Science fiction in VR – Gaming Special

Published Categorized as Gaming
Sci Fi VR Gaming Cover

Contents

1. Cyberpunk 2077 VR (PC VR Mod)

2. GTFO VR (PC VR Mod)

3. Mechwarrior 5 VR (PC VR Mod)

4. Jurassic World Aftermath VR (Meta Quest – formerly Oculus Quest)

5. Sairento VR : Untethered (Meta Quest – formerly Oculus Quest / PC VR / PSVR)


More Gaming Specials


Science fiction in VR – what could go together better when it comes to games, especially scifi games? After all, the virtual world (or the metaverse, as the term is becoming more and more common) is a brainchild of this narrative genre that has found its glorious breeding ground in art, books, comics, films, radio plays and, of course, video games.

In this Gaming Special, we’ll look at the subgenres of science fiction: cyberpunk, hostile aliens, military science fiction (with Battletech as a representative), and dinosaur science fiction. Along the way, we also take a general look at sci-fi and a special look at the subgenres. But most importantly, we test exciting VR games with Sci Fi themes.

Science fiction in VR - Gaming Special
Science fiction in VR – Gaming Special

In further Gaming Specials we will then take a closer look at the sci fi subgenres Space Opera, Dystopias, Quantum / Time Travel, Cosmic Horror and Steampunk as well as their outstanding VR game representatives.

What is science fiction, anyway?

The stories of sci-fi revolve around scientific and technological speculation, the distant future (at the time of writing), and mostly future developments. Science fiction – the term was first introduced as “science fiction” in 1851 by the British poet and essayist William Wilson in the title of Chapter 10 of his book ‘A little earnest book upon a great old subject‘. In 1929, science fiction was used in advertisements for the magazine Air Wonder Stories – the abbreviation sci-fi then first appeared in 1955.

Amazing Stories Cover April 1926  Science Fiction VR

Fun Fact

In 1926 writer Hugo Gernsback founded ‘Amazing Stories’, the first true science-fiction magazine. He also tried to trademark the term science fiction, and he paid writers, who wrote for ‘Amazing Stories’, so little that the (later) famous author H. P. Lovecraft nicknamed him ‘Hugo the Rat’.

The most famous sci-fi writing award nowadays is called the Hugo.

Enthusiasm for technology meets fear of technology

But what is sci-fi actually about? Often the enthusiasm for technology as well as the fear of technology are reflected here. Or the joy of a coming future meets the human fear of what is to come. The result can often be dystopias, such as in Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) or George Orwell (1984). This ambivalence characterizes science fiction, which is particularly dedicated to describing the effects of technology on humans and the utopian-futurological extrapolation of its effects.

Science fiction is undefinable

Some argue that indefinability is an essential characteristic of science fiction. There is agreement, however, that science fiction is not defined by its setting. That is, a story does not necessarily belong in the genre of science fiction just because it is set in the future or in outer space.

Matrix Gaming Special VR | Science Fiction VR

Fun Fact

The code from the Matrix Movie quadrilogy  is made out of Japanese sushi recipes, Production designer Simon Whiteley scanned his wife’s cookbooks and manipulated the text digitally, so it would rain down in what he calls “green rain.”

So now that we’ve defined the term science fiction, let’s focus on a few fantastic subgenres of sci fi that show how extensive and interesting the narrative form is:

Cyberpunk

The title of the sci-fi subgenre cyberpunk is composed of the terms cyber, derived from the ancient Greek κυβερνάω kybernáō for to control or direct, and punk. It is a dystopian direction of science fiction and a rather young genre, having emerged in the 1980s. The term itself first appeared in 1980 in a short story of the same name by Bruce Bethke. Above all, however, William Gibson with his Neuromancer trilogy and Neal Stephenson with Snow Crash were formative for the genre. Shadowrun and the cyberpunk role-playing game or tabletop series of the same name were also influential in style.

Cyberpunk Gaming Special
Science fiction in VR – Gaming Special

Cyberpunk is gritty

The world of cyberpunk is gloomy and characterized by violence and pessimism. It reflects the criticism against the increasing commercialization and urbanization. In this dystopia, states are controlled by large corporations that abuse the state’s monopoly power for their own purposes. The freedom and security of the individual has been lost and promises of a better world through technological progress have not been realized. High technology does not serve the welfare of people, it is used for general surveillance and optimization of living organisms by means of cyberware.

The lines between reality and fiction often blur with technology, as with the term cyberspace coined by William Gibson – a similar technology is called metaverse in Neal Stephenson’s work.

Snowcrash Gaming Special VR  | Science Fiction VR

Fun Fact

Neal Stephenson’s acclaimed 1992 novel Snow Crash inspired two major online creations: Second Life (derived from Stephenson’s virtual Metaverse) and Google Earth or TerraVision (with its Panoptic Earth application). And of course the change of Facebook to Meta.

