Adventures in VR – Gaming Special

Published Categorized as Gaming, Trending

Contents

1. Wanderer (PC VR & PSVR)

+ Science fiction in VR – Time travel / Quantum

2. Firewatch VR (PC VR Mod)

3. Outer wilds VR (PC VR Mod)

4. Life is strange VR (PC VR Mod)

5. Myst VR (Meta Quest – formerly Oculus Quest)


More Gaming Specials


Adventures in VR – isn’t every virtual reality game an adventure? Of course, but this gaming special is about the most storytelling computer game genre. Adventures and graphic adventures have been around for over 40 years (text adventures even longer). Perhaps we’ll see a revival of the genre with the return of the absolute adventure classic Return to Monkey Island?

Adventures in VR - Collosal Cave Adventure

Fun Fact

“Adventure” or “Colossal Cave Adventure” is the first computer text adventure game. In 1975 and 1976, William Crowther, a speleologist and programmer at Bolt Beranek and Newman in Cambridge, Massachusetts, wrote the first computer text adventure game.

Adventure was originally called ADVENT because a file name could only be six characters long in its operating system.  The game was renamed  Colossal Cave Adventure because it was based on part of the Mammoth Cave system in Kentucky.

The game is free to play online here

A VR remake of two adventure game legends is in the works

Adventures VR: Like an exciting book or a good movie

Adventure games are usually about exploring worlds and solving puzzles – often these games are carried by a strong story that has a captivating quality that can be compared to reading an exciting book or watching a rousing movie. An adventure game can come from the fantasy realm, have a comedy, western, mystery, horror or science fiction background.

Adventures in VR - The last journey
“You know the best medicine is to throw yourself out the window…”
(Screenshot: The last express)

Adventures often dispense with danger and excitement in favor of a moody atmosphere. But of course, there can also be action elements (these are then action adventures, with the Zelda series probably being the best known). The genre has produced many classics – especially in the 1990s and 2000s.

Adventures in VR - Monkey Island

Fun Fact

What are the Components of an Adventure video game?

Puzzle solving, or problem solving, Narrative, or interactive story, Exploration, Player assumes the role of a character/hero and the Collection or manipulation of objects.

Adventures VR: Atmospheric atmosphere in the foreground

Adventure games themselves have quite a different tone. For example, the classic Day of the Tentacle is comedic with a time travel theme (which is also picked up by the tested VR game Wanderer – see also the Science fiction in VR Gaming Special), the adventure game Gabriel Knight serves the genre of the mystery thriller, while the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series is a lawyer and courtroom drama.

Adventures VR: Many classics from Lucasfilm Games

Besides Maniac Mansion (the predecessor of Day of the Tentacle), there are many classics from Lucasfilm (who are best known for their Star Wars licenses – see also Star Wars VR Gaming Special), including The Secret of Monkey Island, Indiana Jones or Sam & Max.

Adventures in VR  - LucasArts

Company history
Lucasfilm Games / LucasArts

Lucasfilm was founded in 1971 by George Lucas (the creator of the Star Wars series). Lucasfilm Ltd. provided services for products in live-action movies and animated television series and films.

Lucasfilm Games’ original headquarters, Skywalker Ranch, is located on Lucas Valley Road in Marin County, California. However, the road name has nothing to do with George Lucas – it is named after
19th century rancher John Lucas, who is not related to George.
In the 80s and early 90s, Lucasfilm could not develop Star Wars games because Atari held the exclusive license. Ron Gilbert (legendary developer of Monkey Island and the retro adventure Thimbleweed Park, among others) believes this restriction was indirectly responsible for original games like Maniac Mansion and Loom: “If we’d been able to make Star Wars games, we probably wouldn’t have done anything else.”LucasArts and Pixar both started as Lucasfilm Computer Division, which had a games division (which later became LucasArts) and a graphics division (which Steve Jobs bought and turned into Pixar).

With the beginning of the 90s, the name was changed to LucasArts, but with the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney in 2012, the era of LucasArts as a developer and publisher ended. The brand was revived at the beginning of 2021.

Until the late 90s, it was mainly Sierra that provided a counterweight to this development house with the King’s Quest, Space Quest or even the wicked Leisure Suit Larry series.

