This Week In Games: Virtual Life

Image: Kotaku

The biggest thing this week isn't a game so much, but hardware. PlayStation VR, to be precise. And because it's PSVR, that means I get to reuse this derpy shot of Mark.

VR reactions, still great. Incidentally, if you want to get an indication of how PSVR plays right now, we broadcast about an hour of gameplay through Facebook Live with some of the launch titles — Battlezone VR, PlayStation VR Worlds and Until Dawn: Rush of Blood.

We'll have more as the week rolls on. But let's get to the games!


WWE 2K17 (PS3, 360, PC, PS4, XBO)

What is it? Virtual wrestling! Should you care? It's virtual wrestling. You already know if you care.


Valkyrie Drive Bhikkuni (Vita)

What is it? A third person action-slasher where "the girls literally transform into weapons when they receive pleasure from the other girls". Should you care? Yeah. Probably not.


PlayStation VR (PS4)

What is it? The last virtual reality headset to be released in 2016. Should you care? You should. The specs aren't the best, but it's the best engineered headset so far.


Shadow Warrior 2 (PC)

What is it? Lo Wang returns to quite literally slice every demon in his path. Should you care? Depends on whether you want a throwback to 90's shooters or not.


Clockwork (PC)

What is it? A side-scrolling platformer with a heavy dose of steampunk. Should you care? Looks promising but not enough to inspire people who aren't huge on platformers.


Disney Magical World 2 (3DS)

What is it? A world where you can have Donald Duck or Winnie the Pooh as your neighbour. Should you care? The official trailer basically has zero gameplay. I'm going to assume this is like Disney meets Animal Crossing.


Gears of War 4 (PC, XBO)

What is it? Think chainsaws. Big dudes with biceps. Giant worms. Bullets. Should you care? It's a Gears of War game — and it's a good Gears of War game.


Skylanders Imaginators (PS3, 360, PS4, XBO, Wii U)

What is it? Next phase of the Skylanders saga. Should you care? You can create your own Skylanders in this one, which is a cool twist.


Yo-kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits/Fleshy Souls (3DS)

What is it? The latest in the adventure that is supposedly like the new Pokemon. Should you care? You probably know if you do already.


Mantis Burn Racing (PC, PS4, XBO)

What is it? A top-down racer featuring huge drifts. Should you care? Liked Death Rally but hated the guns? This might be your cup of tea.


Rise of the Tomb Raider 20 Year Celebration Edition (PS4)

What is it? The long-awaited PS4 release of Rise of the Tomb Raider. Should you care? Yes. Yes. Yes.


WRC 6 (PS4, XBO)

What is it? The console launch of a new rally game. Should you care? DiRT Rally hasn't gone anywhere.


Reus (PS4, XBO)

What is it? A god game where you control giants that modify the nature of the planet. Should you care? The reception on Steam wasn't bad. Good if you want a super chilled building game.


Dragon Quest Builders (PS4, Vita)

What is it? Imagine Dragon Quest and Minecraft shacked up. Should you care? You know what? Yes. This looks really, really cool.


Moto Racer 4 (PC, PS4, XBO)

What is it? The latest in the line of arcade motorbike racers. Should you care? Pretty hard to this week.


Yesterday Origins (PC, PS4, XBO)

What is it? A point-and-click adventure featuring immortality rituals and the occult. Should you care? Enjoy dark humour? Then yes.


And As For The PSVR Games

Given that it's the launch week for PSVR, there are a lot of games coming out. So rather than go through them one by one, here's a big list:

  • PlayStation VR Worlds
  • 100ft Robot Golf
  • Thumper
  • Super Stardust Ultra VR
  • Aragami Collector’s Edition
  • Batman: Arkham VR
  • Tumble VR
  • Ace Banana
  • The Assembly
  • Battlezone
  • DriveClub VR
  • Here They Lie
  • Eve: Valkyrie
  • Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing VR Mission
  • Rigs Mechanised Combat League
  • Rez Infinite
  • Headmaster
  • Harmonix Music VR
  • Loading Human: Chapter 1
  • Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
  • Hatsune Miku: VR Future Live
  • Job Simulator
  • Rollercoaster Dreams
  • Super Hyper Cube
  • Waddle Home
  • Wayward Sky
  • Until Dawn: Rush of Blood

Phew. What a mouthful.


