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

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