Adventures in VR - King's Quest

Company history
Sierra On-line

Founded in 1979 by Roberta Williams and Ken Williams, Sierra created the genre of adventure games, in the sense that we know it today. Roberta Williams would soon become one of the most famous video game pioneers. The Williams couple’s first adventure game was called Mystery House. The story was set in a Victorian mansion where the player’s friend was murdered.

Many successes of Sierra On-Line (the company name from 1982 on) are also due to Roberta and Ken Williams’ ability to recognize the potential of other creators. Al Lowe, Jane Jensen, James Walls – these are just a few examples of video game developers who began their careers with the company. After a decade of success in the video game industry, Sierra On-Line began the 1990s with ambitious plans. For example, Roberta Williams pursued the idea of producing adventure games with real actors. This led Sierra to produce, among other things, controversial horror games like Phantasmagoria, or 3D titles like King’s Quest VIII, which fans said had little to do with the previous game series. This was compounded by ever-increasing production costs, declining quality of the games according to critics, and the resulting plummeting sales figures. In 1999, after two decades of creative work, Roberta Williams decided to retire from the video game business. Overall, the gaming market changed dramatically in the second half of the 1990s. The growing popularity of action and role-playing games made adventure games less popular.

This reinforced Ken and Roberta Williams’ decision to slowly retire. After their retirement in 1999, Sierra changed irrevocably. Although it still managed to produce hits like Homeworld 2, it was obvious that the company’s days of greatness were a thing of the past. Sierra Entertainment officially closed down in 2008.

Ken and Roberta Williams announced in 2022 a VR reimagining of the text adventure game Colossal Cave Adventure (see above). It would also mean a return of gaming legends from retirement – to the VR scene.

Adventures VR: From topseller to niche genre

Sales peaked in the 1980s to mid-1990s in the West, when it was considered by many to be one of the most technically advanced genres. In the early 2000s, however, the genre became a niche genre due to the emerging popularity of first-person shooters (to which Half-Life contributed, among others, see the  Half-life in VR Gaming Special).

Adventures VR: Revival through the independent scene

It became difficult for developers to find publishers. In the 2010s, however, the genre experienced a resurgence, especially in the independent video game scene. This was driven in particular by crowdfunding efforts, the wide availability of digital distribution channels, and the release on portable consoles and mobile devices. The Walking Dead by Telltale Games is considered a key title that revitalized the genre.

Adventures in VR  - Telltale

Company history
Telltale Games

Telltale Games was an American game development studio founded in 2004 by Kevin Bruner, Dan Connors, and Troy Molander, who had met at LucasArts in the mid-1990s. Most of the titles the studio released were based on existing intellectual property (IP) such as Monkey Island, Back to the Future, Wallace & Gromit, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Batman and the company’s flagship title, Sam & Max. The game mechanics were episodic. Decisions made in one episode later affected the next episode.

In January 2015, longtime CEO Dan Connors handed over to co-founder Kevin Bruner. In March 2017 CEO Bruner stepped down from his role himself and once again handed over to Connors. Former Zynga executive Peter Hawley took over the position in September 2017.
Hawley’s first business decision was to cut 90 jobs. An investigative report later shed light on the company’s problems, which included frequently overworked developers, an inefficient game engine, and a work culture rife with fear and abuse, which was exacerbated by former CEO Bruner.

Telltale finally went bankrupt in October 2018. Telltale had reportedly given its employees only 30 minutes to leave the building, and then fired them without notice or severance pay. While the company’s closure was tragic, some Telltale titles survived. Skybound Games, for example, acquired the rights to the Walking Dead titles. The reason Telltales is seen in retrospect is that the company failed to develop itself and the games it developed. For most of its existence, it simply relied on the same storytelling format.

Within the Asian markets, adventure games in the form of visual novels remain popular. In fact, these account for almost 70% of PC games published in Japan. Japanese adventure games are usually different from Western adventure games and have their own development history.

Adventures VR: Converted classics and new VR classics

Another push in the evolution of adventure games is the leap into virtual reality. Whether it’s all-time classics like Myst, which gamers have always wanted to play in VR, converted modern classics like Firewatch, or games developed specifically for virtual reality like Wanderer.