Neuromancer predicted hacking, VR, WWW and cyberspace

In his 1984 novel Neuromancer, writer William Gibson predicted hacking, virtual reality, the World Wide Web and cyberspace a decade before the Internet took the form we know today. In a 20th anniversary reissue of the novel, Jack Womack opined that Gibson’s creation of cyberspace may have even spurred the development of the Internet.

Life in the shadows of society

Against this background, cyberpunk often paints the picture of a subculture that emerged, as it were, as the antithesis of a new world order without social and personal security. The main characters are often the losers of this development. Soldiers of fortune, adventurers or even hackers who lead a life away from the big corporations in the shadows of society. Many stories contrast them as protagonists with the power and ruthlessness of the unleashed corporations.

VR games tested: Cyberpunk 2077, Sairento VR : Untethered

Alien(s) – Sci-fi Subgenre

Aliens are a very old subgenre of science fiction literature, film and video games. Legendary is the radio play by Orson Welles from 1938 – where the listeners behind the radio thought it was a live broadcast where the alien attack was reported. In the center stands today still, – surprise! – the contact of humans with extraterrestrial life forms. This can be friendly aliens as in the film “E.T” by Steven Spielberg (the video game of the same name from 1982 is considered the worst of all time) or hostile contact as in the case of “Alien” by director Ridley Scott.

Alien VR Gaming Special  | Science Fiction VR

Fun Fact

For the iconic scene in the classic film ‘Alien’, in which a little biter shoots out of the torso of actor John Hurt, director Ridley Scott wanted the best possible reaction from his actors. Therefore, before filming the scene, he intentionally kept all details secret from the actors involved except Hurt. They knew a creature was going to show up, they had seen the doll, and they were more than a little suspicious of the raincoats they had been given. But they had no idea what kind of bloodshed was coming. Their reaction to the bloody outbreak is completely genuine. 

Actor Yaphet Kotto reportedly locked himself in his room right after the scene and wouldn’t talk to anyone.

Dangerous predators from outer space

Unlike alien invasion movies, the hostile aliens in alien monster movies appear only sporadically or at least locally. Also, the alien activity is usually not a large-scale invasion plan, but rather an unfortunate encounter by chance or an accident, such as the crash of a spaceship. Often the aliens are also not a superior alien civilization, but rather dangerous predators from outer space.

True, monsters from outer space also existed long before artist HR Giger created the iconic Xenomorph creature of the Alien film series. But in 1979, Ridley Scott made a lasting mark on the genre of alien movies with his cult science fiction film Alien. Since then at the latest, Alien Monster Movies have been a subgenre of their own, a congenial mix of monster horror movie and alien sci-fi movies.

Space Marines vs. Aliens

Another sci-fi success that shaped the genre was the sequel Aliens, which in turn crossed alien horror with space military, making the Space Marines the focus of the plot. In our tested VR game, both alien variants come together to create a scary and tense atmosphere.

Science Fiction in VR games tested: GTFO

Battletech Subgenre

BattleTech, or Mechwarrior, is a science fiction universe and media series. Originally conceived in 1984 as a fictional background for a futuristic war game, it has since been expanded into a complex fictional universe by various authors in a variety of media. BattleTech simulates warfare in a fictional future in which special fighting machines, the so-called BattleMechs, are among the primary tools of war and are also the focus of almost all stories.

Science fiction in VR - Gaming Special  | Science Fiction VR
Science fiction in VR – Gaming Special

Weapon Staring Combat Robots in the 31st Century

It’s hard to resist the fascination of Battlemech. The up to fifteen or sometimes even more meters high giants with almost 100 tons of combat weight heave weapon-staring arms, shoulders, torsos onto the battlefields of the early 31st century. High up in the cockpit sit the pilots, the eponymous Mechwarriors, and exchange missiles, particle and laser beams, machine gun salvos, grenades and flamethrower blasts with their opponents.

Today, BattleTech, also called MechWarrior, its military science fiction scenario includes not only the original -board games and role-playing games (distributed by Catalyst Game Labs since 2008) also countless PC and video games that have also made the leap into the virtual world.

What would serve better for a children’s cartoon than robotic killing machines?
(Source: Battletech TV Series)

There is also an animated series, a novel series and several (special) books (with technical drawings and blueprints as well as information on the background history and more).

Science Fiction in VR  game tested:  Mechwarrior 5

Dinosaur Subgenre

The best known representative of the dinosaur sci fi genre is, of course, the Jurassic Park or Jurassic World series, based on the novel Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. However, Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Lost World’ from 1912 is considered the great-grandfather of the genre.

The fact that these animals really existed has always fired people’s imagination. It is believed that the discovery of fossil dinosaur bones was the beginning of the myths of dragons or sea monsters, for example. The appeal in science fiction is mainly to unleash the beasts that lived millions of years ago in tropical swamps and spent their entire lives eating each other on the Homo Sapiens Sapiens humanity of today.

