E3 2014: Oculus Rift Impressions

June 11, 2014

I was lucky enough to snag some time at the Oculus Rift booth, which features the second version of development kit of prototype. I tried three games: EVE Valkyrie, Super Hot and Aliens Isolation, and the impression it left was stunning.

Even though I was in a booth with numerous other people, the sense of immersion from donning the Oculus headset was amazing. The first game, EVE Valkyrie, put me in the pilot’s chair of a starfighter. I witnessed the vehicle launch from a bay, as a fighter would do in Battlestar Galactica, before I was able to pilot my ship around an asteroid field and space station. Looping between floating giant rocks felt and flying in space surreal. For the few minutes I was playing the game, I almost felt that I was flying in an X-Wing from Star Wars .


The second game Oculus had on show, Super Hot, is currently on Kickstarter. In a nutshell, time only moves when your character does. Standing still and only looking around stops time completely, but the faster you move your legs around, the quicker real world time passes by. My character had to dodge bullets in a scenario similar to bullet time in the Matrix, where slowing my actions caused the bullets travelling through the air slowly. With several enemies shooting at my from the end of a hallway, I had to time my actions and navigate carefully to avoid the hail of bullets, but it proved too challenging and I was eventually gunned down. The person before me, however, was able to dodge the bullets, pick up a gun and shoot the enemies.


The third demo took me into the world of Aliens Isolation. Donning the headset made really me feel as though I was in the first Aliens movie. Slowly walking down a darkened space station hallway, the Alien nevertheless saw my character and tore me to bits in very graphic detail. The visual experience was absolutely freaky to say the least, but a fantastic example of what the Oculus Rift can achieve.