Playing adventure games in VR fulfills an original wish that gamers have always had – you are directly part of the story, you can interact with objects in a three-dimensional environment and directly address and interact with NPCs and characters. This makes an adventure game even more vivid. It represents a milestone in the development of games and could provide a new surge in popularity.

Whether this assumption is justified can be seen for yourself in a review of the following outstanding VR adventures:


Wanderer Logo

Wanderer (PC VR & PSVR)

Wanderer would be the perfect example for our Science fiction in VR – Gaming Special with the Sci Fi subgenre time travel. Because that’s what Wanderer is mainly about. And that in the context of perhaps the best Adventure in VR game.

If you want to skip the sci-fi part, you can continue reading here the review of Wanderer.

Time travel - Adventures in VR

Time Travel / Quantum – Sci-fi Subgenre

see also Science fiction in VR – Gaming Special

From a scientific point of view, time travel is only theoretically possible. In reality, they remain a popular mental game that makes these ideas a concrete reality in science fiction. One of the first time travel novels was written by H.G. Wells with ‘The Time Machine‘ (1895) in which a scientist travels to the year 802,701 AD. One of the most famous examples in film is 1985’s ‘Back to the future’ where mad scientist Doc Brown and his teenage friend Marty have tremendous difficulty putting the “space-time continuum” back in order.

Without the typical comedy of the time travel genre, a robot named ‘Terminator’ portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger travels from a dystopian future to 1984 to prevent the birth of a future rebel leader. Both films illustrate the principles of the so-called “butterfly effect” that are elementary to the time travel genre – small changes in reality lead to unmanageable chain reactions. And those of the ‘grandfather paradox’: by retroactively erasing a human existence in the past, the film’s plot would become strictly impossible in the future.

In ‘12 Monkeys‘ (1995), a chosen one from the year 2035 is sent to prevent the extinction of humanity. Films like Groundhog Day (1993), in which the main character gets caught in a time loop, are a special form of time travel: cynical weather reporter Phil Connors relives the same day over and over again. Time travel is almost a normality in space sci-fi, such as Star Trek.

The physical basis as well as the dramaturgical framework of films like 2014’s Interstellar are Einstein’s theory of relativity, the idea of the speed of light and the assumed existence of “black holes” or “wormholes” in the galaxy. Whether the time travelers can also travel back is even theoretically highly uncertain.

Science Fiction in VR games tested: Wanderer, Outer wilds

Everything adventure fans like

At first glance, Wanderer has everything that adventure fans are curious about: logic puzzles, bizarre machines, mysterious temples and exciting actors that accompany the player. Wanderer revolves around the popular theme of time travel, a theme that many adventure games have already taken up. And of course, what immediately catches the eye – Wanderer is probably the best-looking title since Half-life: Alyx.

Adventures in VR - Screenshot Wanderer
“Should I take the drill? Or the circular saw? Or the Nerf gun?” (Promo-Pic: Wanderer)

A lousy, though possible, future

We are in the future – and not a great, though unfortunately realistic future. Climate catastrophe and wars have made the earth inhospitable. But unlike reality, Wanderer in VR is about traveling back in time to correct mistakes and repair the timeline leading to the post-apocalyptic present in which the game is set. Thus, the opening scene of Wanderer also takes place a flooded city of Boston, USA, in the year 2063.

And the environment immediately convinces with dense vegetation, a great atmosphere and a lot of details, while you drive a very dilapidated boat through the flooded streets. The situation escalates relatively quickly when you are attacked by menacing masked men and crocodiles.

Strong adventure character, great puzzle

However, Wanderer never becomes stressful, but always stays true to its adventure character. It’s also especially nice that practically everything can be picked up and you can interact with objects in any way. This not only provides a nice depth to the puzzles, you also feel really rooted in the world of Wanderer. Of course, this also reinforces the adventure atmosphere, so that you really have the feeling of being in a world of your own in virtual reality. Relatively quickly, you discover your grandfather’s secret hideout in the ruins of Boston. Many lovingly modeled, beautifully shiny devices are waiting to be unraveled.