Dinosaur Gaming Special  | Science Fiction VR
Science fiction in VR – Gaming Special

Techno thriller with dinosaurs

Michael Crichton then mixed the actually existing biological mechanics in his techno-thriller with said formula. It raised questions about our perception of extinct animals, which in turn is a major theme of the book. How can we predict the behavior of species that are so completely foreign to us? As with all works dealing with extinct animals, Crichton relied almost exclusively on (then) current paleontology, the science of living things and living worlds of the geological past.

Much of that paleontology is now outdated, but it’s amazing how much the depiction of dinosaurs in this franchise influenced people’s interpretations of dinosaurs. Once again, fiction catches up with reality – as it so often does in science fiction.

Numerous Jurassic Park movies and (VR) games

And the franchise continues countless times in the cinema and in video and PC games as well as VR games. Jurassic World 3 will be released in 2022 and will combine the storylines of the five previous films. In 2021, the latest flat games spin-off, Jurassic World 2, was released on the PC, where you manage a dinosaur theme park (of course!).

Science Fiction in VR game tested:  Jurassic World Aftermath

But enough of the theory, let’s jump into the VR experiences and games that take us into a future that hasn’t (yet) happened:


Cyberpunk_2077_VR_Logo  | Science Fiction VR

Cyberpunk 2077 (PC VR)

What wasn’t all said about Cyberpunk 2077 when it was released in December 2020? The anticipation was gigantic, reports of a toxic work environment CD Projekt Red resonated before the game was released … and then the praises overflowed. Just not for very long. Because Cyberpunk was buggy. Very buggy. So buggy, in fact, that it looked atrocious and was almost unplayable on last-gen consoles like the PS4 or XBox.

The criticized game received many updates

An update to version 1.5 has ensured that the game reached the status it was supposed to have at release. This happened a good one and a quarter years later, but better too late than never. After all, this worked out more than well for No man’s sky (a review of No man’s sky VR will follow in an upcoming gaming special). That’s why we’re evaluating the game at the status it’s at right now. And above all, we evaluate the experience in virtual reality. After all, that’s what it’s all about here.

Cyberpunk VR Screenshot 1  | Science Fiction VR
Keanu Reeves ponders why the hell he made Matrix 4 (Screenshot: Cyberpunk 2077 VR)

Even two VR mods for Cyberpunk 2077 VR

And for Cyberpunk 2077 VR, there are even two mods that can be integrated into the PC version. The experience that you can have with Cyberpunk 2077 VR is almost incomparable to anything that currently exists in virtual reality gaming. That’s because Cyberpunk 2077, even as a flat game, is an incredibly dense and comprehensive game that simulates an entire megacity within the game area. And last but not least, Cyberpunk 2077 is a very good role-playing game. Of course, it also has an incredible flair to play a game in virtual reality that builds on the fact that virtual reality was born in this thought and story construct.

Other than The Witcher 3

Basically, CD Projekt RED uses a significantly upgraded version of the RED engine for “Cyberpunk 2077”, which was also used for “The Witcher 3”. However, the futuristic sci-fi setting has hardly anything in common with the medieval role-playing masterpiece: After all, you will understandably look in vain for horizontal and expansive green landscapes in “Cyberpunk 2077”. Instead, CD Projekt Red’s latest project focuses on gigantic vertical steel colossi, many reflective chrome surfaces, as well as a lot of small details like fog, debris, and moving objects that really pack the frame.

Cyberpunk 2077 Screenshot  | Science Fiction VR
Car poser at posing (Screenshot: Cyberpunk 2077)

Dense atmosphere and excellent storytelling

Not only the main quest surprises again and again with new twists, a very good staging and high-quality dramaturgy, but also the side quests are, as already in ‘The Witcher 3’, partly really great elaborated and often the secret highlights of the game. The great freedom of play, the momentous decisions, the surprisingly good weapon handling, the numerous upgrade options for your main character – all these successful elements make ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ a very good game. CD Projekt Red’s storytelling is simply excellent.

Cyberpunk VR Screenshot 3  | Science Fiction VR
That’s what I call a shotgun wedding (Screenshot: Cyberpunk 2077 VR)

VR Mods:

vorpX Cyberpunk 2077 VR

How to install the mod

1. Download the first-install zip archive here

2. Locate your Cyberpunk 2077 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 in the first-install zip archive to the root directory of Cyberpunk 2077

4. Steam: Ensure the option “Use Desktop Game Theatre while SteamVR is active” is unchecked

The Vorpx Cyberpunk VR mod is completely free and runs completely standalone. vorpX is a paid program for DirectX9-11 games that is specifically targeted at VR devices like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but also works with newer headsets like Meta Quest (formerly Oculus Quest). Besides being able to render games in 3D, it offers several features to solve many of the problems encountered when playing games on a VR headset that is not designed for it.

