EVE: Valkyrie PlayStation VR Review
Publisher: CCP Games Developer: CCP Games Genre: Action Players: 1-16
Age Rating: 12+ Other console/handheld formats: N/A
Have you ever dreamt about being a fighter pilot in space? If your answer was yes to this question, then EVE: Valkyrie might very well tickle your fancy. While there have been many games over the years that have allowed you to take part in space warfare, few have got you as close to the action as this one.
EVE: Valkyrie is a game that requires PlayStation VR to play, and the immersion level is upped drastically because of this. It didn’t take me long at all to believe that I was somewhere deep in space and inside of a ship, fighting it out with other ships, planets, asteroids and space debris beside me.
Each time your ship launches, it bolts forward at a ferocious speed, and, while this might cause motion sickness for some, I loved this feeling of forward momentum before being released into my larger surroundings. Also adding to the immersion is the way that you are able to look around the entire ship. When you look down, you’ll even see your virtual body, and being able to look around freely is more than a simple gimmick, as it even allows you to lock on to enemies with certain weapons, and it all feels instinctive in no time at all. More detail comes in the form of explosions feeling as if they are coming towards you, and structures jut out as you pass them by. If developer CCP Games’ only mission was to immerse you in EVE: Valkyrie’s universe, then they have certainly succeeded with doing just that.
Yes, the immersion level of the game is one of EVE: Valkyrie’s greatest strengths, although the game itself also offers a fantastic time, particularly in the multiplayer modes. As for the single player, it has to be said that this is very limited, with few missions, although it is possible to explore each environment at your own leisure in the scout mode, seeking out echoes and salvage. Finally, there’s also a survival mode that has you blowing up as many AI ships as possible, which is the mode that many will likely return to. The single player is still disappointing though, and it’s a shame that the developer wasn’t able to flesh it out more with a campaign of at least a decent length. A four mission campaign that is over in no time at all just feels rather pointless.
The 8-vs-8 multiplayer is obviously where most of CCP’s attention was applied to during development though. EVE: Valkyrie is also rather unique in the way that this PS4 version is able to be played with those with the Oculus Rift and the upcoming HTC Vive versions of the game, which should mean that you should never be short of players to play with and against.
Starting out, you only have access to the Team Deathmatch mode, and at least the game gives you a good excuse for all the respawns, as every time you are killed and return to the fight, your conscious is then placed into a new clone. When you reach level 5, you’ll also be granted access to Control and Carrier Assault modes. The Control mode has many similarities to Team Deathmatch, although there’s a significant difference; drones are able to be deployed at control points, and the more drones that your team have deployed at these points, the faster the opposition team’s clone supply depletes, with killing enemies also sending this number down. As for the Carrier Assault mode, this has you attempting to disable the shields of a huge enemy ship by taking out power relay switches, and if you manage to do this, you then have to deal with the ships defences, as well as opposing pilots, and fly in and attack the ship’s cooling nodes. Once these are dealt with, focusing your fire on the core of the ship will eventually destroy it, handing you the victory. You also have your own giant ship, which must be defended from all of the latter happening to it if the opposing team are able to bring its defences down.
While there are few multiplayer modes, there’s not a single bad one here, and all offer thrilling dogfights and explosive action, with the simplicity of the Team Deathmatch and Control modes being nicely complimented by the multi-stage Carrier Assault mode. It would have been nice to have a few extra modes to play though, and with only five maps, environments are limited as well. In this way, the game doesn’t really offer enough value for money.
There’s fighter, heavy and support ship classes. With their Gatling guns, missiles and speed, the fighter ships are the most balanced class, while heavy ships are focused on their firepower, and support ships are less about their offensive weaponry and more about handing out help during battles by shielding teammates and depleting enemy shields. You’ll unlock new ships as you level up, and you also eventually unlock the ability to choose from a number of ships each time you respawn as opposed to being stuck with only the one in each and every battle.
EVE: Valkyrie must also be praised for being so simple to play. The game offers a more arcade-like experience, and doesn’t pretend to be a space simulation. It doesn’t take very long at all to pick things up, and tutorials allow you to get to grips with the controls and different capabilities of each ship class.
More negatively, EVE: Valkyrie also has those dreaded microtransactions, and these really are something that should have been done away with in this full price PlayStation VR release. Even though I never felt as if the game was completely forcing me to pay out money to unlock upgrades and ships sooner, some of them do take quite some time to unlock. For a £55 release, there is good reason for the controversy.
EVE: Valkyrie may be limited in certain areas, slightly mean in its structure and, in some ways, overly expensive for what you get, but there’s also really nothing quite like it, and VR makes the feeling of being in the midst of space battles feel all the more real. As a PlayStation VR launch game, this is a highly successful experience, and I definitely recommend you to pop your headset on and get yourself inside EVE: Valkyrie’s virtual ships, launching yourself into space time and time again.