Adventures in VR - Screenshot Wanderer
“Hello fans! Do you know ‘Baby Shark’?” (Promo-Pic: Wanderer)

A talking ‘smart’ watch called Sam

You’ll also find a talking watch called Samuel, which talks like a US Southerner and has equally ‘loose’ sayings. Yet it is probably the best smartwatch in the world. Unlike the Apple Watch, it’s even customizable and expandable to hold more things as inventory. “Sam” also gives hints in case of need when you switch between grandpa’s old apartment, Mayan temples or the moon every minute. With this clock, the time travels become possible. The time travel mechanics alone are spectacular – Mayan statues, cartridges or other objects are sucked in and you are teleported through time with an effect that would do credit to Hollywood movies.

Tesla, Nazis, the moon and Woodstock

A variety of environments await the traveler: Mayan temples, Germany in World War II, Tesla’s workshop, a moon landing and an alternate Woodstock. While being hunted by an unknown enemy who doesn’t really want you to cross the timelines. Since this is a science fiction story, you’ll find yourself in some crazy situations. Very much in the tradition of books and movies like ‘The Time Machine‘, ‘Terminator‘ or ‘Back to the Future‘.

Adventures in VR - Screenshot Wanderer
“My favorite hobby. Driving remote control car on the moon.” (Screenshot: Wanderer)

Adventures VR: An undeniably beautiful game

Wanderer is an undeniably a beautiful game. Which is even more impressive when you consider that the developers of M-Theory from New Zealand, are a relatively small team. The physics engine may not be perfect, but is still impressive considering the scope of the game. Wanderer” is pleasantly reminiscent of classic adventure games, despite the modern VR controls. Time travel, bizarre machines and mysterious temples – those who liked ‘Myst’ in the nineties (Myst VR is also tested) will immediately feel at home.

The best VR adventure at the moment

Even if you’re not a fan of puzzle games, M-Theory and Oddboy‘s debut is more than worth a look. That’s partly because it disguises many of its puzzles as more fun, interactive problem solving, and partly because it’s one of the best looking and most immersive VR games to come out recently. There are a couple of downsides to the story and some design decisions that don’t matter much, but deny it a top rating.

The bottom line is that Wanderer is the best VR adventure game you can buy right now.


Time Traveller VR Rating

4,5 / 5

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.



Pro

  • Best VR Adventure game up to now
  • Good story and great atmosphere
  • Time travel is spectacular
  • Puzzles are challenging and fun
  • A logical evolution of point and click adventures

Contra

  • Some design and story choices could be better


Firewatch logo

Firewatch VR (PC VR Mod)

Firewatch has been one of the most gripping games in recent years, since it was released in 2016. An exceptional graphic style, a fresh setting and clever storytelling. The story takes a multi-layered look at its protagonists, dealing with themes of love, loss and responsibility. Firewatch’s virtual characters are certainly among the most vivid in the history of video games. No wonder that the game is on many people’s very big wish list for a VR conversion.

A classic adventure game with all the right features

Many put Firewatch in the category of walking simulator. That means little interaction with the environment, but a strong story. But that wouldn’t do Firewatch justice. The game is a classic adventure game with everything that goes with it: Protagonist Henry is on the run. Not from a person or institution, but from his own life, his fears and mistakes. He didn’t know any other way to help himself after his wife, Julia, fell ill with Alzheimer’s and moved in with her family. Henry hires on as one of the fire guards who are supposed to prevent disasters like a major fire.

Adventures in VR - Screenshot Firewatch
“I said, ooh, I’m blinded by the lights…” (Screenshot: Firewatch VR)

Adventures VR: Alone in the wild

In 1989, protagonist Henry arrives in Wyoming. And he has neither a cell phone nor the Internet in the deserted wilderness (because neither had been invented at the time of the game). There is not even a television in his watchtower. The only connection to civilization is through Delilah, the boss, who talks to us via walkie-talkie in another watchtower. The silence of the minimalistically but extremely atmospherically drawn wilderness, the wind in the trees, and in between Delilah’s voice: All this makes up the atmosphere in Firewatch.

