True RPG VR
VR didn’t catch on as much as some hardware manufacturers and developers would have liked. The kits are just so pricey, and so niche, considering that they need high-end PCs to run.
But another barrier to entry is the current game selection. There’s a lot of great stuff out there (particularly on PS4), but it’s tough to really identify as many “system sellers” in the VR realm as there are on PC and consoles. The SoulKeeper VR isn’t quite there yet, but it’s a step in the right direction.
The SoulKeeper VR is so ambitious in its aim to bring a full-scale open world RPG into the VR space that I’m rightfully skeptical, but if they can pull off what I’ve seen of it so far on a grander scale, it’ll be worth looking into.
I only had access to a combat demo against a lone giant troll, but I was pretty impressed all-around by the visual fidelity and the action itself. Utilizing Touch controllers (Oculus/Vive) you can use both hands at once, which can grip a staff in the left, a sword in the right, or cast spells with any free hand. Spells are intuitively triggered by drawing runes in the air, like fireballs (L), electricity (^) and an icy floor ability (V). After several minutes of practice I had the system down and was swapping out weapons and casting spells like a champ.
They also cleverly worked in a teleport system, which kind of solves a lot of motion sickness issues and effortlessly slides into the fantasy of controlling a battle mage — but they definitely need to strike a balance with it (perhaps with a cooldown or limited use system), as you can spam it currently. There was also a bit of environmental manipulation in the demo, as you’re able to fire at a hanging chandelier and drop it on the troll’s head. Developer Helm Systems notes that this encounter is one of the game’s boss fights, but it intends on providing skirmishes with all sorts of enemies, like spellcasters and aerial combatants.
The SoulKeeper VR will hit Steam by way of Early Access “soon,” and Helm Systems is aiming for a first quarter release at the moment. Their goal is to provide a linear proof of concept first, followed by the open world realization, as well as multiple characters who sport different abilities. I’ll be keeping my eye on this one.