Unplayable without an Uber PC

However, it has to be said that it was only possible to play at a somewhat reasonable resolution on a Core i9-9900K and RTX 3090. Lower resolutions also worked with an RTX 3070, for example, but all graphics cards below that should not really be tried. At least if you value a reasonably immersive gaming experience. In addition, the game is only playable via gamepad, VR controllers are not yet usable, but the implementation is planned. This is something that we are already used to from the  Resident Evil 7 VR and  Resident Evil 8 VR implementations.

An Uber PC is required anyway

The vorpX Cyberpunk VR mod runs stable and is easy to install. If you don’t have a problem with the gamepad controls, you can experience the whole game in full VR glory in 40 – 100 hours. However, this is only recommended for those who own an Uber PC. All others should wait a bit until the hardware is even better worth it. Then, perhaps, more bug fixes and expansions for Cyberpunk 2077 (VR) will be released.


Luke Ross Cyberpunk 2077 VR

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

https://www.patreon.com/join/realvr

This costs at least $10 on Patreon (you sign up for a monthly subscription that can be canceled at any time).


The mod also works for Red Dead Redemption 2 VR, Horizon Zero Dawn VR, Mafia 1, 2 and 3 VR.


How to install the mod:

1. Download the first-install zip archive from Luke Ross

2. Locate your Cyberpunk 2077 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 in the first-install zip archive to the root directory of Cyberpunk 2077

4. Steam: Ensure the option “Use Desktop Game Theatre while SteamVR is active” is unchecked.

For the Luke Ross Cyberpunk 2077 VR mod, even on a Core i9-9900K and RTX 3090, playing at native 2700×2700 resolution barely manages 60 fps. At least in our test procedure. In the official video from Luke Ross he was able to maintain 80-90 fps. The lowest playable configuration that was reasonably okay was with a Core i9-9900K and an RTX 3070 – when all graphics settings are on medium. At this level, the game is also playable and doesn’t look completely awful. But you should also expect 60 FPS or lower.

Actually it is fun to explore VR Night City

Cyberpunk is also only playable via gamepad, VR controllers are not yet usable, but the implementation is planned. So it’s the same as with the Vorpx VR mod and the implementations of Resident Evil 7 und 8 VR. Actually, the mechanics run very smoothly and it is even fun to explore Night City in VR. In fact, the world in VR looks even more detailed and unfolds its very own flair. You like to look around in the cars and marvel at the details. A definite extension to what is offered on the flatscreen. The details in the surroundings also come out much better. You look much more interested at advertising packages or the snacks offered by the street vendor.

VR adaptation successful

From a technical point of view, what Luke Ross has conjured up is really very well-rounded. The VR-adapted HUD and the menu control are especially nice. You also have to keep in mind that the VR mod is still in Early Access at the moment (March 2022). So the prospects are quite rosy that you can move perfectly in the dirty neon world of Cyberpunk in the foreseeable future.

One of the most extraordinary VR experiences

After all, Cyberpunk is one of the most extraordinary VR experiences you can currently have. The atmosphere and the people that populate the dirty cyberpunk world amaze us. And compared to the vorpX mod, Cyberpunk 2077 VR looks good and playable even at low resolutions. However, at least a Geforce GTX 3070 or an equivalent graphics card is required here as well.


Netrunner Cyber Hack Rating

5 / 5

Rating: 5 out of 5.



Pro

  • Outstanding cyberpunk feeling
  • Fantastic role playing game
  • Great atmosphere
  • Exciting storytelling
  • Exploring Night City, the Outlands and other districts is just fun

Contra

  • The hardware requirements are relentless


GTFO Logo

GTFO (PC VR)

Normally, the abbreviation GTFO stands for Get The F*** Out – and thus fits like a glove. GTFO is essentially a four-player co-op shooter in which you have to descend as a prisoner into a sci-fi complex that is full of creepy aliens. In doing so, you have to solve various tasks, such as recovering artifacts or collecting resources. The motto is to stay together and act carefully.

Ammunition and life energy are running low

GTFO is developed by 10 Chamber Studios, which was founded by Ulf Andersson. He previously worked at Overkill and was responsible for the Payday series, where you were put in the shoes of bank robbers. In GTFO, ammunition and life energy are scarce, which is why you should avoid a direct confrontation with the nasty aliens as long as possible. The enemies are especially strong, clearly outnumbered and sensitive to light and movement. If you act carelessly here, you’ll quickly put yourself and your team in mortal danger, and in the worst case, you’ll fail the mission.

GTFO VR Screenshot 1  | Science Fiction VR
Knock, knock. “Who’s there?” “GTFO!” (Screenshot: GTFO)

A horrortrip in VR

GTFO is pure thrill. And pure teamwork. Especially in virtual reality, the already tough game becomes a (fun) horror trip. The subterranean science fiction labyrinths are terrifying places, where sometimes in complete darkness where the grotesque aliens dozing half asleep just waiting to tear off the heads of the unwary in seconds. However, as in many shooters, not only firepower is enough for survival. Coordinated, careful action, which regularly rather reminds of stealth gameplay, is the order of the day.