Adventures VR: Vivid, believable scenario

Californian studio Campo Santo stages an immersive, believable scenario with Firewatch, which is quite unique in the adventure genre. Henry can move freely in nature over long distances, but always follows the instructions of his superiors. The game area is vast, but its size is manageable. The paths never seem constricting, because often different paths lead to the goal. And although you can only climb or jump at marked spots by pressing a button (and never fall down an embankment in an unforeseen way), the wandering feels pleasantly free.

Adventures in VR - Firewatch
You know the problem: Fucking grizzlies won’t kill an a-hole [just right when you need them]
(Screenshot: Firewatch VR)

And how is Firewatch in VR (as of 04/26/2022)?

There is no storyline in the actual sense, the game tells its stories via We would have loved to test Firewatch in VR with the Two Forks VR mod from Raicuparta. But despite installing it on three test PCs, we didn’t get further than the start screen (which we could see via the VR headset, though). Which of course makes an honest evaluation of the VR mod impossible. Firewatch in VR sounds like an adventure game dream come true.

Those who want to get started without friends will have a hard time: The Raicuparta is also the modder responsible for the Outer Wild PC VR mod. The latter is available for free, but for the Early Access version of the Firewatch VR mod you have to have a Patreon account and pay at least $5 for the monthly membership.

Adventures in VR - Firewatch
Beautiful digital idyll (Screenshot: Firewatch VR)

Adventures VR: Should I download the Two Forks VR mod?

A reason that we could not install the mod is certainly also due to the fact that the whole thing is still in development (such as Resident Evil 7 VR and Resident Evil 8 VR). So if you want to support the dedicated modders who make such great VR implementations, you’re certainly investing your money well. And if the VR conversion promises what the main game delivers, then we are dealing with a VR classic. That’s why we’ll definitely catch up with the test when the mod is in an extended development phase.

A Patreon account is required and you must support Raicuparta to download the VR mod:

https://www.patreon.com/raivr

This costs at least $5 on Patreon (you sign up for a monthly subscription that can be canceled at any time).



How to install the mod:

1. Download TwoForksVR-0.0.16.zip from Raicuparta

2. Locate your Firwatch folder using the GOG or Epic game store or steam library. Right click in your library, go into Properties->Local Files->Browse

3. Copy all the files to the root directory of Firewatch

4. Use the Firewatch.exe and drag it to the file TwoforksVRInstaller.exe

5. Start the game Firewatch in VR

Pro

  • Test will follow

Contra

–  Test will follow


Hiker VR Rating

No rating yet



Outer Wilds Logo

Outer Wilds VR (PC VR Mod)

Exploring space, tracking down a lost race, and watching a sun die – over and over again. If you like this idea, then Outer Wilds VR is the adventure game for you. Everyone else will surely wonder what it’s all about at first. Because Outer Wilds is quite a special interest game – which has been superbly implemented in VR.

Adventures VR: In the early stages of an alien space program

The concept of the interstellar adventure ‘Outer Wilds’ was conceived by the current creative director of Mobius Games, Alex Beachum, back in 2012 as his graduation thesis. As a member of the Kamina people, who live on the idyllic planet Timber Hearth (that’s its real name), you join the space program ‘Outer Wilds Ventures’ at the beginning of the game. However, this is still in its early stages and has little to do with NASA or ESA space programs.               

Rather, you fly wooden class – literally. In a self-tailored space suit and with a slightly warped wooden spaceship, you are supposed to make contact with the rest of the astronauts in the program, whose missions have taken them to a wide variety of planets. In addition, alien civilization explore (Star Trek leaves greetings), whose traces and buildings are distributed everywhere on celestial bodies.

Adventures in VR - Outer Wilds
“Are you a Stone Age Transformer?” (Screenshot: Outer Wilds VR)

Adventures VR: Time loop during space travel

Like in No Man’s Sky, you run or float over planetary surfaces or climb into the DIY rocket to navigate to other celestial bodies with the very simple navigation system. So far, so good – if there wasn’t the problem with the solar supernova and the time loop in which you are trapped in space after the first big bang. Every 22 minutes, time rewinds and you end up back at the launch pad on Holzkamin.