So that's a list of most of the things coming out this week. I know there's a few I've missed. Keep in mind a few of the PSVR games are coming out for PS4 as well (like Castle Invasion, Thumper, Rez Infinite and 100ft Robot Golf).

So: are you picking anything up? Grabbing PSVR? Or playing something from your back catalogue? Let us know in the comments!


Comments

    Valkyrie Drive Bhikkhuni isn't available in Australia (refused classification):

    "The Australian Classification Board has responded to our inquiry regarding the rating of Valkyrie Drive Bhikkhuni. As they explain it, the reason why the game was Refused Classification is because the game promotes elements that offend standards of morality, and also uses sexuality as an incentive and reward. A major factor in the refusal of classification is due to “implied sexual violence” in the game, especially if they pertain to incentives or rewards.. The response we received cited 1(a) and 1(c) of their Code in their reasoning."

    https://techraptor.net/content/valkyrie-drive-bhikkhuni-banned-australia

    If you want it, you'll need to import.

      Cripes.

      That description Alex gave definitely jives with "implied sexual violence".

      Anything else in your quote is an opinion or "take" on said judgement, really.

        Having watched Valkyrie Drive Mermaid, I'd say that the sexual violence is not implied at all. In the anime, it's pretty explicit. I'm surprised it's available to stream in Australia to be honest.

        Last edited 10/10/16 3:30 pm

      I got really excited for a second until i realized it wasn't a sequel to Valkyria Chronicles...

        You realise that there is a sequel to VC? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valkyria_Chronicles_II

        I have it on my Vita.

          No no i meant the new new one whatever its called... :P

            Azure Revolution. Yes, I've got my eye on that too - January 2017 Japan release though.

      Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Importing isn't an option unless you have a friend that is good at smuggling. Anything Refused Classification is illegal to import, unless laws have changed.

        Yes. That is correct. However, stuff slips by customs all the time (around 99% of parcels).

          Does not make it legal

            Didn't claim it did. Just pointing out that *if* someone wanted to break the law, there's every chance they could get away with it.

            This reminds me of one time I shipped some boxes of stuff from France to my then girlfriend in China to hold for me until I arrived there. We both got hauled in to Customs and were grilled for about half an hour by a roomful of officials. In the end they accepted our explanation that (a) I had no idea that the stuff I'd sent was illegal in China, and (b) my girlfriend had no idea what I was sending her. Mind you, in China they open pretty much every single box that comes into the country (they have the manpower to do it).

            Last edited 10/10/16 3:35 pm

    Maybe someone at that exact moment told him there was a Coke Zero near him, blech.

    Still not sure about VR... Not from a conceptual point of view, I want it to work and have been waiting for good VR since playing a Virtuality cab in Timezone back in the 90's.

    It just strikes me that all the reasons people cite for 3D failing to get mainstream traction (extra equipment, hit to visuals cf without, needing to wear something while playing/watching, chance of nausea/headaches) all apply to VR but more so. If you consider 3D as a test of wether the average consumer will put up with those things and the answer is no. And without broader appeal, it will sink just as 3D did and VR v1 did before it...

    I hope I'm wrong.

      The difference is 3D doesn't add anything. It drops visual quality in return for elementary depth perception that serves no real purpose. VR has the opportunity to change how we interact with virtual environments... making interaction more natural removes a huge barrier to entry for some people - how many non-gamers are going to be interested in interactive media now they don't have to figure out how to use dual thumbsticks or KB/M for first-person movement?