Blood and slime just splashing around

The murderous monsters, which are located in different places in each game, are far easier to defeat from silent ambush via melee attack than in direct combat. In VR, we let the hammer fly and blood and slime splatter all around us. It’s just stupid that sometimes, despite all the caution, there’s no way around wild shootouts, because the loud alarm of an airlock attracts whole swarms of monsters, for example. Then monsters rush towards us en masse and you nervously fiddle with your rifle, forgetting to reload in your excitement. With often fatal consequences. Especially in VR, you notice that the scenario doesn’t forgive anything.

GTFO VR  | Science Fiction VR
Panic at the Disco! (Screenshot: GTFO VR)

Environmental Storytelling at its best

There is no storyline in the actual sense, the game tells its stories via environmental storytelling. It’s obvious that movies or games like the Alien series were godfathers for the inspiration. Our protagonists are the fucked up version of Space Marines (or the prison inmates from Alien 3). The aliens are like sleeping predators that you should do your best to avoid waking. You sneak through dense fog, crawl past billowing cones of light and feel the oppressive sense of claustrophobia at all times.

With a little help from my friends

Those who want to get started without friends will have a hard time: The search for teammates is as indispensable as it is cumbersome, teams of two or even lone fighters hardly see land, although relatively well-playing bots can accompany the players. The difficulty level and the lack of tutorials bind the hardcore crowd to a very special gaming experience, but that also means that the first maps become an insurmountable hurdle for less hardcore players.

 | Science Fiction VR
Who let the chops out? (Who, who, who, who) (Screenshot: GTFO VR)

The balancing of the generally unspectacular weapons, but also the random elements, is problematic at times, for example with too high enemy density or unfair checkpoint distribution when opening security gates. When an hour of careful sneaking ends abruptly in a bloodbath due to the slightest mistake or simple coincidence, frustration is the order of the day.

A difficult game for a hardcore VR gamer

GTFO is explicitly advertised by the developers as a difficult game for a hardcore audience. An intense horror experience of the extraordinary kind, especially in virtual reality. Provided that you can cope with the aforementioned hurdles in terms of game initiation and, in the best case, have friends with you. But even in games with strangers, you can often find exemplary cooperative players. If you love the alien sci fi genre, you will also have a nerve-racking time with GTFO.

How to install the mod

1. Download the first-install zip archive here. This contains all the files needed to install the plugin.

2. Locate your GTFO folder using the steam library. Right click GTFO in your Steam library, go into Properties->Local Files->Browse

3. Copy all the files in the first-install zip archive to the root directory of GTFO, not inside the GTFO_data folder.

4. Ensure the Steam option “Use Desktop Game Theatre while SteamVR is active” is unchecked. Right click GTFO in your Steam library, go into Properties->General

5. While SteamVR is running, launch the game from the library or from within SteamVR and you’re in! Ignore the “GTFO does not support VR” warning, just click OK

6. Tweak or setup your controls under SteamVR -> Settings -> Controllers -> Manage Controller Bindings -> GTFO VR

7. Tweak all VR config options inside GTFO game under Settings -> VR Settings

Pro

  • One of the best multiplayer co-op games at the moment
  • VR provides a real up-close feeling – and is thus an immersive enrichment
  • A real challenge – for those who like challenges

Contra

–  Can be frustrating due to its difficulty


Slimy Alien VR Rating

4,5 / 5

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Mechwarrior 5 Logo

Mechwarrior 5 VR (PC VR)

Mechwarrior 5 makes it really difficult. A VR mod has never been as bulky as Mechwarrior 5 VR. Because the VR game options – that is, that you can put on the headset and really see something, that only works when actually sitting in the Battlemech. So who is irritated that it remains black behind the lenses after installing the VR mod – do not worry, says the developer, this is quite normal!

First screen, then VR headset, then screen again

For the start of the game in the story campaign, this means that you watch the cutscenes (which look good in principle) on the screen, find yourself on the hangar and walk along it with the help of the gamepad (again, what applies to the Cyberpunk VR mods and the Resident Evil mods – no VR controller support so far). Then you get into the mech, drive up the huge combat device and – the VR HMD gets a picture.                         

Mechwarrior 5 Screenshot 1  | Science Fiction VR
Blinded by the light (Screenshot: Mechwarrior 5 VR)

A cozy Battletech feeling

In the cockpit you actually get a really comfortable Battletech feeling. The cockpit is richly detailed with gauges and control sticks. Once the mech starts moving, you also get the immersive experience of being in a meter-high fighting machine. Heavy stomps the robot over the ground and fires its weapons in a lengthy tutorial. However, if you look at a VR game like Star Wars Rogue Squadron for a direct comparison, you immediately notice that the graphics clearly lag behind.

A chewy story line

The controls, even though they are directly adapted to the Battlemech, are also slow and not particularly native. On the way home after the tutorial, enemy mechwarriors attack the base in a cutscene. Exactly, then you have to take off the VR headset. In the story, you escape at the last second with the Leopard dropship. But what starts out so dramatically in terms of the story soon just plods along. The solo campaign turns out to be a tough series of boring standard missions.