This is where the Quantum Effect begins, that is, the time loop problem as in ‘Groundhog Day’ or ‘Edge of tomorrow’. And not only that nobody but the player knows about this recursive chaining of time. Also the fact that you have to solve the mystery behind the solar explosion within this tight time window doesn’t really help to calm down.

Adventures VR: The time loop is infinite and unlimited

An all-clear in advance: The time loop you find yourself in is infinite and unlimited. So you have all the time in the world to explore the visually perhaps no longer quite fresh, but charming and atmospherically enormously dense solar system from the VR POV perspective. You’ll learn how this works in the first loop. In the tutorial, you not only meet the friendly inhabitants of the planet, but also learn how to navigate through weightlessness with the VR controllers and the rather spongy controls with the jetpack.

Adventures in VR - Outer Wilds
“Drunk again. I see double. And blue aliens.” (Screenshot: Outer Wilds VR)

Adventures VR: Nomai Mod is available for free

In addition, you quickly learn how to control the spaceship and use a small but interesting arsenal of equipment. The controls of the Nomai VR mod by Raicuparta deserve a lot of praise. The developer also created the Firewatch VR mod. Unlike Firewatch, however, the Outer wilds VR mod is available for free.

With the scout launcher, which you can use both at the helm of the spaceship and on foot, you fire a research probe equipped with a camera and lighting, which provides images of the environment. The signaloscope, on the other hand, locates vibrations and sound frequencies. Each of the Kamina’s explorers, for example, has an instrument with them.

Adventures VR: In space, you look for astronaut colleagues

When you follow the musical signal, sooner or later you’ll reach the camp of a fellow space traveler and can pick up valuable information about the planet in question. Finally, the translator tool lets you read the Nomai writings left everywhere in ruins and broken space stations in plain text. This not only teaches you a lot about the culture of this unknown people, but also gives you clues for solving the clever, time-based puzzles of Outer Wilds.

Adventures in VR - Outer Wilds
“Maybe you should put the explosive gas bottle in the background further away?”
(Screenshot: Outer wilds VR)

Outer wilds offers an enormous creative range

All clues are stored independently of the respective time loops in the on-board computer of the spaceship, which is peppered with loving details. Thus, with each new loop, a dense network of knowledge is created that provides enough information to get you on the right path the next time through. A large part of the appeal of Outer Wilds is walking that path yourself.

The appeal of Outer wilds is the exploration

Planets, ranging from a sea world covered in hurricanes to the interior of a giant plant seed that has fallen out of space-time, cover an enormous creative range. It’s hard to reproduce how creatively the solutions must be implemented within the game. It often takes several time loops to get the timing right for the next discovery. In the process, the audio hint that the current loop will end in the next minute regularly makes for sweaty palms.

Adventures VR: For those who are not deterred, an interesting experience awaits

Outer Wilds VR is definitely an extraordinary game that is hard to pigeonhole. Basically, the genre space adventure fits best. The VR mod is technically impeccable and makes total sense. Because Outer Wilds gets a depth through the immersion that the flatscreen game alone cannot provide. However, you should have a certain amount of patience, because Outer Wilds VR does not take the player by the hand. The fun comes mainly from exploring the VR world yourself and making discoveries in your own way. This can be very boring for some, especially because you need a lot of patience.

However, if you get involved, you can expect one of the most extraordinary VR experiences and one of the most interesting computer and video games.

How to install the mod

1. Download Nomai VR Mod here

2. Easy installation (recommended)

– Get the Mod Manager from the Outer Wilds Mods website

– Install OWML

– Install NomaiVR from the mod list displayed in the application

– If you can’t get the mod manager to work, follow the instructions for manual installation.

3. Manual installation

Install OWML

Download the latest NomaiVR release (Raicuparta.NomaiVR.zip)

– Extract the Raicuparta.NomaiVR directory to the OWML/Mods directory

– Run OWML.Launcher.exe to start the game


Pro

  • Explore space and experience adventure
  • You like smart games, you will find them here
  • Space atmosphere is nice
  • Creativity is capitalized
  • You are looking for a really different and innovative game, then you will find it here

Contra

– VR controls need some getting used to

– Gameplay is really not for everyone

– Patience and perseverance are required



Space Traveller VR Rating
4 / 5

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Life is strange logo

Life is strange VR (PC VR Mod)

Life is Strange: Before the Storm tells its own story and is the prequel to the main game Life is Strange. Life is Strange itself, like its spin-off, is an adventure game divided into five episodes by French developer Dontnod Entertainment, which was released by Japanese publisher Square Enix in January 2015 and became a big surprise hit. In terms of plot, it’s a melancholic coming-of-age drama that has echoes of David Lynch’s TV series Twin Peaks.