      I guess we'll know in few months whether that's enough to outweigh the negatives - if we have to wait for glasses-size HMDs and unobstructive haptic gloves, society will have moved the goalposts by the time we get there.

        You still need to use a controller of some sort to move around, so there's still a language to learn if you're using interactive VR. As to non-interactive, it's 3D that you can look around in. And you get the same impact on image quality.

        As for 3D not adding anything... I'd respectfully disagree. Play a flight sim in 3D and you'll see the difference. I used to hook up my 65inch TV with Nvidia3d to play FSX, with head tracking, and it's awesome. GT5 (or was it GT4) in 3D with its head tracking was also awesome, when it worked ;)

        3D adds something, head tracking adds something, VR adds those things and a bit more. Neither 3D or head tracking tech achieve mainstream gaming popularity, let alone mainstream consumer popularity.

        I hope I'm wrong, but do feel there's a bit of emperors new clothes with the current state of VR, with many people who where critical of 3D due to barriers to entry overlooking the same barriers as they apply to VR. Personally I'm quite happy to stick a box on my head and wave wands around to play a game, and don't get motion sickness, so VR in its current state is fine for me... Same as I was quite happy and enjoyed 3D in games and was sad when support petered away.

          For the average user though, 3D added nothing of real value - the same way that things like TrackIR never gained traction outside of sims, which are a niche genre anyway. VR on the other hand has a much bigger impact - it completely takes over their visual field, the camera looks where they look, the feeling of being connected is much greater than anything before. With 3D or TrackIR you're still staring at a screen, and you know you're staring at it.

            It's disingenuous to say that 3D adds nothing of value and that's why it failed. 3D didn't fail because it didn't add anything of value. At the time, initially when they hype was up, people made the same arguments about how it improved immersion and how "you feel like you're there rather than watching a flat screen". The fact that people still choose to watch the 3D version of a movie at the cinema shows that obviously some people think 3D adds something (as a recent example, the 3D sessions of the force awakens at my local cinemas where all books out, but seats where available in the non-3D sessions)

            The chief reason 3D failed in the home where it didn't add *enough* to overfome the barriers and negatives... While VR adds "more", the cost of entry and barriers to entry are also higher.

            You still need to wear something to "do" VR (something far more intrusive than a pair of glasses, which is one of the reasons cited for 3D failing). It doesn't entirely take over your field of view, and it isn't unobstructive. The monetary cost of entry is significantly higher. The chance of being susceptible to nausea and headaches is arguably higher than with 3D.

            The big question is, once the novelty has worn off, does VR add enough for the average, mainstream user to make the investment worthwhile; do the benefits outweigh the costs. I hope the answer is yes, but to dismiss the lessons learned from 3D is just folly.

            Of course, as we want VR to succeed this time we will of course argue how it's different to 3D ... while downplaying the similarities which where the actual reasons for 3D failing. And I'll leave it at that, as I'm not going to convince the party faithful that the emperor is naked (and again, for the record I want VR to succeed, and personally have no problems per se with it in its current proposition... I just foresee the potential for it being another flash in the pan like VR in the 90s, and 3D recently if those lessons aren't learnt and addressed)

              But that's what I mean - there's no real value in having it compared to its trade offs. Even when 3D displays became a thing, I remember the general consensus was "This is kind of cool" and that was it - pretty different to what people have been saying after using a Vive, Rift or PSVR. I can't recall anyone thinking it was going to birth a new genre of gaming content. I know when I got my 3D display and played Doom 3 I thought it was pretty neat but I never used it again - why would I? It really didn't add much of anything to the game except a 3D effect I could easily ruin and knew was fake (and hurt my eyes, but that was because they were active shutter glasses).

              3D at the cinemas has been popular because it's a massive screen, you sit at quite a distance from it, and you just watch it - it's a movie, it isn't interactive, it's carefully controlled. Totally different situation with games.