Mechwarrior 5 Screenshot 3  | Science Fiction VR
Idyllic landscape panorama – with combat robot (Screenshot: Mechwarrior 5 VR)

Standard mission by standard mission

You can travel around the star map and pick mission contracts – but they only vary landscape and enemy composition, as well as a good handful of mission types à la defend a base, take out a certain mech, destroy multiple targets on a map, and so on. Most of the time, the story mission objective is to achieve Reputation X. So you fight standard battle after standard battle until you achieve the required reputation. Then there’s a story mission, usually a slightly harder version of the standard missions, and an info dump about those mysterious attackers from the cutscene after the tutorial. Then everything starts all over again.

The strength in VR are the mech battles

Mechwarrior 5 is clearly the most action-focused part of the entire game series. By far the biggest strength of Mechwarrior 5 are the battles, which is also the appeal of the VR game. This is partly due to the good-looking, varied landscapes. Ice planets, volcanic worlds, canyons, forests, rivers, even if the graphics can’t keep up with other PC VR games, something is offered here. On the other hand, the stars of the game, the Battlemechs, are very well staged. The different weapon types have believable effects and sounds, armor plates glow when hit, melting reactors end in a huge explosion cloud.

 | Science Fiction VR
A job as hard as life itself (Screenshot: Mechwarrior 5 VR)

Is fun in VR anyway

The game Mechwarrior 5 is really okay and is also fun in VR. However, it is on the border of unplayability. Not only does the VR view only work in Battlemech, but as soon as you want to go into the menu, you can’t really see anything because it is displayed just below the viewing area. Thus, you cannot interrupt the game and are forced to play the missions in one go. All of this dulls the gameplay quite a bit.

Mechwarrior 5 VR is therefore really only recommended for really big fans of Battletech. However, they will feel a particularly happy gaming feeling to really control a gigantic battle bolide in the 31st century for the first time. All other VR gamers do not necessarily have to risk a look.

How to install the mod

1. Download Mechwarrior 5 VR Mod here

2. Steam:

a. Extract the Zips VRWARRIOR and MW5Compatibility folders into the Mods folder in the MW5Mercs directory, ie: steamapps\common\MechWarrior 5 Mercenaries\MW5Mercs\Mods

b. Activate the Mods from the Mod menu inside the game

c. Go to game properties in your Steam library

d. Type in the launch option according to your headsets runtime
SteamVR runtime, eg: Vive / Vive Pro / Cosmos /Valve Index / All WMR devices / Pimax /Quest 1/2 via Virtual Desktop users:  -allowhmd -d3d12

Oculus runtime, eg: Rift CV1, Rift S, Quest 1 / 2 via Link/AirLink:  -allowhmd

3. Epic Games Store:

a. Extract the Zips VRWARRIOR and MW5Compatibility folders into the Mods folder in the MW5Mercs directory, ie: Epic Games\MW5Mercs\MW5Mercs\mods

b. Activate the Mods from the Mod menu inside the game

c. Go to Settings in EGS, open Mechwarrior 5 Mercenaries tab, tick “Additional Command Line arguments”

d. Type in the launch option according to your headsets runtime:
SteamVR, eg: Vive / Vive Pro / Cosmos /Valve Index / All WMR devices / Pimax / Quest 1/2 via Virtual Desktop users:
-allowhmd -d3d12

Oculus, eg: Rift CV1, Rift S, Quest 1/2 via Link/AirLink

-allowhmd


Pro

  • Battletech feeling is immersive – WHEN you are in the mech
  • Nice VR action game
  • The atmosphere and sound effects are good

Contra

– The VR controls or use of the headset is confusing

– The graphics could be better

– Really only recommended to Battletech / Mechwarrior fans, others will be frustrated quickly



Game Rating
3 / 5

Rating: 3 out of 5.

(Current) VR Experience Rating
2,5 / 5

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Note: Even though the VR mod is free, we have introduced a rating here. Because it is so different from other mods. However, this is not to express any statement about the value of the mod.


Jurassic World Aftermath Logo  |

Jurassic World Aftermath (Meta Quest [formerly Oculus Quest])

Part 1  

[Pricing ca. 24,99 / 21,99 € ]

A pure sneaking game with comic dinos – that’s what awaits us in the Quest-exclusive Jurassic World Aftermath. It takes you back to Isla Nebular – known from the book and movie ‘Jurassic Park‘ and the Jurassic World series. Two years after the closure of Jurassic World, you are supposed to recover confidential research documents – and that’s before velociraptors get a hold of your own player. In keeping with the name, the story takes place after the movies. The story is divided into two parts that take place directly after each other.

jurassic world aftermath screenshot 1  | Science Fiction VR
Wheeeeree is the dino? Wheeeeree is the dino? Theeere’s the dino!
(Screenshot: Jurassic World Aftermath VR)

Main game and a paid DLC – double revenue stream?

