Far Cry VR: Dive Into Insanity doesn’t have a lot of hidden depth, but in a world where we’re working mini-golf, arcades and even axe throwing into our nights out, having fun doesn’t need to be a subtle art form.
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The game is simple: in a storyline assembled from the debris of Far Cry 3, you and your friends – up to 8 people, I played with three – are captured by bad dude Vaas and then turned loose onto the island, hunted by pirates. Outside of this introduction with Vaas, and him showing up as the boss at the end of the segment, he doesn’t show up much at all. Furthermore, this isn’t so much a Far Cry game as it is a shooting gallery with a Far Cry 3 veneer. You shoot pirates charging towards you or in cover, there are red barrels you can shoot to make them explode, and really that’s about as deep as it goes.
But you know what, that’s not so bad.
Far Cry VR is running on the Zero Latency platform, which feels very different to the Oculus Quest, PlayStation VR or even a PC VR setup, mostly because of the huge room you’ve been turned loose in. If you’ve got an eye for tech, you’ll notice the OSVR HD2K headset, and the motion trackers strapped to the side of the gun you’re handed. You’re also given a rucksack which hides a gaming laptop, and the end result is that, with a little bit of weight on your back, you can stroll around the VR experience with no wires and no worries of falling over your coffee table / cat / cat stood on your coffee table.
It also means that you can have friends in the same physical space, although you’re communicating by chatting into the headset, meaning you’ll feel like you’re in different places anyway – until you accidentally walk into each other. This is something that the game tries desperately to stop happening through an inbuilt system meant to warn you away from each other, but when there are rounds pinging past you in this gallery shooter and you’re pressing yourself up against cover, that alarm is easily ignored.
Honestly, as someone who plays a lot of VR shooters – primarily games like Pavlov and Onwards – Far Cry VR feels overly simplistic. Your gun reloads by slapping the magazine at the bottom of the rifle, and the only weapons available are the AK47 and a crossbow for ‘long range’ which doesn’t take into account the fact that no one is ever attacking you from more than 50 metres away. It also fails as a Far Cry game because you’re basically just playing Time Crisis from within the world, rather than standing at a cab.
Yet, this is probably a better way to waste an hour before getting a few pints than a lot of more complicated VR games, and the tech is actually pretty cool, even to someone like myself who is in the privileged position of having a room scale VR set-up at home.
For first-timers, I’d go so far as to say this is definitely the best way to experience VR – although I found myself missing hand trackers so that I could point or gesture to friends, instead having to use the game’s AK47 as a crude gesturing tool.
Which puts me in the unusual position of saying that I don’t think Far Cry VR is a particularly compelling or essential VR experience, but it’s still worth playing at least once, as it’s great stop-off on a night out or even just a dull Saturday. You’ll feel adrenaline kick in, you can bellow at each other while you’re bouncing from cover to cover, and death carries no penalty beyond stopping you from earning points. As long as you don’t see the seams at the edge of the simulation, this is a good laugh.
Far Cry VR is playable at Zero Latency venues worldwide. In the UK, this means Meetspace VR