Developer: Illion Corp
Publisher: YJM Games
Release Date: Out Now
Format(s): PlayStation VR (Reviewed), HTC Vive, Oculus Rift
You know what PlayStation VR has been missing? A good third-person dungeon crawler. It might not be the sort of title you’d typically associate with the headset, but given how impressive other third-person games have been and the popularity of the genre, it’s surprising it’s took this long for one to come along. Finally, developer Illion have brought their previously PC-exclusive title Preta: Vendetta Rising to Sony’s headset, giving PlayStation VR owners the chance to go on a gruelling dungeon-crawling adventure.
Admittedly, the story of Preta: Vendetta Rising doesn’t really get off to the best of starts with it feeling a little uninspired and confusing. You’re put in this vicious and dark world, where the inhabitants are slowly being turned into deadly creatures known as Preta. It’s up to you to discover what the source of this evil is and, most importantly, how to stop it.
Honestly, you won’t feel overly enamoured by the narrative and it left me baffled during the introduction, though as you progress some of the pieces do start to come together. It doesn’t help that the script is a little lacking, with it suffering from a poor translation at times as well as bad grammar. The tale isn’t horrible by any means and it serves its purpose of providing a context to the adventuring, but it certainly is one of the weaker aspects of the game.
You can play as one of three characters in Preta: Vendetta Rising, though the player is able to switch their choice around freely in-game. You get to choose between a melee focused character, a speed focused character, and a magic focused character. Each character has different abilities and weapons that are unique to them so they’re fun to play around with and figure out what works best for you – in honesty though, they’re all easy enough to pick up and play, with each character having a fair amount of flexibility to their combat style.
Combat itself will see you mashing buttons as you unleash combos, whilst specific skills are also used with a simple button press. Skills have a cool down timer so you can’t use them willy-nilly, but they’re impressive in-game and certainly pack a punch. You’ve also got your defensive manoeuvres which are fairly standard, with a dodge and a block used to keep yourself out of harm’s way. You’ll also be able to use a bunch of different items to help out in battle and unleash massive damage with special rage attacks, whilst AI companions lend a hand in providing some swift beat downs upon your foes as you progress through the game too.
The combat is a little simple in design, but it actually makes for a lot of fun. Your attacks all look great and feel great to pull off in-game, whilst the good variety of enemies you take on ensures that you’re always facing a different challenge. Some of the enemies are pretty impressive to look at too, with some hulking over the main character with their size. It certainly feels like a dungeon crawler throughout, and fans of the genre won’t be disappointed with what’s on show – regardless of how simple it can be.
Outside of combat, Preta: Vendetta Rising follows the typical dungeon crawler formula. You know: exploring a hub area, talking to NPCs, finding missions, improving your gear, and repeating after completing a mission. As you work through the game, more options will open up for the player as far as mission variety and customisation is concerned, so you’ll always feel a sense of progress as you play. It’s got that ‘grand adventure’ vibe throughout, though what would you expect from a game that boasts over fifty hours of gameplay?
Preta: Vendetta Rising’s biggest flaw comes in its dependence on forcing the player to grind, with the game following a repetitive strain of having the player work through the same missions time and time again as they look to improve their gear. It’s typically obvious when you need to grind it out, with the player hitting a brick wall in progress thanks to some over the-top-difficulty spike. The problem is that these spikes come so often – time and time again progress comes to a halt and you’ve instead got to revisit previous locations and missions as opposed to playing through the rest of the game.
It’s not the end of the world nor is it a game breaker, but given that Preta: Vendetta Rising is meant to be around fifty hours long it could leave me feeling a little unmotivated to play. I haven’t hit the twenty-hour mark yet and I’ve often grown a little tired of the same routine, regardless of how fun the game’s combat can be and how attractive it can look in virtual reality. It just makes the thought of playing it for over fifty hours a little unappealing.
Still, you can’t argue that you’re not getting more than enough bang for your buck – especially with Preta: Vendetta Rising coming in at a fairly reasonable price-point.
Whilst the repetitive nature of the game might not appeal to some single player gamers, Preta: Vendetta Rising is due to get multiplayer co-op in the near future. This will add a whole new dimension to the game – it’s fun to play now, but going through some of the missions with a friend will feel like a lot less of a grind. PlayStation VR titles have been guilty of seeing their multiplayer communities dwindle quick, so having a meaty co-op adventure to head out on with a friend is incredibly appealing. If this is something the developers can introduce quickly, it’ll make Preta: Vendetta Rising a much more appealing title for gamers.
One of the things I appreciated the most about Preta: Vendetta Rising was the implementation of virtual reality in a third-person title. It’s something I’ve been fond of in similar releases, so I enjoyed experiencing it more in a much meatier title. It really allows you to get up close and personal with the game world and all of its battles, and it makes for some incredibly impressive sights in-game. Those who prefer a first-person view will be glad to know that they can change perspectives whenever they like, though playing it in a third-person view is my recommendation.
Visually, Preta: Vendetta Rising deserves some praise too: it really is an impressive looking game. The character models are well designed and full of personality, whilst the environments themselves look great too (even if they could be lacking some finer detail). Naturally, given the fact it’s on PlayStation VR, it doesn’t look as good as the likes of Diablo III – however, there’s no denying that it does a good job of creating a visually appealing world despite the fairly limited capabilities of the PlayStation VR headset.