First of all, the division into a main game and a paid DLC is a bit brazen. Because the Quest Store doesn’t point out that the story can’t be completed without the second part, and because this pricing policy is certainly questionable to say the least. That’s why we’re also testing the two parts independently here.

Interesting cell-shaded graphic style in VR

Jurassic World Aftermath stands out in one way: the art style that the development studio Coatsink uses, the cell-shaded graphic style, is relatively rare and provides variety. You can find this good or bad, it is atmospheric in any case. The inevitably appearing dinos also act nicely idiosyncratically and are animated fluidly. When you crouch in front of the skeptically sniffing raptor in the locker, Jurassic World Aftermath occasionally creates a really exciting sneaking mood. Clearly, the survival horror sneaking game ‘Alien Isolation’ was the model here. While Alien Isolation can be really nerve-wracking and scores points for its great graphics and atmosphere, Jurassic World Aftermath doesn’t completely match its predecessor.

 | Science Fiction VR
Hello, anyone home? (Screenshot: Jurassic World Aftermath VR)

On the constant run from the velociraptor

This is also due to the fact that there is little variety. We don’t meet any humans but always run away from the velociraptor, through smashed laboratories, departments, transport centers or merchandise stores. In between another aggressive dinosaur species makes its appearance – you have to adapt to them in the dark. The darkness provides a bit more excitement, but some of the associated search tasks can strain your nerves.

 | Science Fiction VR
“That’s how far I can get my mouth open!” (Screenshot: Jurassic World Aftermath VR)

Few variations when sneaking

The sneaking principle wears off too quickly, though, since there is too little variation overall. The interspersed mini-games with dials and sliders, such as opening digital locks or aligning frequencies and radio amplifiers, are a waste of time. Unlike the clever spatial puzzles in Half-Life: Alyx , the right solution is usually only a matter of time.

On the whole, an uninteresting story

Unfortunately, it has to be said that the story is uninteresting. While you sneak through the rooms, ex-employee Mia explains some story snippets from her past in the facility over the radio. The stories and squabbles from her everyday life back then only prove to be entertaining to a limited extent, though. One of the game’s strengths is the decent raptor AI: It likes to send the moody, suspiciously sniffing beasts on alternating routes through the corridors. However, their paths can be effectively influenced with a hacking gadget: Simply aim the light beam on your wrist at a printer, a loudspeaker or another manipulable device – and it will go rattling mad and keep the irritated dinosaur busy for a few seconds.

Non-violent but not necessarily immersive

Once the prehistoric hunters have discovered the player, they usually only have a few seconds to save themselves. Otherwise, their sharp rows of teeth can be admired in close-up shortly after. The camera stops just before the bite and fades to one of the frequent save points. Even though this makes the game less violent, it’s not immersive. Thanks to the life-size representation in VR, there are still small moments of shock during the jump attack.

What remains completely incomprehensible, however, is why there has Overall, it remains to be said that you spend a large part of the time lurking under furniture, in cupboards or ventilation shafts. This is all atmospheric and for Jurassic Part or Jurassic World and dino fans already an experience. As a VR game, however, Jurassic World Aftermath is rather better than average.

Part 2

[Pricing ca. 16,99 $ / 14,99 € ]

To start with, since the DLC is not a true sequel, it should come as no surprise that all of the above applies to Part 2 just as it did to Part 1. What started out as a salvage mission to retrieve secret documents from the abandoned Jurassic World park on Isla Nublar in Part 1 turns out to be a pure survival task in Part 2. In addition, the stars of the Jurassic World films, Jeff Goldblum and BD Wong, are back in their speaking roles as Dr. Ian Malcolm and Dr. Henry Wu.

More variety in Jurassic World Aftermath Part 2

However, some new elements are introduced and thus the second half of Jurassic World Aftermath offers more variety in gameplay and dinosaurs. Now, in addition to velociraptors, we are also chased by pteranodons and at least one T-Rex. The abrupt start, by the way, makes you even more aware of how little you care about the story. It is once again narrated by Mia, a voice on the intercom that provides a wealth of unnecessary contextual information.  And which, once again, is not particularly captivating.

 | Science Fiction VR
“Not the Mama!” (Screenshot: Jurassic World Aftermath VR)

Amazing: Listening to Jeff Goldblum can be boring

The biggest problem, however, is that the division into two parts makes both parts feel bloated and repetitive when viewed as a whole. The story is really just there to provide excuses to run from point A to point B anyway. And then once again a blocked door or some other inconvenience forces you to take a different path. It also doesn’t help that there are sections where you just stand there and listen to voice recordings voiced by Jeff Goldblum. Which is surprisingly boring, and until now, you always thought that no matter what Jeff Goldblum did, it was always entertaining and funny. But that’s probably more Jurassic World Aftermath’s problem than Goldblum’s.

