Back in the late ‘90s, home consoles made the leap to three-dimensional, polygon-based gameplay, leaving behind the pixel sprites and two-dimensional worlds that had dominated the previous generation.
With this change in viewpoint came a wealth of new titles, as games like Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, and Perfect Dark all took advantage of the possibilities of the new perspective. These brand-new intellectual properties made for a period of rapid transition in gaming culture, as players got to fall in love with a variety of fresh faces.
With VR now upon us, a new period of transition is about to arrive as players discover a range of new games and gameplay options designed with VR in mind. While there are a few adaptations of existing titles to VR, and a few franchises such as Final Fantasy and Psychonauts taking advantage of the new platform, most studios are using virtual reality as an opportunity to try something completely new. Both large and small developers alike are creating brand-new IPs, and this means an opportunity for gamers to discover a variety of novel, interesting titles that don’t have the baggage of a long series behind them.
A Virtual Smorgasbord
With all the options at gamers’ disposal, it can be hard to know where to start. To make things easier, I’ve assembled a list of ten of the brand-new game titles that I think have the potential to be future classics:
Hailed by many as the game which sold them on VR, ADR1FT shares a lot in common with the 2013 Sandra Bullock movie Gravity – except that instead of watching someone hurtle around a broken space station, you’re the one hurtling. It’s up to the player to make vital decisions as they try to survive in a dangerous zero-gravity environment. It’s an excellent use of the technology, and its expansive yet claustrophobic setting brings home the reality of just how emotionally impactful VR can be.
The bright, colorful aesthetic of Job Simulator, combined with its quirky sense of humor, means that it’s already drawing a lot of attention. Its unique setting – a computerized sandbox simulation of boring jobs as imagined by robot historians – means it’s likely to be one of the big up-and-coming VR properties.
I’m convinced that horror games are going to thrive on VR platforms, and Dead Secret is one of the most exciting-looking mystery titles that’ll be releasing in the near future. Players have to wind their way through an abandoned house, picking up clues as they do their best to avoid being scared by the many dark corners and mysterious noises they’ll be hearing around them.
Games which capitalize on the unique vantage point of VR technology are going to be big draws in the coming months, as players get the chance to see the world from a brand new perspective. Eagle Flight does just that – who hasn’t wished that they could fly through the sky and see the world from the perspective of a bird of prey? There’s a danger these games could end up holding little value once the initial gimmick wears off, so hopefully there’ll be enough game challenge beyond that initial sensation to keep players hooked.
Here’s a game that’s not one for those afraid of heights—or perhaps it’s perfect for combating that fear in a safe environment (Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy is, after all, turning a lot of heads these days). In this mountain climbing simulator, players have to leap across crevasses and scale rocks, all the while experiencing absolutely beautiful VR visuals. It remains to be seen whether the simple mechanics of the game will mean there’s enough here to keep players entertained, but from initial reports this thing looks beautiful.
Adventure games are going to work really well in VR, especially if they take advantage of the potential for putting the player in the shoes of the protagonist. Plenty of VR games use the unique platform for wish fulfillment, and giving the player an enjoyable experience in a fantasy world. Not P.O.L.L.E.N.: instead, this game is creepily claustrophobic: through its use of dust and darkness, the game has a powerful atmosphere that’s almost palpably tense. This makes for some impressive storytelling, and an environment that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck in a way non-VR games can only dream of.
Personally, I’ve always been a fan of F-Zero, Wipeout, and other futuristic racing games – and Radial-G is the first time that the experience of racing a superpowered sci-fi hovercar feels quite this immersive, and that means it’s a far more intense experience than the genre has seen before.
The Assembly shows a lot of promise. With a dark, disturbing science fiction setting, the game sees players exploring laboratories and sterile facilities – although the decision to have players swap between controlling two distinct characters might not work too well depending on how it’s approached.
Robinson puts you in the role of a young boy who’s crash-landed on an alien world filled with dinosaurs. I love the use of perspective and scale in this game, as players find themselves winding their way between the feet of enormous long-necked diplodocuses, looking up at the huge beats above them. Something tells me this one’s really going to make a splash.
For a VR game to succeed, it’s going to need substance. Loading Human is a rich, immersive science-fiction world complete with well-written, relatable characters that the player can develop a bond with over the course of the episodic game. Players are tasked with saving their aging father from death by undertaking a lengthy mission through the stars. Loading Human lets players explore and learn about their world, and a strong story at its core will keep the player engaged.
Expanding Your Gaming Horizons
Bear in mind that the above collection of games is by no means an exhaustive list of all the new and innovative titles we’ll be seeing more of in the coming months, but (in my humble opinion) it covers a lot of strong contenders in a variety of genres that have the potential to really sell VR to the masses.
With so many VR games on the way, and with so few sequels or updated versions of existing franchise titles in the mix, the new platform provides an amazing opportunity for gamers to discover their own new favorites.
So do yourself a favor: take advantage of the wide variety of VR games available. Try something different, and see what hidden gems are awaiting you among the upcoming virtual reality games.
Why not start by preordering your copy of Loading Human, making sure you’ll have a chance to play this exciting VR adventure game?