LOAD 'HUMAN', 8, 1, writes Heidi Kemps
If 2016 is remembered for anything in the history of the gaming medium, it’ll be the year when the dream of home virtual reality was finally attained. With a multitude of PC VR headsets already on the market and PlayStation VR just around the corner, it’s an exciting new frontier in immersive gaming experiences that has the potential to create new game genres – or, in the case of Loading Human, bring an old genre to new heights.
Loading Human is a VR-exclusive adventure game that’s been incubating for a while. It began as a successful Kickstarter project a few years ago, and has been improving gradually since. While there have been a few changes over the course of the title’s development, every demo we’ve seen of the game shows just how far the concept and gameplay have been advancing over time.
The story of Loading Human is set in a technologically advanced future. As young Prometheus (a name that we’re sure is loaded with plot meaning), you find yourself summoned back to the lab of your father, a brilliant scientist. As you arrive in his Antarctic lab, you learn that he is on his deathbed, and that he has a mission for you. You are to find the 'Quintessence', a metaphysical force of immense power, so powerful, in fact, that it may be the key to cheating death. This journey will take you through fragments of Prometheus’ memory, from his training in the Antarctic to his mission in the deepest depths of space.
Loading Human is the evolution of the classic adventure game, meaning that you’ll progress by searching through various environments for key interactive elements to advance the story and/or solve puzzles. While the interface of choice for the PC adventure games of yore was the mouse, the primary means of interacting with the world of Loading Human are your hands. (In our case, as we were playing our demo session on PlayStation VR, our hands were a pair of PlayStation Move controllers.) Everything in this virtual world, much like in reality, is accessed with our hands. See an item you need? Pick it up. See a weapon or tool? Pick it up, then swing, twist, or poke with it as needed. Find a book you want to read? Open it up and leaf through the pages, looking for the information you seek. Need to turn a knob, or pull open a door? Yes, you’ll need to mimic the actual activity of doing so. It sounds a bit cheesy on paper, but when you’re actually immersed in this world, interacting with things using your virtual hands starts to become second nature. By interacting with everything, you realise just how much detail has been packed into these environments.
The mood of the game isn’t entirely a leisurely object hunt, however. In one portion of our demo, we had to use various devices to repair a broken elevator, crowbar open a busted door, and solve a puzzle in order to restore power to a seemingly defunct facility. Other clips that have been showcased display sequences of needing to use your arms and tools to rescue people in need and taking care of dangerous situations (such as putting out a raging fire with an extinguisher).
Loading Human is planned to span three episodic instalments, the first of which is scheduled for release late this year. If you’re craving an immersive adventure to accompany your jump into the world of virtual reality, Loading Human should scratch that itch nicely.
Loading Human is tHe evoLution of tHe cLassic adventure game; you’LL progress by searcHing tHrougH various eLements to advance tHe story and/or soLve puzzLes
The train line to the house that Tron built