October 13, 2016
Science fiction is a genre that is defined by exploration, the unexpected and things birthed from pure imagination. Loading Human: Chapter 1 is the first narrative driven title to enter the VR arena and try its hand at this fragile balance. It is an episodic title which released alongside PlayStation VR in October, with the second chapter still unannounced to date.
In Loading Human you play as Prometheus, the son of a famous scientist. His father Dorian was responsible for the development of the Dark Energy Drive, which finally allowed humans to extend their reach to the stars. In his older years Dorian also created the Lazarus, able to regenerate deteriorating cells, but the technology can only do so much. In order to survive longer he requires the Quintessence, an immeasurably powerful energy source, residing light years away. Dorian invites Prometheus to his Antarctic laboratory to propose this mission and the game begins.
From reading books to personal grooming, to the various environmental puzzles, Loading Human is a great first look at the potential of the move controllers in the VR space. The only drawback is that by the time you’ve mastered the controls you’re already about 80% of the way through the chapter. Mine didn’t give out on me while playing, so unless you are going to binge play multiple chapters, you should be fine with one set of feel this applies more to people that buy into this game later down the track.
If the move controllers get too much for you, you can switch to the dualshock 4 controllers, but expect to drop a lot of items from hand height rather than placing them. The lack of any kind of HUD menu means that you can drink in the visuals of this game with ease and there is plenty of detail to take in.
The single element that detracts from the experience is the controls. The move controller set up is better than the Dualshock 4 setup, but both experience issues. There is no free movement when walking around; you can only go forward/ back and adjust the camera angle to turn.
Particularly with the Dualshock 4 setup, a teleport type option like in PAX darling A Township Tale would have made this game infinitely more accessible, with head tracked movement also. The move controllers allow a somewhat more fluid transition between areas, where you hold the button on one and angle the other to change direction. You just raise it over your head to turn around.
What I do like about the game is the layer of realism that is added when you can only interact with items within arms length, which I believe is adjusted based on height in the setup of the game.
- The most interactive VR game I've played to date
- Slower pace = No motion sickness
- Beautifully detailed VR environments
- Infuriating controls
- Very short lived chapter
A slower, and I would argue more reasonably paced, starting title into the realm of VR, Loading Human is a convincing narrative adventure that I hope will refine and grow for subsequent chapters.