October 13, 2016
CCP Games, Oculus VR
EVE: Valkyrie was the first Playstation VR title I purchased, so it makes sense that it is the first one I review. EVE: Valkyrie is a multiplayer dogfighter shooting game set in the EVE Online Universe. You awaken as a clone pilot who has to piece together fragmented memories of the events that saw you join the Valkyrie and take wing under their flag. As you play you become aware of the disregard for life a particular space titan has, as well as how far that Ran Kavik, leader of the Valkyrie, is prepared to go to in order to rise against them.
There are two pay modes in EVE: Valkyrie; Chronicles (Single Player) and Combat (Multiplayer).
I highly suggest that you start on Chronicles and the training section that it offers. In a series of basic drills you are exposed to three types of spacecraft; Fighters, Heavy and Support. Each handles a different arsenal of weapons and defences which can take some getting used to.
The other option within Chronicles, that is a great way to enjoy the world of EVE: Valkyrie without having to worry about enemy fire, are the scout missions. Piloting the scout missions allows you to search for salvage (used to upgrade your spacecraft) and echoes (reveals backstory) in the battlefields of the game.
Combat is where things get interesting and you have two options here again; Player vs Player, or Player vs AI. You can swap between the two options with ease, with is good for maintaining the flow of play. The matches are 8 vs 8, and as mentioned, you can familiarise yourself with the terrain (or lack there of) before you have a potential 8 sets of gatling guns bearing down on you. The objectives range from capture the flag to sweet destructive goodness of a simpler kind. Regardless of the objective however, you will not succeed without working in partnership with your allies. You are able to form a squadron with friends, which is awesome, but there is no way of communication in game without some form of 3rd party software to overcome the hardware limitations.
The other most notable options from the various EVE: Valkyrie menus are the tubes and hangar.
By tubes I mean launch tubes, which are the slots you fill with available ships to take into battle with you. As you level up, you can unlock more tubes, allowing you a greater scope of action. This adds another layer to the gameplay in that, should you be destroyed by a heavy type ship, you can swap out for something that can take care of their shields and retaliate.
“Each variation has different combinations of offensive/ defensive weaponry, so the decision to craft them from the salvage you collect needs to be measured. “
The hangar is where you can view and upgrade all the spacecraft you have unlocked. You gain access to better and stronger versions of each type as you gain experience while flying as them in combat. Each variation has different combinations of offensive/ defensive weaponry compared to the starters, so the decision to craft them from the salvage you collect needs to be measured. There was nothing worse for me than discovering that the second support class ship had a gatling gun instead of a phaser after I had spent currency and salvage to make it.
Visually, EVE: Valkyrie continues to be the best looking VR game I own and the Eve Online universe is brought to life in ways the MMO couldn’t manage. I think this is done most potently through the frontline nature of the combat, and the incredible amount of detail in the backgrounds of the arenas.
A few tips from me. First, if you get too adventurous when it comes to performing space acrobatics (or flippies, as I prefer to call them), you may end up feeling a little queasy, the immersion is that good. In the first couple of hours playing I did way too many horizontal rotations while trying to get away from an opponent and had to take the headset off for a while before it settled.
The biggest negative I’ve encountered with EVE: Valkyrie that interrupts the flow is the occasional loss of head tracking when flying the ships, which I hope is going to be rectified now that I have the PS4 Pro (yet to test it however). I’ve noticed that this usually only occurs when trying to track extremely quick movements, which does form the crux of multiplayer, so it does get frustrating when it happens. I’m hoping that practice makes perfect, but this is something that should have been factored into development in the very early stages.
Given the co-operative nature of the game I also find it peculiar that there is no in game voice chat option (thinking back to Destiny), especially given that PlayStation party chat will only serve PS4 players.
- Visually stunning and immersive
- Good variety of roles/ship types
- Single player mode serves a purpose
- Multiplayer/PVP focussed
- Some head tracking problems
VR has given developers a new tool, one that will allow them to allow players to experience things like never before. What EVE: Valkyrie manages to do is put you into the body of a clone pilot convincingly, and be one for as long as you keep the headset on. The concept of space that my imagination has been able generate for over a decade of gaming has been enhanced and indeed surpassed thanks to this game. It is this kind of experience that maintains my faith that a new era of gaming is upon us, and that VR is definitely not just a passing fad.