Resident Evil 7 is awesome, even though my brain got confused – PSVR Review

Resident Evil is a huge gaming franchise and i’ve only played perhaps one of them, Code Veronica back in 2000 on the Sega Dreamcast. It was one of the best game i ever played back then but i did not play any of the others due to not having a games console for a while. 

17 years later comes Resident Evil 7 and the only real reason I’m playing it is because the entire game can also be played on the PSVR, and I’m like quite enthusiastic about VR.

It helps that i am also a fan of the classic 80s slasher horrors such as Evil Dead because Resident Evil 7 moves quite a ways away from the zombie apocalypse and into Texas chain saw B-movie territory, which is refreshing and nostalgic at the same time. The lowish resolution of the PSVR also gives off a rather cool effect of being inside an 80s horror nightmare.

While there is not as much detail on screen as in the none VR mode, it’s still a delight to lean over up close to somethings and seeing maggots wiggling about, flies  photos and other items that add to the atmosphere.

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This is a game that might not necessarily have been created with the PSVR in mind, but is a great example of how experiences can be so different when immersed with a headset. For example there are moments where knives are thrust at your face and on a tv screen you just flinch and punch the game pad, but on a headset you find yourself physically ducking, leaning  your head or jumping your whole body to the side out of pure reflex.

The worst experiences are when you know something is there but can’t see it. Those moments are more terrifying so far than any monster thats yet to appear. I watched the Texas Chainsaw Massacre on the big screen also in 2000 and after i noted to my friend how it was like sitting through someones nightmare that you just could not wake up from. Resident Evil in PSVR is like experiencing the same sort of nightmare, luckily i can take off the headset and have a break every time i reach a Cassette save point. Its not long before i want to jump right back into the nightmare though :-p

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My Brain got confused

While the game and story are so far awesome, there is a few niggling things about the experience in VR. For a start i love walking exploring VR games. I enjoy cockpit games too but there is nothing quite like getting the freedom to walk around exploring the environment and It was one of the main reason i fell in love with Robinson: The Journey. For these sorts of games i prefer to stand, i think it makes perfect sense that to play a game where you are a character walking around that your brain would feel more comfortable if you are stood up.

This is where my own personal preference for playing VR took issue with Resident Evil 7. The controls are set so that you can look around but you have to use the ‘Right gamepad stick’ to turn your character in the same manner as in Robinson: The Journey, with sudden jerks which is fine in VR but puke inducing for anyone watching on Twitch. The problem comes during moments of action or cut scenes. Because i am stood up, i often turn my whole body left or right not just my head, then proceed to push forward on the controller to head in the direction i turned.

Resident Evil’s VR mode does not account for this when action happens and displays it as such from the direction of the PS4’s camera. So for instance i can be walking along, see something to my right, turn my body to face that direction and move forward with the game pad. Suddenly an action moment occurs, either birds flying, or a person jumping out and the game switches to present that action from the direction of the camera leaving me looking at a bush wondering what the hell is going on.

I must point out i haven’t felt sick while playing Resident Evil on PSVR, and  once i realised what was causing the direction confusion, i started to take more care in what direction i was facing. It means every now and then i have to reposition myself towards the PS4 Camera if i want action to seamlessly happen from the right direction.  It’s as if The VR Mode assumes you are going to be sat facing the same direction for the entire experience, but my brain along with my body when standing wants to be free to move around.

 

Not so scary… yet

I have jumped a few times, and tried to hide in a bucket, but so far I’ve not been to terrified. Instead i’ve been quoting Ash from evil dead and occasionally laughing at the splatter gore, but I’m only one hour into the game though and i’ve read comments that worst is yet to come.

As an extra note, i also got the special 4D Resident Evil VR Candle thats supposed to help you get more immersed by giving off an unpleasant smell of rotting wood and blood. It actually smelled quite pleasant, reminding me of an old scout camp cottage i used to visit in my youth out in the middle of the woods. I hope this isn’t some kinda repressed memory thing going on here….

My optimistic list for Second Life in 2017

Well that was a crazy year, and while for many real life resembled a heavily griefed region in 2007, i left the year feeling quite optimistic with Second Life. So here is my 2017 list compiled with a reflection of 2016.

