I don’t know if I can review this adequately because I’m not entirely sure I know what the fuck just happened. I know I enjoyed it. Before I begin. I don’t know what spoilers are so this piece of writing may or may not be full of them so … take the condom off and see if you get a rash….
Let’s go through the things I didn’t really like first.
Navigating though the environment in VR is not annoying enough to ruin the game but just enough to make you exclaim “ugh!” every ten minutes or so. Sometimes you think you have a grasp on it enough for it to be tolerable but you’ll have to do something you’ve done before and spend a moment too long trying to position yourself properly to do anything. The controls work fine when trying to manipulate objects, but when moving though the space, things become tedious.
Objects and immersion.
There are a lot of objects you can manipulate in the game. There are some objects that have purposes but most are items that have no purpose. There are so many objects that you become numb to them because most of them do nothing. Normally I wouldn’t have a large problem with this but there are also a lot of objects you cannot interact with at all. The immersion is confusing. Does this object do nothing because I can’t use it … yet… or does it always do nothing. It is a tough call when it comes to letting the player interact with objects but more objects in the game need to have a function or allow interaction because I skipped a lot of things that just didn’t seem interesting or relevant.
And now the rest…
The PSVR sacrifices graphics a little bit for the VR function and even considering that, the graphics here suffer from being just a little blurry or pixelated unless you’re up fairly close which is a shame because most of the animations are smooth and manipulating objects with motion control is pretty easy so more could be done with the minutiae of what the graphics can accomplish. Reading the ingredients off a piece of paper and preparing a meal would’ve been a lot more satisfying than what they have you actually do which is literally nothing more than you’d do in a standard game. Press the win button. But it’s VR. I could’ve assembled the dinner. Poured the wine and balanced it all on a tray and brought it to the date.
However, I’d fault this game for not having faith in the graphics, not utilizing what could be done and not putting more on the screen. As I mentioned earlier, there are objects that do nothing. One object is a telescope. Out of all the useless objects that do nothing, I’d expect a telescope to do something titillating in virtual reality. Instead we’re treated with clear rendered labels on food products, boxes, record labels, books and signs but blurry pixelated sprites on objects in the near distance.
There is a gym in the game that has actual “games” to play. Those are the only things in Loading Human that require any sort of physical skill. The rest of the game is button pressing except it is your hand in the space. The game is more fun when you don’t think about the times you’re actually simply pressing “A” or “X” to accomplish a task… which is easy to forget because you’re physically turning a knob or opening a drawer. There are only two times in the game I can remember thinking that the use of VR enhanced the experience. One of which had me input a code at a computer while I had a password in my off-hand. Holding the answer in one hand and typing with the other was way better than trying to commit the solution to memory. There wasn’t enough of that in the game. A lot of this game could be accomplished outside of VR with the controller to the same effect.
If I told you that this game was about the protagonist going on an interstellar mission lasting half a generation to obtain the missing link for immortality, I’d be correct… I think. But if I also said it is about the relationship between Prometheus and Alice, I’d also be correct. The problem is, as far as Chapter 1 is concerned, it doesn’t explain enough of one and it rushes you through the other. Meet Alice…
She is your love interest and you will “develop complex relationships, solve dilemmas and fall in love” with her according to the back of the box. As far as I can tell, this is a lie. I don’t know how complex this relationship is. Kiss her, do what she asks, nail the date, then her. Boom! But she seems to be what the game is about. Falling in love with her isn’t optional. Maybe how deeply she loves you or you/her but two thirds of the game is dedicated to interacting with her… which is better than the only other humanoid you interact with. I’ll leave that for you to discover.
I did enjoy this game in the same way I enjoyed a satisfactory episode from Telltale games. I am hoping that this game simply served as a tutorial for ideas that will be displayed in the future. This game lets you interact with a lot of things and I hope Chapter two aims to allow the player to do more things with that interactivity. Alice is a likable character and when she smiles (you will remember her smile too) you just might smile too.
Finally. This game is too expensive considering the length and content. It should be priced competitively with Batman Arkham VR given it’s length and content. Should Chapter 2 have more content, I would not have a problem with its price. You will get more time out of other VR games. Loading Human: Chapter 1 will probably only sit in your PS4 for one or two playthroughs and that is it. There is, of course, every chance this franchise becomes a cult classic and people live, eat and breathe this game.
I liked it… but it isn’t without its faults.
Which.. might ruin your experience.
PS. Since a lot of people already asked me, this title doesn’t have a platinum trophy. (Which I think is a tad silly given the price and why I suggested it be priced closer to Arkham VR)