Immersion is something a large audience of gamers seek when playing video games. They want to escape to a different world, far from the troubles of their real lives. Games have come a long way in providing immersive experiences. Whether it be world building or graphically advanced presentation, games have always found a way to bring the gamer into their worlds. Now that VR has arrived, we will be diving into imaginary worlds like never before. EVE Valkyrie provides us with a chance to experience space flight, something many young boys and girls have dreamed of. While it is not the first game of it’s kind, it is the first of its genre on PlayStation VR.
Instinctively, I gravitated toward EVE Valkyrie because of my long history with flight simulator games. However, what I found in EVE was very different from other games in the genre. This game is multiplayer focused with little to offer for players who don’t wish to play online. The single player offerings include some training missions, a weak and short story mode, a survival mode, and the ability to fly around the various maps. The training gives you a handle on the basics and expands as you unlock the heavy and support class ships. The single player campaign lasted a little more than an hour for me, and I wasn’t in any hurry to finish it. There is a story but it’s so bland that I’ve already forgotten it. The only purpose it serves is to lead you into the multiplayer environment and pseudo story. I need to be honest with this one. Unless you plan on playing online, don’t buy this game.
Multiplayer on the other hand is a blast. I played the carrier assault and the team deathmatch modes, both of which I enjoyed. Teamwork is essential, as you’ll have to constantly watch each other’s backs as the other team attempts to take you out. There’s plenty of strategy that goes into the carrier assault, as you’ll have to split up to capture control points. The dogfights are intense, and you’ll need every trick you can think of to outsmart and outmaneuver your opponents. After each match you earn experience and materials that are used to craft ships and upgrades. There is a microtransaction market but, it’s hard to tell what kind of impact that is having this early on. The mechanics of the game are serviceable to the majority of players, although the act of flying the ship isn’t what I had hoped for.
Having played a number of space flight simulators that treat the laws of physics with respect, I came into EVE Valkyrie similar expectations. Putting on the headset and jumping in was almost a punch to the face. To put it simply, EVE Valkyrie feels like it takes place underwater rather than in the vacuum of space. Momentum is not conserved and I found myself constantly waiting for my thrusters to recharge. Barrel rolls and other maneuvers were slow as well. I understand that some of this is because a lot of people would get motion sickness but for me, it drew me out of the immersion I was looking for. It shouldn’t feel like my ship is flying through molasses as I pitch and roll to acquire my target. I managed to have fun playing it but, it did not do spaceflight justice in any way.
While this game could have worked outside of VR, I don’t think it could be defended as a full priced game without being a VR experience. The ability to look around in all directions to find targets or cover to fly behind is vital to how the game is played. I did not feel any motion sickness and the technology worked flawlessly. For reference, I played the game sitting down while six feet away from the camera because that’s what felt natural.
I give EVE Valkyrie a 7.5/10 for its professional utilization of VR in a fun multiplayer space flight shooter. Its limited implementation of physics broke immersion for me but, could be fine for the less aware.