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Posted June 24, 2015 by Adam Ghiggino in Feature
 
 

Edge of Nowhere (Oculus) Preview – E3 2015


Edge of Nowhere was a game I dearly wanted to check out at E3, but seeing as the Oculus booth was so popular that app-based bookings were required for 7 minutes of gameplay, it was the only demo I played on the Consumer Version of the Oculus.

Speaking briefly about the headset – it feels lightweight and the new resolution is certainly a massive step-up from the DK1, although perhaps not as big a difference from the DK2. The screen door effect is almost gone, and it’s only noticeable after staring at the image for a few minutes. However, there is still a lot of room to improve – unfortunately for these devices we’re going to need to see massive increases in resolution before the effect is gone entirely. However, there’s very little lag or blurring and it feels pretty comfy too.

Edge of Nowhere is a demo from Insomniac set in the Arctic. You’re part of a lost expedition, and you’re trying to find your way through the dangerous and surreal environment. 

It’s played from a third person perspective strangely, meaning that you’re essentially controlling the camera with your head, while the character with your hands. This is necessary, as the game focuses on action platforming, kind of like Uncharted. The ice around you tends to fall apart, meaning there’s a whole bunch of running and jumping which is easier from a third person view. It does make it feel a bit more like a traditional game and less like a VR experience, however.

The demo starts off on an icy cliff, but soon our character comes across a cave, which they enter only to find themselves chased by some giant shady creatures. I will say that looking at everything in VR and only focusing on an area at a time made the atmosphere a bit more tense – I only caught small glimpses of them as they darted past, unsure of whether they were lizard like or something else. It’s a definitely a creepy feeling when combined with your dying torchlight.

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Eventually you have to make a run for the tunnel exit as something massive chases you. I should have looked behind me to see what was coming, but I had to focus ahead in order to navigate through the collapsing tunnels. Escaping the ice led me to a strange cabin, with a posh and well-appointed room inside with a fireplace and record player. Suddenly, a woman whispered in my ear “You shouldn’t be here” and tentacles covered my vision, ending the demo.

The third person view does remove you from the action a little bit, but the atmosphere and 3D elements still work really well. There’s an interesting dynamic going on, where the virtual reality experience seems to be about bringing you ‘along’ for the adventure, rather than being concerned with it happening ‘to’ you, if that phrasing makes any sense. You’re watching this character go through this arctic adventure to find his missing comrades, yet you’re almost directing the camera and action in an immersive movie, rather than placing yourself in his shoes. I’d definitely need more time with the game to get a better feel for how it all works, but Insomniac definitely have an interesting concept on their hands, and the new Oculus model is really going to take the world by storm when it hits in 2016.


Adam Ghiggino

 
Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.


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