You know what the PlayStation VR catalogue doesn’t have enough of? First-person sci-fi adventures.
Ok, so maybe that’s FAR from the truth, but despite an abundance of them appearing on the PlayStation Store, I still find myself eager to play them. I just love venturing off onto strange planets in games and uncovering all sorts of creatures, and being able to do it all in virtual reality just adds to the experience. Naturally then, Eden-Tomorrow stood out as a game I just had to play – especially after enjoying the recently released demo. Whilst it does offer a neat adventure that’s full of impressive sci-fi sights though, the gameplay itself is just a little lacking…
In Eden-Tomorrow you find yourself crashing down on an unknown planet (sounds familiar, right?) and affected with amnesia, with only a flying robotic sidekick named Newton there to help you figure out what’s going on. You do have one clue though: a location that Newton managed to find stored on his memory. Thus, you head out across this strange hazardous planet full of deadly creatures to find out what’s going on and what your purpose there is.
You’ll find plenty of clues along the way that flesh out both the story and the protagonist’s past, so it’s easy to find yourself invested in the narrative. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing overly original about it and it’s littered with clichés, but I enjoyed seeing the tale unfold and uncovering the sci-fi mystery at hand. However, I hated Newton immediately – why do developers insist on having such unlikable side-characters with annoying voices join you on adventures?
You can only use a DualShock controller when playing Eden-Tomorrow, so you don’t have to worry about having your Move controllers charged. It’s handled quite well too, with the player able to move in a traditional first-person way with the analogue sticks, whilst items can be interacted with by looking at them and pressing the action button. I know that some players struggle with free-movement in virtual reality, but there are comfort settings in place to ensure you’ll have an easy time getting around with minimal discomfort.
You’ll control both the main protagonist and Newton when exploring the world, with both offering different types of a gameplay experience.
Playing as the main protagonist is the more interesting of the two thanks to the various set pieces you’ll come across. You’ll be tasked with the likes of sneaking past creatures, avoiding falling hazards whilst walking along cliffs, avoiding deadly hazards in the ground, and solving simple puzzles – there’s a fair bit of variety there. However, whilst there is an assortment of things to do, there isn’t a whole lot of depth to every task you complete. Sneaking past enemies was easy since they lacked any senses whatsoever (or at least it felt that way in-game), the hazards are predictable and easy to avoid, whilst the puzzles themselves are hardly headscratchers. I wouldn’t say that anything was necessarily bad in design, but rather that it lacked a challenge and ended up feeling a little repetitive because of it.
It didn’t really get any better when playing as Newton. Sure, you can explore the environment more freely thanks to the fact you can fly, but your objectives mainly boil down to scanning the environment, destroying objects with your shockwave blast, and finding the occasional item. It’s all a bit run of the mill from a gameplay perspective and doesn’t add much excitement to the overall experience.
Whilst the gameplay itself could be a little bit lacking in imagination at times, at least the planet and its creatures are a lot more interesting. Now I’ll admit that Eden-Tomorrow isn’t the prettiest game you’re going to play on PlayStation VR from a technical basis and some locations could be guilty of feeling a little vacant, but the actual world design and monstrous sights you’ll see will definitely impress you. I’ve explored a good few alien planets in virtual reality now and I’d be lying if I said that a lot of them weren’t predictable in design, but between the creative locales you explore and the way the set-pieces with the alien creatures in the game are presented (the opening encounter with a giant beast was definitely exciting) it was easy to feel impressed by Eden-Tomorrow’s world.
I found myself quite invested in Eden-Tomorrow’s adventure thanks to the game’s creative world and the encounters with the creepy creatures that inhabited it, but the actual gameplay itself could feel a little monotonous at times. It does try to vary things up by throwing a few different mechanics your way throughout the five-hour adventure, but none are ever fleshed out and do start to feel a little over-utilised the further you get through the game.
It’s never outright bad though and those itching for another virtual reality adventure on an Alien planet will enjoy what Eden-Tomorrow has to offer, especially with some of the impressive sights you’ll see – just don’t expect to be too blown away by the actual tasks you have to complete. Oh, and Newton? Try to ignore his existence if you can…
Platform(s): PlayStation VR