Until Dawn: Rush of Blood VR Review
I had set myself some very high expectations for Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. The title sells itself as a thrilling VR experience, but the final result was quite underwhelming. It’s a shame considering I quite enjoyed the original title released in 2015, and was hoping for similar experience but with more immersion. Rush of Blood is a first person shooter which is set in the same world as the original Until Dawn, but that’s pretty much where the synergy lasts. Rush of Blood feels like a different game and uses the rollercoaster experience as a way to try and give you the thrills of PlayStation VR.
There is no doubt however that Rush of Blood takes advantage of some pretty cool features. They aren’t exclusive to the game; Resident Evil 7 also allows you to carry out similar actions. By playing with the VR headset, you can actually peep around corners, which is something unique for first person experiences and new to the VR world. The fact that you can turn your head around to view everything else without having to move the rest of your body is also extremely effective, but again nothing innovative in the world of VR.
I suppose my biggest issue with the game is that it just wasn’t scary enough. Perhaps my standards have been set very high after having played Resident Evil 7, but I don’t think Rush of Blood is as terrifying as it sounds. Some of the thrills are quite cheap too. At one point I looked in a spot and the enemy wasn’t there, and then suddenly he appears from that direction. It’s a typical formula used in horror games, and it gave me one or two jumps, but I was able to play through the game without the need of a second pair of underwear.
The entire experience is made better with PlayStation Move, although you can play with a controller too. I played the game with PlayStation Move. All of your movements and shooting is done with the Move controller, and it is very responsive. Each Move controller represents a weapon, so you are always holding two. The fact that you can control each one separately is brilliant, as you can shoot different enemies at the same time as long as you can aim well. I can’t imagine using a DualShock will be as clever in being able to do that.
The game encourages you to be trigger happy too. Even when there aren’t enemies, there are plenty of objects to randomly shoot, and the only thing stopping you is the pain in your arm from raising it continuously. Who would have thought that using PlayStation Move would be such a workout?! If you’re using a high end gaming headset such as the PlayStation Wireless Platinum headset or Astro Gaming A40/A50s, you’ll be able to appreciate the great sound that the game has to offer in order to make the entire experience more immersive. I have always believed that VR would be useless if the audio didn’t compliment it.
Conveniently, the game doesn’t let you run out of weapons and ammo. There are plenty of guns scattered around the environment and they are very easy to spot. In fact, the most colourful objects are the weapon crates themselves, which are clearly very unrealistic but designed to make the campaign easier for the gamer. You also have a set of pistols with unlimited ammo, so if all else fails, you still have something to shoot with.
The entire game is based very much on a rollercoaster. There is little connection to the main game; at the very least some subtle references and character appearances. There are seven levels to get through, all of which provide a different rollercoaster experience. Unfortunately you can probably complete the game in one sitting. There just isn’t enough content to keep you busy for longer, which leads me to believe that this is more of an extended tech demo. During your rollercoaster experiences, there are a few weird and bizarre moments, but most of them left me uninterested and at times, bored.
Rush of Blood also contains boss battles that often feel out of place. I have no idea what they are doing in the world of Until Dawn as they simply didn’t fit the theme of the game. Once I got used to the bosses, anticipating their moves became way too easy, which lessened any chances of frightening moments. If anything, a lot of these boss battles dragged on too much. After defeating them, I was more overjoyed by the fact that I could finally do something else.
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood has left me confused. It wants to be a horror game, but it isn’t really. If anything, it’s just more of an adventure game made by people who have some slightly creepy thoughts. Similar to some other PS:VR titles, I feel as if this game was merely launched to show off some of PS:VR’s capabilities, and it certainly succeeds in doing that. The hardware lives up to its expectations, but the game itself has let it down. There are plenty of other titles currently on PS:VR that serve as much better horror games and even better tech demos. What makes Rush of Blood exciting is the integration of PlayStation Move, and this game does a fantastic job in showcasing Sony’s handheld hardware more than VR itself. The review score given is considered with PlayStation Move in mind, as the immersion is most certainly heightened without a DualShock controller.