During Bethesda’s E3 showcase, Pete Hines revealed that both Doom and Fallout 4 would be getting some element of HTC Vive support. Though few details were given with regards to these experiences during the conference, we managed to get some hands-on time with Fallout 4 in VR.
Running off a high-end PC powering the headset, Fallout 4 VR was a completely different beast to the normal game. Strapping the headset on and being teleported next to the Red Rocket diner was certainly a magical moment, but the rest of the experience once you were there was somewhat lackluster. One of Vive’s biggest selling points is its ability to allow you to navigate the world that you’re transported to. With the Vive offering this, and Fallout 4 providing the giant open world to explore, the two should go hand-in-hand. However, movement is restricted to a specific area that you can physically move around. Instead, the majority of your movements comes from teleporting where you want to go by pointing and pressing the trigger on the left controller. In a world that requires you to explore every nook and cranny of it to get the best experience, nipping about the nearby area of the Red Rocket diner with the press of a button seemed a little underwhelming.
While this may not be the case when the game releases, it was not possible to dodge or sprint around the world either. With the added immersion that VR brings, it’s unlikely you’ll be rushing through the wasteland. Since it may not be at the top of your list of things to do once you’ve got a VR headset on, the limitations to your movement make combat that little bit trickier. Teleporting around was great for pulling a fast one on your enemies, but once they registered where you had moved to, it didn’t take them long to pepper you with gunfire.
This would be a pretty big problem in the normal Fallout 4, but unfortunately, the VR experience differed from its non-VR inspiration here, too. With this new VR wasteland, and the limited movement that accompanies it, also seemingly comes a much larger health bar. While this may have been something implemented during the demo for preview purposes, it led the enemies to feel like they were merely target practice for you and not the threat that they posed in the standard game. This took away from the dangerous atmosphere players commonly associate with the wasteland, thus lessening the immersion, something that VR is commonly associated with improving. It’s a god send for those getting used to VR for the first time, but also something a lot of fans won’t be wanting to see. After all, the game’s recently released Survival Mode upped the realism much to the delight of fans, so an increased health bar and the ability to teleport at the click of a button seems like a step backward.
There are still many unanswered questions surrounding Fallout 4 VR, but if this is a true virtual reality wasteland experience being two of the key ones. Fallout 4 VR’s biggest issue is the same one that many VR experiences suffer from-it’s a novel experience that doesn’t look like it’ll have the legs to keep you hooked. At least in its current state, Fallout 4 VR feels like an experience you’ll play a couple of times, before resorting back to the older one.
Ultimately, Fallout 4 VR was not the experience that fans will be hoping it is. It’s a dip of your toe into the pool of an immersive virtual reality Fallout 4 experience, but it’s got a long way to go and many tweaks and improvements ahead of it to meet the standard that players are hoping for.