1. Continue to rebuild and develop Escapades Island.

You can’t really build a place in Second Life then expect it to just sit there remaining relevant all by it’s self or can you? Some places during 2016 ran into trouble, disappeared then reappeared, all thanks to the dreaded high tier prices… all so they say. Escapades had the best year ever with regards to support from it’s renters and also benefiting from Linden Labs buy back grandfathering and prim increases in a sort of parody fortune switcheroony of Uk reality.

I used SL13B celebrations as an excuse to rebuild the Castle ruins while also adding a small adventure game inside the Mountain. People enjoyed the experience when it was free, but i got a lot of grief from people who felt once they had played the experience that the payment for the pass  was too much.

 

2. Babbage Chronicles becomes a proper gaming system.

After the Escapades anniversary finished i put all my resources into working on the New Babbage Chronicles. This was something i have been wanting to do ever since the last big Steampunk Roleplaying ‘Dark Aether falls’ in 2011 but i had to wait for Linden Lab to release XPtools and also learn to script what i wanted.

During the autumn i finally released a small test story ‘A Girl Meets a Boy’ which gives a good idea how things will progress. Using minimal discrete HUD system, the Babbage Chronicles will allow it’s players to explore New Babbage and uncover hidden stories. With the groundwork finally in place i will spend 2017 promoting to more users and building more stories to offer players in Second Life to investigate.

 

3. Help with Fantasy Faire.

In 2016 i created a whole region for Fantasy faire called Echtra. Not only did i have great fun building the muddy gloomy atmosphere but i was blown away by those who took up the roleplaying and helped uncover the mystery behind the place. It was the most magical satisfying experience of the year for me.

In 2017 i will be taking a step back. I will probably get involved with the roleplaying organising and prop building, but i won’t be doing a region this year. Thats not to say i won’t put myself forward next year 🙂

 

4. The Loki Bento Avatar.

In 2015 Linden Lab announced Project Bento and everyone including myself assumed i would create a new Bento Loki Avatar in 2016. This didn’t happen. About half way through the year i decided to wait for Avastar to finish their very important big update to include Bento Skeletons in the Blender workflow. It soon became apparent that Bento would not be released until the end of the year, so i made the choice to halt all avatar and clothe making until the 2017.

With my first Mesh Avatar i made a lot of mistakes. Avastar was still in it’s early years and now offers a much more flexible and stable feature set combined with Linden Labs new Bento Skeleton system. Usually i’d be all over the new features but decided to wait. Once Avastar is complete i dive head long into creating a new avatar for myself and then create new clothing.

 

5. Tell more Tales, organise more Roleplays

With he groundwork in place for the Babbage Chronicles Story game system thingy, i hope to also create other mini story adventures for places like Escapades and Geminis Vortex City (try to time it with the new Bladerunner). Last minute additions to XPtools such as ‘ForceSit’ lead to Egnog the Christmas Troll being able to eat you, an ability that wasn’t possible a few months ago, not that you would have noticed that :-p

How simple it is to adapt the system to other themes will determine wether i decided to release the XPtools story system for others to grab and create their own. It also kinda depends on how easy Linden Lab make it for others to gain XP keys.

 

6. New Technologies

I’m expecting technology to get more expensive not cheaper. The prospects of me getting an HTC Vive or Oculus in 2017 are slim, but there are other technologies i backed before Brexit that i hope will usher in new creative paradigms for me in Second Life. One is a 3D Scanner called the Bevil. Apparently being shipped and should arrive any day now, this device will 3D scan physical objects which i can hopefully use via Blender in Second Life.

Another device is the PrioVR motion suit which also has apparently shipped. The PrioVR boasts the ability to allow your body to be mapped in a VR game, but im more interested in using it to record motion capture for use in quickly creating poses and animations for Second Life. There is also Leapmotion which has been around for a while now but has become slightly more relevant with Project Bento what with the possibility to motion capture hand gestures.

 

7. Be on Drax Files.

Years ago Draxtor pleaded for me to be in one of his world maker videos and my reply was that ‘im not ready yet’. If you are going to be profiled on your work, you want to at least have the work completed, and for years it felt like nothing was completed, everything felt like an experiment for a bigger thing to come. But with Escapades Island fully rented, and New Babbage Chronicles close to being what dreamed it would be…. maybe just maybe i’ll be ready to be in a Drax Video.

 

Sketches from 2016

Throughs he year i create a lot of sketches while planning projects for Second Life. Here is a video of just a few from 2016. Have a great year!

Sketches 2016 by lokieliot