After keeping PC and console survivalists entertained with its gruelling Amazon endeavour, Green Hell VR looks to give virtual reality players a taste of the action too. The transition to virtual reality has seen some features cut back though, with this a more streamlined take on the formula that lacks some of the scale and intensity of the original.
Does it make the game any less fun to play? Certainly not and there’s still a really good time to be had surviving the dangers of the jungle (especially with the more immersive virtual reality features), but it is worth noting that the experience will be a little bit trimmed down to what you might have expected if you’re a returning player.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Green Hell VR puts players in the role of Jake Higgins, an esteemed anthropologist who finds himself separated from his partner Mia after venturing into the Amazon. What follows is a quest for survival, with Jake having to use the resources around him not only to keep himself safe and fed, but also to fight off the many predators lurking within the rainforest.
If you’ve played a survival game before (or indeed Green Hell), you’ll understand the core mechanics from the get-go. Players have to venture through the jungle, find the resources required to craft items and structures, gather food to keep themselves healthy, and then push on further through the map in order to discover the key points that move the story forward. It’s a tried-and-tested formula and much of it remains the same here, ensuring it’s easy enough to acclimatise to Green Hell VR’s gameplay cycle.
Of course, this is a virtual reality title with full motion controls, so there’s a lot more to the experience than simply ‘gathering’ materials. It’s never just a case of pressing a button to gather the items around you, but you instead have to physically perform the action – whether that’s grabbing fruit, hacking at a tree to get wood or have coconuts fall (which you then have to crack on a rock to drink from), or sharpening a stick to make it into a spear. The same level of physicality is expected when crafting, with players having to manually put together each structure by placing the necessary parts in the right place. In fairness, the game makes it clear what items you need to use and an outline of the structure is there for players figure out the exact placement, but having to manually hammer sticks into the ground and then perform the motion of tying ropes around them for support always felt satisfying and added an extra level of immersion to the experience. Some aspects of the gameplay are trimmed down in Green Hell VR, but it makes up for it by making players feel more involved in the physical tasks they have to complete.
“Some aspects of the gameplay are trimmed down in Green Hell VR, but it makes up for it by making players feel more involved in the physical tasks they have to complete.”
The same goes for combat, with players having to physically attack enemies with their melee weapons or line up shots when using the bow. There are plenty of creepy-crawlies such as spiders, scorpions, and snakes to deal with, whilst there are also more formidable foes such as jaguars or armed tribesmen. Battling in Green Hell VR is intense and it’s easy to find yourself dying regularly if you’re ill-prepared, but the physicality involved ensures it never gets tiresome with each encounter making for a thrilling showdown.
It’s worth noting that you’re probably going to die in Green Hell VR a LOT. There are so many risks to your health, whether it’s by simply dying of starvation, being killed by an enemy, eating some poisonous food, or falling from a deadly height when exploring, just to name a few. Thankfully, checkpoints are plentiful so it doesn’t feel too frustrating to perish, whilst it also brings with it a learning curve where you can try not to make the same mistake twice. You start to learn what food is good for you and what isn’t, whilst it also becomes easier to figure out how best to approach the predators of the rainforest. Don’t get me wrong, you’re always at risk of death, but you’ll become wiser to it the longer you spend in the game.
I mentioned at the start of this review that Green Hell VR is a bit more trimmed back than the original game, which is something players will notice quite quickly. Whilst there are less structures to craft and enemies to face off against, the map is also substantially smaller with some areas completely cut away. Sure, there’s still plenty of room for exploration, but there are less areas to discover or get lost in than before, which does make the Amazon itself lack that overwhelming sense of presence. At the same time, you’ll spend less time lost and wondering where to go, so it has its perks. It’s both a good and bad thing depending on the kind of gameplay experience you want, but it’s something returning players won’t find easy to ignore. Those who are completely new to Green Hell, though? They wouldn’t notice and will be able to simply enjoy it as its own survival experience.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
There’s still plenty to see and do in the game even with it cutting back on some content though, with it easily taking around eight to nine hours to complete the story. It still feels great to explore the world and figure out how to survive, whilst the faster pacing actually suits the shorter sessions that I like to spend in a virtual reality headset, so it worked out well for me. Add to that the multiple difficulties and option to play in Story or Survival mode and it’ll be easy to see that the game really has a lot going for it, even IF it might not feel like the full Green Hell experience.
The world itself is luscious too, and whilst Green Hell VR might not pack the visual detail found in the main game, the Quest 2 version is still full of atmosphere with its bustling vegetation and roaming wildlife. Whilst the Amazon is dangerous, it’s also beautiful and Green Hell VR manages to capture that well. Sure, there are some sketchy textures here and there, but the visuals and performance are definitely impressive.
Green Hell VR Review
Green Hell VR is a very enjoyable survival experience that really embraces the extra immersion offered by virtual reality. Gathering resources, building structures, and fighting off enemies felt authentic and satisfying, whilst the impressive looking surroundings brought a real sense of atmosphere to the game – plus, it’s always thrilling when you encounter a nasty predator, even if it’ll result in your death more times than not.
It is a little disappointing that it doesn’t offer everything that the core Green Hell experience does and it can be noticeable in some places, especially with the streamlined world that offers less to discover. It doesn’t stop Green Hell VR from being a lot of fun to play in its own right though, with it easily standing out as one of the most immersive and enjoyable survival games I’ve played in virtual reality.
Platform(s): Quest 2 (Reviewed)