (luckily he makes for a big target).
To help you combat these bigger enemies, you can also do special shots like a spread shot or fire arrows, though these weren’t easily triggered (you have to hold the bow’s trigger button as well and use your thumb to select which kind of power to use from a weapon wheel) but my friend who joined me couldn’t succeed in triggering it.
Your biggest ally in beating them however, are your fellow players. The game is best enjoyed in co-op and supports online players to join in. You can chat with them to discuss strategy or you can simply try to get the highest score. If you can get about 3 other players to team up with you, you’ll do a lot better as you can each cover a lane.
Or if you prefer, you can also play a PVP mode, though admittedly, I have not yet given this a go as it seems far less entertaining.
Graphically the game doesn’t look bad at all, but it’s nothing to be impressed by either. I find that the VR hardware still has to evolve further to really showcase some awe-inspiring graphics, with the current technology I’d still prefer looking at 4K games played on my TV. As for the audio, I mainly missed the presence of an epic soundtrack playing while we were shooting at the non-stop flow of orcs. There were plenty of sound effects though and the spatial audio was implemented well enough that you could actually hear an incoming axe being thrown at you so you can dodge in time.
As for neat little inclusions: I appreciated that you could somewhat interact with the environment. You could shoot kettles or break earthen jugs, you could shoot a few arrows at your feet and they would stick around (as well as the orc’s thrown axes, a shame you can’t pick them up and throw them back though). But even more level interaction could have set the game even further apart from any potential competitors: shoot traps to block the orc’s path. Use a trebuchet to shoot at the dragons, fire-arrows exploding oil jars etc.
Elven Assassin is a fine VR Archery game but it’s too much of a one-trick pony to keep you interested for very long. At a low price I’d recommend getting it just to play a few co-op battles online, but if you don’t have the gear for it, you can always go to a VR arcade near you and chances are good that they have this one on offer. If you just play half an hour to an hour, you’re bound to have a good time (and sore muscles…)
The game is officially still in Early Access, but I don’t see a “final release” coming anytime soon. Also, most of the VR games feel more like tech demos than full-fletched games so I will not issue a score, just some opinions on what I liked and what I didn’t like.