Publisher – Crytek
Price – US $59.99 / EU €59.99 / UK £54.99 / AU $84.95
Release date – November 8th, 2016
Move Support – No
Pro Patch – Yes
Digital only – No
Reviewed on – Standard PS4
Robinson is an exploration game taking place in one of most visually impressive worlds I’ve seen in VR. A mixture of science fiction and the prehistoric world, this game gives us a whole new way to experience VR. That said, it still has some issues.
The presentation here is great. A lot of work went into bringing this game to life and it shows in the visual and audio facets of this game. The world around you feels alive with bugs, birds, dinosaurs and many other creatures constantly around you, making you feel a part of this prehistoric world. Typical of PSVR, the further something is away from you, the less details and more pixels tend to show themselves. The game mostly has you focusing on stuff closer to you and in all honesty, even when I was looking as far I could see, it never looked bad. Crytek has done a really good job at utilizing the PSVR and skirting around it’s more obvious visual limitations. Scale is used to full effect here putting within arm’s reach of some very large objects and animals. Backgrounds are heavily detailed with structures very far away still carrying enough detail to make this world look endless.
Make sure you are wearing headphones for this one. Ambient sound effects have you looking left or right to find out what is making the next new noise. You have your own voice, but generally don’t say a whole lot while HIGS, your floating robot companion, offers narrative about you and the world around you. HIGS also provides clues sometimes as well as some light comedy. As I said, this world feels and sounds alive!
You, as Robin, are a child stranded on the strange planet of Tyson III, with HIGS and your pet T-Rex Laika, you explore the world around you trying to find other survivors of you crash and how your ship crashed in the first place. This is an exploration, puzzle solver so don’t expect a lot of ‘in yo face’ action. It has those moments for sure, but the name of the game here is to explore. Robin walks incredibly slow, which is actually not to noticeable until you have to back track through areas or are required to walk a long distance, a run button would have been nice. With only dual shock support right now, controls work, but definitely feel like they are missing the use your of 2 hands. This is especially apparent right from the beginning as the first thing you do is handle your analyzing device, which looks very similar to a move controller, in your right hand while your left hand just sits where your waist should be(you don’t have a body). I get the impression that Crytek just ran out of time to make the launch window and had to shelve the move support before it was complete. So you can sit and enjoy this game; you turn 30 degrees or so left or right using the right thumb stick, to some that may be a bit jarring but I got used to it pretty fast.
Traversing these strange lands involves a fair bit of (slow) walking as well as climbing, which to me worked really well. As soon you move up to a climbable section, your hands both appear letting you know it’s time to scale something. Look where you want to climb, press the left or right trigger depending on which hand is free, and climb away. I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the game, even though this mechanic didn’t always work. Sometimes my climbing hands didn’t trigger right away or the next point was within reach, but I had to adjust my angle and positioning to get to it. For the most part though it worked. You have a tool that is used to solve puzzles by moving objects as well as the ability to scan every living thing around you to document and look up later. Throughout the game I did struggle with the multi tool, having to switch between modes and scan stuff than switch back is a pain and I found myself pressing the wrong button on many occasions. The games pace allows for these mix ups, but it got old and I never really mastered it, even by the games ending. A HIGS mode brings you too a math mini game where you need to connect circuits using the right amount of voltage. HIGS puzzles are never hard and they give you a cool overhead view of the area you are in. Laika doesn’t really serve a purpose except for pushing the story along and following you for a portion of the game…still, you have a pet T-Rex, which is sweet!
There just isn’t a lot here. While the game itself will take you 3 to 5 hours to beat (I was closer to 4) it’s a lot of the same. A lot of climbing, a lot of looking and a lot of figuring out where to go. While HIGS may steer you in the right direction sometimes, you are essentially left to do what you want. It’s a very linear game told in a slightly non-linear fashion. You can visit(and revisit) certain areas in any order while other times being forced to go one way to continue the story. I feel it’s important to mention this because, unlike games of new, this game doesn’t always hold your hand, and I think that’s a good thing. Go explore, do your own thing and have fun. Only one time I was stuck do I blame the game, and only because I got the impression I had to unlock a new ability from HIGS. There a no new abilities FYI. Otherwise, I kept the games pace going just about as fast as I could. It is a slow paced game though, that is what it was designed to be and I had fun playing it.
If you like the exploration in games like Tomb Raider or Uncharted than you will enjoy this game. The beautiful presentation brings this VR world life and the added story will help carry you along for the ride. The narrative itself is pretty standard, but it does its job none the less. Puzzles are never to challenging and HIGS helps you out enough during these sections ensuring that you don’t stay in the same place too long. It’s a solid adventure and the visuals alone are worth the price of admission, though the lack of move support does feel missed. However, if you like a little more action in your gaming life than this may not be the experience for you.
What would I pay? $30 is a little more apt given the short campaign, limited controls and heavy emphasis in exploration.