The last two hours will be exciting

The real change comes when the story nears its end in the last two hours of Aftermath. The clock is ticking, and you get the feeling that the pressure is a bit greater and that there is more at stake than before. These final hours are without question the best of Part 1 and Part 2, and feature some really great moments with a couple of new, iconic dinosaurs that feel more cinematic and engaging than the repetitive Velociraptor stealth rooms.  Before that, you experience similar same repetitive sections as in part 1.

 | Science Fiction VR
“Hello, our names are Kim, Jose and James and we sell vacuum cleaners!”
(Screenshot: Jurassic World Aftermath VR)

Questionable pricing policy in the Meta Store

Overall, you could say that Part 2 makes the overall game a tad better. However, it’s a questionable pricing policy to put the best section of the game into a paid DLC and thus cash in twice. This seems to be a scheme that Meta likes to use, as we already know this from Star Wars – Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge.

Thus, it can also be said for part 2 that Jurassic World Aftermath is an entertaining game with a poor story and repetitive gameplay. An experience for dino fans, but not a must-have title for VR gamers.

Pro

  • Interesting cell-shaded graphic style in VR
  • Dinosaurs come to life in VR
  • Sound and atmosphere set the mood

Contra

  • Immersiveness could be better
  • The sneak game principle becomes monotonous in the long run
  • The story is boring and motivates only conditionally

Dinosaur Snap Biter VR Rating
3,5 / 5

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


Sairento-VR-Untethered Logo

Sairento VR : Untethered (PC VR, PSVR, Meta Quest [formerly Oculus Quest])

Sairento VR is a VR action role-playing game with missions set in a Cyber-Japan in the future. In Sairento, you are a member of the Silent Ones – cyber ninjas who master martial arts of ancient samurai and ninjas. For virtual reality fans with PC, Sairento VR is already old hat – the title appeared in Early Access back in 2016 and saw its final release in early 2018. The PSVR version was also released in 2018, and the Meta Quest [formerly Oculus] version in 2019.

Sairento-VR-Untethered Screenshot 1  | Science Fiction VR
Friday night: When cyber samurais are on their way to the party (Screenshot: Sairento VR)

Neo and Max Payne become cyber ninja

Sairento VR : Untethered feels like Neo from Matrix and Max Payne combined into one Cyber Ninja. Sairento VR is not the prettiest title in VR, which is also due to its age. On the other hand, the staging is still exciting. The action that is torched here is worthy of all honor and should demand a lot from even rig-steeled VR heroes with its freedom of movement and the acrobatic possibilities it contains. But if you sink your teeth into the action, accept the steep learning curve, push your movement tolerance limit further and further and try the seamlessly transitioning sword and ballistic battles, whose AI opponents are more convincing through mass than class, you will be rewarded with action sequences that you rarely get to enjoy in this intensity.

Sairento-VR-Untethered Screenshot 2  | Science Fiction VR
Monday morning: When cyber samurais are still pretty much off the rails
(Screenshot: Sairento VR)

Bouncing through Cyber-Tokyo

However, the story is relegated to the second row in view of the intense action; it’s rather laboured and too often contrived anyway. Stylistically, it manages to set itself up adequately against the backdrop of a futuristic cyber-Tokyo, but in terms of content, you quickly click away from the rich but rather weak dialogues throughout. Stylistically, Sairento VR manages to set up an atmospheric background of a futuristic cyber-Tokyo, but in terms of content, you quickly click away the rich, but throughout rather weak dialogues to get to the next action sequence, which should keep you busy for a good five to six hours in the first run-through.

Sairento-VR-Untethered Screenshot 3  | Science Fiction VR
Wednesday at noon: When cyber samurais don’t feel like doing their job anymore
(Screenshot: Sairento VR)

The good, the bad and the Cyber Ninja

With tens of different weapons, from pistols to shotguns to bows, as well as a rich arsenal of sharp blades or kunis, you can equip yourself individually between missions before jumping back into the fray. The enemy design in Neo-Tokyo is okay. The sound of the title is good, the music is nice and discreet, it won’t annoy the player. The sound effects (firearms, iron against iron…) are faithful to those of the real world and allow the player to immerse himself more deeply in the title.

Sairento VR is a very rhythmic game, the good and the not so good coexist in this Cyberpunk VR title. Overall, not an outstanding title that everyone necessarily needs to have played. Those who have a heart for cyberpunk and do not have the necessary computing power for Cyberpunk 2077 VR can take a look.

Pro

  • Stylish Cyberpunk action

Contra

  • Gameplay gets boring after a while
  • Story does not blow you away
  • Technically outdated by now

Cyber Ninja Shredding VR Rating
3,0 / 5

Rating: 3 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 Sources, Screenshots and other Images: HTC
Picture Source Cyberpunk 2077: CD Project Red
Imag. Source Battletech 5: Piranha Games Inc.
Image Source GTFO: 10 Chambers
Image Source Jurassic World Aftermath: Coatsink

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.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.