After sending gamers on brutal plights against all sorts of vicious enemies across its procedurally-generated landscapes on other virtual reality platforms, In Death: Unchained has now brought its frantic bow-based action over to the Oculus Quest too. I was already a fan of the game after putting hours into it on the PlayStation VR when it originally launched back in 2018, but have found myself more addicted than ever this time around thanks to the improved controls and freedom offered by the Oculus Quest’s wireless setup.
In Death: Unchained sees players battle through an assortment of procedurally-generated gothic-stylised levels that are each full to the brim with enemies, with players able to use a bow or a crossbow to pick them off from a distance and a shield to defend themselves with. You’ll venture across these levels and rack up kills to improve your score, but there are also rogue-like aspects in place – if you die in the game you have to start again, albeit with the upgrades and achievement progress earned from previous runs to make your life easier during your next attempt.
And that’s about it really. There’s not a whole lot more to In Death: Unchained outside of following that cycle over and over again, with no big overarching narrative guiding you along or any additional objectives to complete along the way. Instead, you just look to improve upon your previous attempts at the game and try to advance further the next time around.
Normally, this would be something I’d complain about, but there’s just something so exhilarating and enjoyable about In Death: Unchained that completely hooked me in. It’s always fun to use bows in virtual reality and that’s certainly the case here, whilst the environments themselves feel great to explore and the variety of enemies will keep you on your toes. One of the best things about the game though is the way that players are thrust right into the action, whether that’s when stringing together quick kills in succession or rapidly moving your body when trying to dodge incoming attacks. It all feels as intuitive as even in the Oculus Quest version of the game too, especially since you’re free of any wires to inhibit you as you quite literally jump out of the way of incoming attacks. Add to that the fact that enemies can come from all direction on land and in the air, and you’ll quickly find that In Death: Unchained is one of the more frantic titles available on the Oculus Quest right now.
Movement was originally limited to teleportation in In Death: Unchained, but a patch has brought smooth locomotion into the game in time for launch. That latter option is probably the most enjoyable way to experience the action, especially if you’ve got your virtual reality bearings and can deal with the quick motions. Admittedly, it can feel a little floaty, but it’s also so liberating to move around freely and actually makes the game easier to play.
Of course, the teleportation method is fine too, with two different types of teleportation on offer to allow for quick small movements and those over a longer distance. The game was originally designed with this method of traversal in mind so it’s certainly more than adequate… you just might prefer the free movement after giving it a try.
Whatever movement scheme you choose, neither stop In Death: Unchained from being a tough game to play. It’ll take a lot of practice before you start to get good and make real progress in the game, and by then there’ll be all-new and tougher enemies to deal with that’ll cause you even more problems. Thankfully, it never gets frustrating, but actually pushes you to adapt to the many threats that are in your path and learn to deal with them by using both swift manoeuvres and the environment to your advantage.
It’s worth noting that the Oculus Quest version of the game comes with an additional world to play through, giving players three different environments to battle across that bring with them different visuals, varied enemies, and epic boss battles. There’s plenty to do and see in the game, whilst the fact that unlocking additional worlds is tied to achievement progression means that you’ve genuinely got to put the work in to see everything that’s on offer. It definitely makes it worth double-dipping in on the Oculus Quest if you’ve played the game before, whilst the fact-paced arcade-like nature of In Death: Unchained also makes it ideal for quick blasts on the headset too.
I’ve previously read that In Death: Unchained looks inferior when compared to its PC counterpart, but I was actually left impressed with the visuals of the game. Maybe it’s because I only played the PlayStation VR version in the past? Either way, characters looked detailed and sharp in-game, whilst the levels themselves all made for alluring environments to explore and offered some neat sights. Whilst I have no doubts that it’s prettier on the more powerful hardware, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be disappointed by this version of the game – the developer has promised some visual improvements in the near future too, so it seems there’s more to look forward to on that front.
In Death: Unchained offers frantic and brutal action that Oculus Quest gamers will have a blast playing through. It really is a whole lot of fun taking down countless enemies with your bow, whilst the intuitive controls and freedom brought by the Oculus Quest really take the game to the next level as far as player movement is concerned. Believe me, it’s thrilling to quickly dodge out of the way of incoming attacks, with In Death: Unchained full of moments that’ll keep players satisfyingly challenged.
It’s worth noting that it’s tough as nails and there isn’t a whole lot of variety to the experience, but who cares when the game is just so much fun to play? If you own an Oculus Quest, you owe it to yourself to purchase In Death: Unchained.
Platform(s): Oculus Quest