Adventures in VR - Life is strange
“Did you borrow my face? Again?” (Screenshot: Life is strange VR)

A story of its own without reference to Life is strange

Sometimes you meet a person and you just know right away that it’s a match. That’s what happened to Chloe Price and Rachel Amber, who meet at a rock concert in the first episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm. And have been inseparable ever since. In addition to their problems with their parents, they share the same goal: to raise money as quickly as possible in order to finally escape from boring Arcadia Bay.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm tells its own story without much reference to its predecessor, Life is Strange. Of course, this makes the game especially interesting for VR beginners.

Adventures VR: A teenager gaming world

Deck Nine Games presents a game world completely from the teenagers’ point of view. This makes many of the sad, romantic or funny moments seem especially intense. The goal of the game is to take you back to your own youth. The strength of Before the Storm lies in the many magical moments between the two heroines.   

Who make plans for the future in a junkyard, confess their love in a school performance of a Shakespeare play, or give each other therapy. Unlike the main game, however, Before the Storm doesn’t address serious topics like suicide or kidnapping, and focuses mainly on the portrayal of a teen friendship.

Adventures in VR - Life is strange
The wisdom of the toilet walls (Screenshot: Life is strange VR)

And how is Life is strange in VR (as of 04/26/2022)?

Unfortunately, the VR mod for Life is strange shares the same fate as the Firewatch VR mod (at least for us): We could not get the game to run on three test computers. We got as far as the menu, but there we could not make any further steps via the VR headset. Thus, we can say little about the playability in VR.

Adventures in VR - Life is strange
“I know you are fired up for me – but this is going too far.” (Screenshot: Life is strange VR)

Adventures VR – should I download the Life is strange VR mod?

TrevTV‘s VR mod didn’t appear until early 2022, so hopes are high that an updated version of TrevTV will be released. When that happens, we will of course test the playable version again.

If you want to see if Life is strange runs in VR, you can follow the installation guide below. And the mod is completely free – so there’s nothing to be said for trying it out.

How to install the mod

1. Download the DawnVR Mod here.

2. Follow the Automated Installation guide on the MelonLoader wiki page, installing to the Life is Strange: Before the Storm exe. If you do not know where your install’s exe is, open Steam, find the game, right click it, and select Manage -> Browse Local Files, this will lead you to your game’s installation.

3. Make sure to choose MelonLoader version 0.5.1 instead of latest, 0.5.3 has compatibility issues with some part of the game.

4. Alternatly download the latest release from here and open it.

5. In your game’s installation directory, drag all the files from the zip into that directory, Windows should merge the folders.

6. In your Steam launch parameters (Right click -> Properties -> Launch Options) add -vrmode OpenVR (case-sensitive).

7. In your game’s Steam settings, find Use Desktop Game Theatre while SteamVR is active and make sure it is unchecked.

8. Start the game, on first boot after installation the VREnabler plugin will extract the needed files, which may take a minute.

Pro

  • Test will follow

Contra

  • Test will follow

Teen Drama VR Rating

No rating yet



Myst logo

Myst VR (Meta Quest) [formerly Oculus Quest])

For a long time, the original PC conversion of the 1993 PC game held the record for the best-selling game – until it was replaced by The Sims in 2002. Five parts of the main series were released until 2007. The current remake, created with the Unreal Engine for Facebook’s VR headset, will later be released for other VR headsets and as a classic PC version (non-VR) via Steam and GOG.com.

Adventures in VR - Myst VR
There are definitely a few screws loose (Screenshot: Myst VR)

Adventures VR – now in real-time

In the mid-nineties, an island full of mysterious machines piqued the curiosity of more than six million gamers. Detailed rendered stills and video snippets straight from the CD – that made the novel adventure from the development studio Cyan a captivating experience. Which, in the VR age, can recently be explored in real time. And the feeling of isolation via VR headset fits perfectly with the theme of the puzzle adventure.

