Dinosaurs are awesome, and quite frankly; I know very few people who actually hate dinosaurs. So one of the sad things about gaming as of late is that there aren’t all that many dinosaur games on the market. However, Crytek has helped ease the pain with their first VR entry, which puts you right in the middle of a dinosaur infested planet, well, kind of.
In Robinson the Journey you play as a young boy who is stranded on an alien planet where your only friend is a robotic sphere whose soul mission is to help you re-unite with your crew and ultimately keep you safe, while a little annoying at times, he provides some comic relief and looks quite realistic as he hovers above your head. Robinson is a non-combat game, so there are no guns or killings. You simply explore and interact with the world around you.
If there’s anything that’s really wowed me, it’s the visuals (despite VR being in its infancy). Because if this is what games are looking like on a £350 console (PlayStation Pro), then the future is looking pretty bright because Robinson looks lovely. Furthermore, as you make your way through lush environments teaming with wildlife, it all makes for an incredible experience. It feels like you’re there- So when you first leave your capsule, you are greeted with a stunning sky box which is simply jaw dropping, but there’s something even cooler. You get a pet T-Rex called Laika! You can order her to pick things up, play hide and seek and get her to scare other dinosaurs away. She’s brilliant and Crytek are brilliant for making this a thing. At times, it really does feel like your face to face with a living breathing dinosaur. It’s brilliantly animated, right down to the eyes.
Sadly enough though, besides Laika there aren’t many other dinosaurs in the game (aside some raptors and long necks, which are massive. So you don’t come across any other dinosaurs like Triceratops, Stegosauruses or larger carnivores…And I find that to be rather disappointing. However, there is still quite a lot of wildlife to discover. Such as different reptiles, amphibians, winged beasts and insects are abundant in the game. Mice run across the floor. dragonflies buzz around, and various other creatures scuttle around it really does feel like you’re in another world. You do come across some sauropods on your adventure, which makes for some of the game’s finer moments.
So, what about the interacting aspects of the game then? Well, the interaction part is a fairly simple affair. As you have a multi-tool that lets you scan wildlife and move objects. It’s oddly shaped like a Move controller, and I find that to be odd because Move controllers aren’t even compatible. In other words, you’re stuck with the Dualshock 4 for now. However, Crytek has stated that they’re looking into Move support in the future, but whether it will come into fruition is anyone’s guess. There’s a handful of areas you’ll spend your time in whether it’s figuring out some puzzles or finding HIGS units (Bots that unfold the story) there’s usually plenty to do, but it’s exploring that really makes the game fun and finding new creatures hasn’t been as fun as this since Pokemon Snap. The game doesn’t hold your hand. It’s up to you as to where you go and how you get there, but trust me. You’ll likely beat the game in five hours with seeing and doing nearly everything.
So it pains me to say this…But Robinson is quite a short affair that will leave you wanting more. Sure, while the few hours with it are brilliant. I still can’t help to feel like I just got a tiny bit of the whole product. Truth be told, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted extra content for a game as much of this one, because I enjoyed every moment it had to offer. So I just wanted more of it. Oddly enough, there seems to be cut content from the game. So you never see your entry to the planet’s atmosphere via drop pod and there was also another experience in a T-Rex nest where you came face to face with a massive T-rex, it’s nowhere to be seen in the game which makes me wonder why on earth it was cut. The kicker, however, is the price, at £49.99 it’s a tall order for a four to five-hour experience. That´s also why I would recommend people to wait for a price drop because the game is certainly worth experiencing.
While there are some awesome set pieces and stunning areas to explore. The game just needed something extra. I mean, Crytek prove they have some great ideas, but they never built on them. So they didn’t make the most of it, and the result of that comes in the lines of stop and go movement during tense moments where predators are hunting you, eye scanning and interacting with objects. Sadly, there is just not enough of this, VR does a great job at making you feel that you’re in danger but there are only a handful of moments this happens. The game could have done with some chase moments, or something to create more tension and suspense, to be blunt Robinson just needed more content.
Motion sickness can be a key issue for some players, while I happen to be a freak and don’t suffer any sickness while playing VR movement can still be quite jarring. I did feel off-balance while playing stood up but eventually you just get used to it. There are various movement modes, but I stuck with smooth, which let me turn as a nice rate. It might make you sick, but I was fine for the few hours I played.
It’s hard to recommend Robinson at full price due to its length but in spite of that it’s one of the best VR Experiences available. So it’s a hard choice with no doubt. Nevertheless, I do recommend waiting for a sale because it’s worth experiencing. The feeling of being on an alien planet surrounded by wildlife is outstanding and this is a pretty good start in establishing VR as a major platform. I hope to see even deeper experiences in the future, whether or not DLC or a sequel is on the cards remains to be seen.
+ Great visuals
+ Pet T Rex
+ Environments feel alive
– Very short
– Hefty asking price
– There are very few dinosaurs to be found in the game
Replay value: 1/5
You get to walk with a few dinosaurs in a world that feels very much a live, but the stay is both short and costly. Nevertheless, if you´re still willing to pay the rather high price for “Robinson: The Journey”. Then you will get one of the very best VR experiences on the game market right now.
Title: Robinson The Journey
Genre: First person VR adventure
Release date: 2016-11-08
Spent time: 5 hours
Average grade internationally: 64.70% Gamerankings.com
PEGI age rating: 12
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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