How well does space mining translate to VR? Starting with what will be noticeable right away, the graphics, they leave a lot to be desired. Blurry textures and ugly character models make this look like a game that was on the Playstation 2. This is really apparent in the opening cut scene and on the character models. The model of Earth looked extremely dated, the humans character models looked odd in scale when compared to the player. The scale is really noticeable when you are face to face them. Lighting can also be an issue in this game at times. Even with the ships lights turned on it can be difficult to see where you are going when you are flying through some of the debris to mine, but for the most part the lighting can be fine.
Another major issue are the load times. When you are about to go to the next mission or after you are done watching a cut scene the load times are incredibly long. It can take upwards of up to a minute for some areas to load, and while its loading you are treated to a black screen with no indication as to what is happening. Thankfully they’re not too frequent.
The story for Space Rift is ok. Many years into the future the planet Earth has become inhabitable and nothing more than a ball of dust floating in space. The people of Earth however have colonized Mars and have begun a new life on that planet. The main character Casey Black wakes up in a panic on his ship because his oxycred(currency for oxygen) count had run out so he was running out of air. His on board computer quickly finds him a new job as a miner. After you start the job you quickly find yourself tangled up in a battle against Pandora.
The gameplay for Space Rift is mostly good. The head tracking was super responsive and felt good, in the space craft is where this feature shines. When you are on your ship you are able to look around at the different panels and interact with them this includes; the mining equipment, the lights, the scanner ect. Interacting with these really adds to the immersion of the game and makes you feel like you’re the pilot. Using the dualshock 4 you’re able to maneuver your craft in space, control the thrusters, and fire your cannons at any potential threats while you’re mining. When you’re mining you control probe units with the onboard panel of your ship. To begin the process you will first fly your ship up to a potential dig site and use the R1 button to scan and check if there are any minerals to collect. If there are minerals you will use the mining panel of the ship to send out a probe. The probe unit will relay a signal to the mining panel of where each mineral is. When this happens you will see an image of the probe on the screen rotating around the dig site, from there you will send it to the site using the dig command. When it is close to the mineral you will then hit the detonate command to collect the minerals. After some time you will be able to upgrade the equipment on your ship including the mining gear. Overall I would say the mining mechanic works fine in this game however, getting to the mining sites or avoiding enemies can be a problem. The speed of the ship feels really slow in this game. Even with the thrusters at their max and the afterburners on it still felt incredibly slow to fly. When you are back at the station you will be able to “teleport” to move around to points of interest. Such points include; talk to the NPC’s, upgrade your ship, view space from one of the stations windows, and mission briefing.
The sound design of this game is a mixed bag. While the ships sounds such as the thrusters, laser cannons, and mining tools sound fine, the voice acting is atrocious. The main character is by far the worst when it comes to the voice acting however, the others are not much better. The onboard computers voice in the game is also grating to the ears, the dialog from the computer sounds like static and downright bad. It isn’t just the voice actors and actress fault though, a lot of the dialog is often over the top and cheesy.
Space Rift has many problems like I stated earlier; dated graphics, bad sound design, long load times, but, It can be fun. Flying the ship while slow, can be entertaining. The feeling of immersion you get because you feel like you’re the pilot in this game is incredible. It’s for this reason I would say try it however, only get it if you can get the game at a discount, otherwise wait for it to hit PlayStation Plus.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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