One of the biggest barriers to entry in VR, is that it is solitary experience. Once the headset goes on, you are the only person who experiences the feeling of playing VR, while everyone around you is limited to watching through a 2D space. For most casual players, spending the best part of £500-£1,000 on a setup that runs VR doesn’t seem worth it.
This is the crowd MeetSpace VR perfectly captures, offering players full-room multiplayer VR experiences with no hefty upfront investment. Situated underneath the Utilita Arena in Birmingham, the company offers numerous VR experiences, including Far Cry 3 VR , a multiplayer VR experience.
A welcome return
Far Cry 3 VR starts in the best way possible, as you end up face-to-face with Vaas, arguably the best character in the original game. It’s a shame that there is no original content on offer, but Vaas ‘definition of insanity’ speech remains as visceral and well-delivered as it was when the game was released over 9 years ago. After meeting Vaas, players are placed in the game world for the first-time and given free reign over movement.
Touting HP Reverb VR headsets with a custom backpack PC and a gun controller, Far Cry 3 VR quite literally puts you in the game world. The full-room VR doesn't fully come into play until a little later, but right off the bat players are introduced to the gun mechanics in a short tutorial. There are two guns to choose from, an automatic rifle or a long-range crossbow that fires one bolt at a time. I leaned on the assault rifle quite a lot as missing a shot meant a lengthy reload, although it does come into use during specific situations.
With the tutorial done, it was time to get into the action. Primarily designed as a 4-8 player game, I was, unfortunately, playing alone. Unsurprisingly, I had my work cut out for me, but the punishment for death is pretty light as the game simply phases players out for a few seconds before letting them continue. Imagine an arcade game with unlimited quarters!
The first battle is pretty short and eases players into how the combat works. Enemies are all pretty close by, so there’s ample opportunity to get to grips with how reloading works. The rifle reloads automatically, while the crossbow requires a quick pump of the physical gun. A button above either side of the trigger allows for a quick swap of your gun. It’s a control system that’s incredibly simplistic, and one that places the focus on being in the game world, rather than battling with an overly complicated control interface.
Into the thick of it
With the introductory battle over and done with, it was time to take a trip down a cable car. Let me tell you, contending with gunfire from four different directions on your own is no easy task. However, I had a lot more fun once I’d accepted that death was going to be commonplace. At one point I even started using the gun one handed and tilting it to one side. An action that felt great in the game, but likely looked a bit silly to anyone watching.
From here on, it’s pretty much the same gameplay loop across a number of varied environments. Shoot enemies until they are all gone, listen to the narrator talk to you, move on to the next area. Far Cry 3 VR does do something interesting around the halfway point though. Players are tasked with traversing a cave filled with hallucinogenic mushrooms. It didn’t take long for the player character to start tripping, which provided the chance to walk around in the game world. Far Cry 3 VR asks players to walk on thin wooden walkways suspended above sheer drops. Unlike traditional VR, there's a lot more space to move around in which really added to the immersion.
The penultimate encounter at the end of the cave involved shooting enemies on the walls and ceiling. This was surprisingly difficult. As I was playing alone, it was hard to discern where gunfire was coming from. On screen indicators do help, but when you’ve got five different enemies shooting at you, it can become pretty disorientating. The cave was also incredibly dark. Unfortunately, this made it difficult to distinguish enemies from the background in that particular section. However, I enjoyed how Far Cry 3 VR brought this kind of physics-bending gameplay to life using the surrounding room.
All good things must come to an end
Far Cry 3 VR finishes off in a large temple, where difficult waves of enemies and Vaas routinely attack. I found this last encounter a little repetitive, as it went on a little too long. However, this likely wouldn’t be the case for those playing in a larger group. Red barrels dotted about the last arena did make this partcular pretty fun . Who doesn't love shooting red barrels?
Far Cry 3 VR is incredibly fun. With a group of people all playing together it really shows off the power of VR in multiplayer gaming. The whole experience is physically demanding, especially the gun which had a surprisingly weighty feel. By the last encounter, my arms were heavy, and I actually felt pretty tired. Aches aside, Far Cry 3 VR is an absolute blast. It's must-see for any group of friends looking for something unique to do.
Far Cry 3 VR really does a fantastic job of selling VR and its potential. VR is all about physically being in a virtual game world and experiencing things many of us could only ever dream about. The reaction of those around me as I watched other groups play was one of pure excitement. Everything from shouts to screams and even laughs were heard amongst groups of friends and absolute strangers. Far Cry 3 VR and the other games providea peek at what the future of VR could be. For now though, it’s lovely to see and shoot Vaas one last time.
Far Cry 3 VR is an Ubisoft-associated title. At the time of publication, Ubisoft is under investigation for alleged long-lasting workplace harassment, sexual assault and abuse.