              I totally agree that some of the lessons from 3D apply here - namely that without any good applications of the tech and an incentive to use it, VR will die (again). But 3D is not VR, so it isn't a direct translation. For interactive media, VR adds much more than a simple 3D display ever could. You're basically getting your 3D display and TrackIR all in one. The PSVR will be the real test case for whether it's worth continuing.

    PSVR + games and Valkyrie Drive for me this week. I look forward to having hardly any time to play any of it :p

      Where did you source Valkyrie Drive?

        Have a US PSN account so I'm 100% digital for vita games so I'm all good

    Half of the PSVR games aren't appearing in the PSN store. Any idea if they will be added this week?

    There's a new section of the store just for VR: https://store.playstation.com/#!/en-au/playstation-vr/cid=STORE-MSF75508-PLAYSTATIONVR

    Last edited 10/10/16 10:48 am

      They will most likely be appearing Thursday night during the store update. (Tends to be about midnight or so)

    Looking forward to picking up my psvr headset and a ton of games

    Shit, I didn't realise Gears was this week.

    I might have to let that one wait.

    Just Skylanders for me. And if I hadn't played thru it all last year, I'd pick up Tomb Raider.

    Looking forward to PSVR YouTube videos of ppl knocking over cans of Coke etc :).

    Two things, is Job Simulator on PSVR coming to Australia? It's not on PS Store and I havent seen it advertised anywhere, and when I tweeted the devs last week they stated they couldn't confirm regions at the time.

    And second:

    What is it? The long-awaited PS4 release of Rise of the Tomb Raider.
    Should you care? Yes. Yes. Yes.

    As much as I want to play this, I'm refusing to buy it on launch purely because they made us wait this long for it (timed exclusive) so I refuse to buy a year old game at full retail price.

      Your short-term loss, as it is completely worth full price. Your long-term gain though, seeing at least in another 12 months there will be heavy sales - if not smaller sales sooner.

      My reasoning exactly. I've waited a year so I can wait another few months for it to drop to $30+ after which I'll pick it up.

        My thoughts exactly, no doubt it's a great game and I'll pick it up some day down the track when it's cheaper and there's a lull in other games.

    Yikes...do i go Mafia 3 or Tomb Raider. I don't have enough money for both!!!!! Anybody played both??

      Maybe hold off until the reviews for Mafia come out? Then decide if it's worth it.

        Yeah where are the reviews? Did they hold off releasing early copies?

          I think they're in the pipe. A few websites are putting articles of first impressions, so hopefully full reviews wont be too far off.

          Yeah no one got review copies for it. I've played about 4 hours of it and I absolutely love it, thanks to the story mostly. It's your typical open world GTA style game apart from that it seems like, but I'm cool with that.

            its weird, i too enjoyed it for the first 10hrs, but the story missions start to come through very slowly. after 19hrs, ive basically given up as the game is basically Saint Row: Gat out of Hell set in new orleans instead of hell and missing the super powers

    I'm getting a PSVR, Driveclub and Batman, and will use the demo disc to determine if I buy any of the other games.

    Anyone heard any news on project cars and dirt rally in terms of psvr?
    Project cars was always on the launch list for psvr and dirt rally is supported on oculus and vive but i havent heard anything about psvr recently!
    Dont get me wrong driveclub will be fun still but the driving in that is not up to par with the other two!

    Oh and im very much looking forward to until dawn rush of blood - im hoping it gives me the chills!
    Anyone down for RIGS? Igot it preordered wouldnt mind finding some peeps to play with

    If you're really keen on Valkyrie Drive (or any of the 200+ games the board has banned, like Hotline Miami 2) you can just change your Vita's region to any other country except for Germany and make a new PSN account in that region (takes minutes) to buy it from the store. This does factory reset your vita, but cloud saves mean you can just re download everything after you switch back.

    Last edited 10/10/16 12:32 pm

      I keep a separate Vita with a US account for stuff like that. Not that I'll be downloading Valkyrie Drive on it, because the kids play that one... XD

        Yeeeaaahh probably not one for the kids to get a hold of :P

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