E3 2016: Farpoint PS VR Preview

June 24, 2016

Of all the PlayStation VR demos I played at E3, Farpoint was the one that really impressed me from the get go and sold me on the technology… Although on reflection, that impression has dimmed a little. Let me explain.

Farpoint was given top billing in Sony’s poster coverage outside the LA Convention Center, with a huge banner over the top of West Hall advertising the game. It also had one of the more impressive set-ups at their booth, with a chunk of space carved out to look like Mars (or a Mars-like alien planet where the game is set), with demo-ers in full view of everyone decked out in PlayStation VR and PlayStation Aim equipment (the new rifle-like peripheral).

I played a 15-minute demo of the game, that ran through various holographic snippets of gameplay, obviously meant to showcase a few different areas. All of them were outside in the red Mars-ish alien world, and most of them showcased the FPS gameplay of the game with the PlayStation Aim.


I will say this right off the bat, that the initial impression when being immersed into Farpoint is amazing. Your Aim’s movements are replicated 1:1 inside the game, so that when you’re looking down at your hands on your futuristic space weapon, it really feels like your own body is moving within this environment. It’s a very cool use of the technology, even if it can get a little funny with certain angular movements and glitch out a little at this early stage. Of course, it also can’t detect when you take a hand off the rifle, but as long as you keep both hands on, the illusion works well. You can even hold the rifle close to your head and aim along the sights, using the holographic screen along the top.

The main thing I was doing throughout the demo was battling giant enemy crabs. Well, they’re more spiders than crabs. Actually, if we’re being honest, most of them are basically Alien‘s face huggers that leap at your face, allowing you ample opportunity to shoot them mid-air, which works pretty well for a virtual reality FPS like this. There are also big brutes who charge at you from underground, acid spewing ranged spiders and one absolutely monstrous boss spider, who only appeared towards the end of the demo to provide a nice cliffhanger.


You’ll be fighting all of these with your standard assault rifle, which also comes with a secondary fire – homing rockets, which really help take care of the more ranged units, like the acid-spewers. Again, it is worth pointing out that while in battle, the immersion is amazing and you really get involved in dodging attacks and reacting quickly to taking care of projectiles midair as they fly towards you. The developers have also tried every VR trick in the book, with some situations meant to provoke responses from this new to the technology – like edging along a narrow ledge above a canyon.

However, with all that said at the moment, it’s still a fairly standard FPS, just done in VR. It wouldn’t be remarkable if not for the technology, and although it is impressive, it was a pretty basic ‘clear this environment out of enemies, move on’ type of game. There appears to be a deeper story at work, with one brief section showing ghostly hologram replays of other astronauts, although this didn’t last long enough for me to get a real sense of what they were talking about or how this would play out over the course of the main game.

Farpoint is currently set for release on 13 October, 2016 on PlayStation VR.