Developer: Pentadimensional Games
Publisher: Pentadimensional Games
Release Date: 17/10/2017 (Playstation 4, Playstation VR) TBC (PC)
Format(s): Playstation VR (Reviewed), Playstation 4, PC
Whilst Batman: Arkham VR made us feel like the Caped Crusader himself, it focused more on the ‘detective side’ of his work as opposed to the action side. It’s a shame too, because being Batman and using all of his skills and gadgets in the heat of battle against foes or whilst scaling the heights of Gotham City could’ve been mighty impressive, especially in a VR headset. It just made me want a superhero VR game that really embraced the superpowers of the heroes.
Enter Megaton Rainfall: a virtual reality action title that gives you the ability to speed across the planet in flight, to pound enemies with huge blasts of energy, and to save the world from an evil Alien threat. Oh, and you’re pretty much invincible too – I think that ticks all the boxes for a superhero, right? It’s essentially a Superman-simulator but without the branding, and it just so happens to be fantastic.
The story of Megaton Rainfall isn’t an overly complicated one: you’re a sentient being who is tasked by his Father (a looming, mysterious voice) to protect Earth from an onslaught of Aliens that are looking to wreak destruction. This means travelling across the planet and into space in order to destroy them and save humanity. In honesty, the story never felt particularly important nor was it ever that engrossing, but it doesn’t really need to be when you’re flying around a planet and blasting away at Alien attackers. Megaton Rainfall prioritises action-packed fun over its story, and fortunately that’s an area in which it excels in.
Megaton Rainfall technically feels like a first-person shooter, but one that tasks you with using your superpowers to take on an Alien horde across a variety of different cities on Earth. It isn’t necessarily level-based though, but instead challenges you to seamlessly travel from one city to another by flying through the skies at a high speed – seriously, one minute you’ll be in Dubai fighting off Alien ships and the next you’ll be scaling over Paris. The Alien ships come in all different shapes and sizes, but luckily you’re a superhero; you’re well-armed and more than capable to take them all down.
You’ll start off with just your standard energy blasts which are pretty effective at taking out most enemies (especially if you hit them in their weak spot), though they’ll feel pretty ineffective when compared to the HUGE energy blast you eventually unlock that’ll pulverise anything (both Alien and human) in its path. You’ll even end up with the likes of telekinesis, incredibly fast flight, and even the ability to stop time as you progress through the game. You’ll certainly feel empowered with your capabilities growing stronger and stronger as time goes on.
You’ve got to be careful though, because the more powerful you become the more likely you are of unleashing collateral damage. Whilst the Aliens are the main threat to civilisation, your powers can also cause plenty of destruction too. Mistime an energy blast or aim it at the ground and you’ll quickly see buildings fall around you. Given that each victory or loss is based around the health of the city, you’ll certainly need to be wary of where you’re shooting if you want to progress through the game and save mankind.
Whilst you’ve got a lot of variety in your attacking options, there’s also a lot of diversity in the Alien ships too. Some are more obvious, such as the huge ships that hang over buildings Independence Day-style and then blast them to smithereens, whilst others are a lot subtler like the flying saucers that attach themselves to buildings and blend in or the massive ships that can actually disguise themselves as buildings themselves. The Aliens throw a hell of a lot at each city and you’ve really got to be switched on if you’re going to take them all out. The sheer variety on offer ensures that the game constantly maintains a high level of excitement though by consistently sending new threats your way.
Megaton Rainfall allows you to fly all around Earth, through Earth’s atmosphere, and even out to space in a variety of smooth transitions. I half expected there to be a plethora of loading screens between each area, but I was blown away to find that I could actually fly down from space and through the clouds as I scaled the entirety of Earth in one sequence. It’s so bloody impressive and I was blown away that Playstation VR could handle processing something on such an epic scale.
Admittedly, when you’re exploring Earth you won’t notice a huge variety across all of the cities and landscapes – don’t get me wrong, there are landmarks in place like the Eiffel Tower, Westminster Abbey, and even a mighty Sphinx when in Egypt, but the cities themselves are typically full of the same building and skyscraper types throughout. I suppose it doesn’t really matter too much though, since they all look the same when destroyed…
It’s worth mentioning that each of the cities actually feel lived in too. You’ll see cars and people throughout the streets, whilst you’ll also hear civilians’ screams when the Aliens are attacking. Not only does it emphasise that you’ve actually got lives to save in-game and aren’t just protecting empty cities, but it’s also impressive that the developer managed to include such fine details in an experience of such a huge scale.
The freedom to explore freely and the sheer scale of the environment comes at the expense of the visuals though, which are very basic to say the least. It’s not that anything looks disgusting and when you’re flying around at such a fast pace it’s often difficult to notice the somewhat sketchy textures and lacking variety, but when you’re actually defending each city and blasting at foes they’ll start to become a lot clearer. It doesn’t hinder the experience as a whole and the destruction that the Aliens (and you) cause never ceases to impress, but it’s certainly no visual marvel.
When I started playing Megaton Rainfall I expected to be using Move controllers and awkward button pressing to move, but instead it’s all done on Dual Shock controller. I didn’t think it would be as innovative at first, but the combination of using both the controller and head movement works quite well. I do think a trick was missed by not having you put your two arms in the air and leaning forward to fly à la Superman, but it doesn’t matter too much since I’d much rather the game be easy and accessible to control instead.
You can actually play Megaton Rainfall outside of virtual reality, but in honesty I found it such a fitting and engrossing experience for Playstation VR that I wouldn’t really want to play it any other way. I’ve played plenty of VR games in my time, some good and some bad, but Megaton Rainfall just blew me away from the moment I started playing it and felt like it really belonged on the platform. I’m pretty used to VR now and don’t suffer from any form of motion sickness, but there are plenty of comfort options in place for those who do – Megaton Rainfall really is incredibly accessible for just about anyone.
It won’t take you too long to beat Megaton Rainfall with the story lasting around three to four hours, but it’s the sort of game that’s easy to come back to time and time again if only to fly around and explore all of your surroundings (and cause a bit of destruction). There’s a score-attack mode that unlocks post-completion too, so there’s certainly incentive to take on more aliens. Best of all is that the game is available for such a low price, with the £15.99 price tag a bargain considering the experience that you’re getting from it.
I was a little sceptical going into Megaton Rainfall that it wouldn’t offer the grand experience it promised, but I was simply astounded by the sheer scale and variety it features. I loved flying through Earth’s atmosphere and scaling its axis in seconds, whilst taking on the Aliens in destructive battles was a lot of fun too. It really is impressive and one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in Playstation VR so far.
You’re not going to be blown away by the visuals and the story is over quite quickly, but in all I’d thoroughly recommend Megaton Rainfall to anyone who owns Playstation VR. It’s one of those games that simply work perfectly in virtual reality and really compliments the level of immersion it offers, but also just so happens to be a hell of a lot of fun to play too.