Adventures in VR - Myst VR
Romantic? Creepy? It’s probably in the eye of the beholder (Screenshot: Myst VR)

A remake very close to the original

With the help of a randomly found book, you end up on the island of Myst through a world rift, which is littered with mysterious gadgets to match the name. The VR remake stays very close to the original in terms of gameplay. Puzzles, gadgets and hidden passages are now explored with complete freedom of movement in virtual reality. While polygon graphics and still images were the order of the day in the original flat game classic, everything is now animated and moving in keeping with the times.

Adventures VR: Same puzzles as 30 years ago

But apart from the new VR presentation, the puzzles are the same as 30 years ago. However, when you start the game, you can have the menu randomize some of the numbers and letters represented. The puzzles, and thus the core content, have aged well, though. What was tricky then is still tricky today. Sometimes a tower clock on the island has to be set appropriately so that a bridge lifts out of the water. And you get to a massive machine puzzle of rotating gears. Elsewhere, the energy supply of certain island areas will be manipulated, or grottos will have to be flooded or pumped out.

Adventures in VR - Myst VR
Run down? Picturesque? That is probably in the eye of the beholder (Screenshot: Myst VR)

Adventures VR: Old puzzles in modern VR guise

Myst VR’s atmosphere is convincing and the 3D environment pleasant. Especially old Myst veterans might be pleased with how the developers have packed the old graphics into a modern garment. Everything has been implemented with a lot of attention to detail. The stick is used to teleport or walk. The trigger keys are used to grab objects, open doors, turn pages or press buttons. Sometimes books fall through the floor when the trigger is released and the collision control is a bit shaky, but these are rather exceptions.

Myst VR: As if fallen out of time

However, Myst VR seems a bit out of time. In the age of narrative adventures that almost play themselves, a lot of things here seem archaic and very tricky. However, the lack of clues should annoy even seasoned adventure fans. Here and there, spatially locatable squeaks, crackles or gurgles symbolize that something like the water level change has happened elsewhere. But far too often one wanders around for a long time afterwards, until the larger contexts can finally be recognized.

Adventures VR – a trip into a surreal world

That’s why Cyan’s VR remake of its adventure classic leaves an ambivalent impression. Even today, the puzzlingly surreal world full of machine puzzles still looks fascinating. The sense of isolation in particular feels very good in VR. The very tricky, somewhat dusty mechanics puzzles are even made more difficult by the half-hearted implementation: Without a note function or halfway contemporary convenience features, the exploration often feels unnecessarily bulky. The lack of polish can also make for a queasy feeling elsewhere, for example due to the less than optimal running speed. Those who grit their teeth and come to terms with these quirks will still get an engaging trip into the surreal world of an idiosyncratic classic.

Pro

  • Very good VR implementation of the original

  • If you are looking for really tricky puzzles, this is the (virtual) place to be

Contra

  • Can be frustrating for adventure novices (and even for experienced players)

  • Those who have played the original will not discover anything new

Mystery Puzzle VR Rating
3,5 / 5

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclaimer:

We rate the overall experience in VR games, but we do not rate the individual mods – unless they are offered commercially. Our big thanks to all the modders who go the extra mile to make flatscreen games unique experiences. Thank you for your passion!

Only the VR experiences were tested and played first. The tester was not aware of the flatscreen version beforehand.



Title Source: Anvio Virtual Reality Arcade
Wanderer Screenshots: M-Theory
Picture Source Firewatch: Campo Santo
Imag. Source Outer Wilds: Mobius Digital Games
Picture Source Life is strange: Square Enix
Image Source Myst: Cyan Worlds
Collage LucasArts and Monkey Island Pic: The Walt Disney Company
Image Source Sierra: Successor in title Sierra
Pic Telltale: Successor in title Telltale
Other Image Sources: Unsplash.com or pixabay.com

By Christian

His passions are technology, everything digital and surfing. On waves. He is a long-time journalist and, of course, a VR, AR and AI enthusiast.

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