Today, Sony Interactive Entertainment released a demo for its upcoming VR title, Marvel’s Iron Man VR, on the PlayStation Store. After playing, it was good to see that Sony and developer Camouflaj continue to streamline ideas of how VR games can effectively immerse players.
In the opening scenes of the demo, Tony Stark is on a private jet plane bickering with his assistant Pepper Potts and AI companion Friday over Potts becoming the CEO of Stark Industries. Their playful fight is interrupted by combat drones controlled by the mysterious villain, Ghost. After jumping out of the plane, I was able to fly around, fire photon blast, and get up close to punch drones.
Initial impressions had me interested in the simpler control scheme. Hold the triggers on the Move controllers activate flying thrusters of each hand, photon blasters and rocket punches use the “circle” and “X” on the left and right hand, respectively. The rest of the game mechanics, such as movement direction or activating missiles, are dependent on the direction the controllers are held, allowing me to focus on the game.
The combat doesn’t shy away from being fast-paced as drones are zipping around and behind my view. While I was able to keep track of enemies without feeling throw off-balanced in a VR environment, I can see people that have a low tolerance for motion sickness to find the combat very disorienting.
However, the tutorial section of the demo encouraged players to face the camera and use the view turning buttons for both optimized trackings for the Move controllers and minimize players physically turning around. This is done by having both a circle on the virtual floor to reminded me to stay in the center of the play area, as well as arrows in Iron Man’s holographic view that told me to turn around to face the camera.
There is also the potential issue of approaching a wall or cliffside rapidly. As someone that is used to fast-paced VR titles, it was hard to stop the fast momentum before smashing into the side of the plane or correct my course to fly into the engine so I can fix it. While I can see myself getting used to the thrusters after an hour or two of play, I was not able to completely understand it after the 40-minute demo.
That being said, I prefer more immersive gameplay given my experience with VR, but during the demo, there were no options to turn off the circle on the virtual floor or the arrows guiding me back to the camera. I appreciate that they are on by default for players new to VR and perhaps bought the upcoming Marvel’s Iron Man PSVR bundle, but looking down in the middle of a cinematic cutscene to see a bright orange circle broke the experience for me.
Marvel’s Iron Man VR is looking to be another solid title for the tail end of the PSVR as we look forward to PS5 and the rumored PSVR2. If Sony and Camouflaj want to encourage buying the first generation VR to bring over the next generation of PlayStation, we hope Iron Man VR can add options for experienced players looking for a fully immersive title as well as slower-paced gameplay for those that just jumped in.
Marvel’s Iron Man VR will be available for PlayStation VR on July 3, 2020.
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