Rez Infinite PS4, PSVR
Well, we didn’t quite cry. When Area X, the new area created by Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s team at Enhance Games, was unveiled at the Tokyo Game Show, many of those who played it were reduced to tears. We will admit that, during the game’s boss battle, as the music built to its crescendo while particle showers fizzed all around us, we welled up a little. But that was more to do with the fact that our entire body was tingling. We first played Rez Infinite while wearing a custom-made suit adorned with 26 points of vibration. At the time it felt remarkable. Now, we realise it was barely necessary.
Area X is astonishing, certainly, using the PS4 hardware to fling thousands of particles about in a level in which you have freedom of movement, contrasting against the on-rails nature of the original five Rez stages. Yet what’s most remarkable about Rez Infinite is that this 15-year-old game, originally designed for CRT displays and the Dreamcast controller, is a perfect fit for VR. Even discounting Area X, the original five levels make a more convincing case for the merits of VR than many games built specifically for the purpose.
Rez’s controls were never complex, but here they’re more intuitive than ever, with head tracking used to line up shots and the X button used to fire. Area X complicates things a little by having head tracking dictate your angle of travel and letting you accelerate or brake using the triggers, but even then controls are snappy, natural and instinctive.
Perhaps that makes this version of Rez the easiest to date, but it’s never been a game played for its difficulty. Rez’s magic lies in Mizuguchi’s career-defining fever dream of synaesthesia, combining music and games to create something else entirely. And never has he come closer to realising it than with Rez Infinite. Fifteen years ago, we would turn off the lights and crank up the volume. Now we put on a headset and a good pair of headphones and are transported, briefly, to another world. While playing many of 2016’s glut of new VR games, we’ve found ourselves forever conscious of the world outside, and often pine to return to it. Taking off the headset after our first clear of Area X, however, was deflating, like stepping blinking into the sunlight after a long night out. No matter: the comedown lasts seconds, and we can go back whenever we like.
Mizuguchi has claimed Rez was always meant to be in VR; that the game he had in his head was the one we have today, rather than the one compressed to standard definition on a 4:3 TV. It’s a great marketing line, sure, but you’d better believe it’s the truth. Rez Infinite is 15 years old, and the best VR game of 2016.
While Infinite is best played with head tracking, the weak of neck can use the DualShock stick or a Move controller. Ultimately it’s a matter of taste – but if you’re not playing it standing up, you’re definitely doing it wrong Developer Enhance Games, Monstars Publisher Enhance Games Format PS4, PSVR Release Out now