Robinson: The Journey PlayStation VR Review

Publisher: Crytek  Developer: Crytek  Genre: Adventure  Players: 1  Age Rating: 7+

Other console/handheld formats: N/A

When it comes to scares, virtual reality is a tool that can be put to good use, with everything from zombies to sharks causing many people to want to rip their headsets off. Dinosaurs in VR are also something that could be potentially very scary, and Crytek’s Robinson: The Journey is a VR game themed around the terrible lizards.

Despite the dinosaurs, Robinson: The Journey also has a sci fi theme. After a ship called the Esmeralda crash lands on the dinosaur-filled planet of Tyson III, the main character, a boy called Robin, is left stranded there. Joining you on your journey as you attempt to discover why the Esmeralda went down is an AI unit called HIGS as well as a baby Tyrannosaurus called Laika. While some of the writing is amusing, the story is merely passable, and at worst, it’s actually rather forgettable.

Laika is a cute and charismatic character. You can even play Hide and Seek with her at certain points.

Robinson: The Journey is a lovely looking game, particularly when you see the large and detailed dinosaur models on the screen. There’s a section in which you are able to see into the mouth of a massive dinosaur, with its large tongue and teeth being quite an intimidating sight. Let me tell you, it’s a good job that the dinosaur in question is a herbivore. The environments are also detailed, although the game can look rather blurry at times. The PlayStation Pro does improve things somewhat, although only marginally so.

Robinson: The Journey is an adventure game, which means that you shouldn’t go into the game expecting to be shooting lots of dinosaurs. There’s puzzle solving and climbing to be done, and there’s also the occasional tense stealth section, which have you avoiding hungry raptors.

Robin has a multitool device which can levitate objects (it looks like a Move controller, although Move isn’t actually supported), which is helpful for some of the puzzles, and the device can also be used to scan dinosaurs as well as the rest of the wildlife on Tyson III. Scanning creatures is mostly an optional thing, although finding each and every one of them and filling up the Infotarium (where you can read about the dinosaurs and other wildlife) certainly adds some longevity to the game, as does finding hidden objects in the environments.

Robin is unable to jump and isn’t the sort of boy that is able to fall out of trees and survive to tell the tale, in fact you die after what seems like only a small drop. Despite his limitations, Robin is actually a deft climber, and the climbing in the game has been executed brilliantly. The game takes its inspiration from Crytek’s own The Climb, and it’s just a good feeling to be able to look at where you want to climb and then being able to pull yourself up there with each individual floating in-game hand.

The puzzles aren’t as successful as the climbing, and some of them feel overly clunky with dodgy levitation physics and controls, and others are rather vague. There was even a couple of occasions in which I thought I had run into bugs because my instructions were so vague. Both Laika and HIGS are able to be employed for certain puzzles, with Laika being able to scare other dinosaurs away with roaring and can also pick up objects, and HIGS can be used to reroute power during certain situations.

For a VR game with dinosaurs, I’m also sorry to say that Robinson: The Journey is lacking in memorable moments across its short duration. Yes, there are some great moments at times, but there really isn’t enough of them, and it just makes the game feel rather bland as an experience at times. This is a major missed opportunity, particularly as when the memorable moments do happen, Robinson: The Journey is actually a fantastic VR experience.

Environments often aren’t too wide open, although do give you the illusion that they are.

The game can be completed in as little as three hours, and because of this the adventure feels very overpriced for what it is. Like I said, a few things do add to the longevity, but a longer adventure would have been preferable, and this is  definitely one of those situations in which people are going to feel short changed after paying the asking price pf £54.99. This is definitely a game which would have been better priced at £25 or under, so if you are interested in playing this game, then definitely wait for a price drop.

Robinson: The Journey is sadly a rather average experience that could have been so much more. Yes, the game might have dinosaurs, although these giant creatures of the past aren’t put to particularly good use, with only a few truly memorable scenes. This is all terribly disappointing, as this is one game that really did have so much potential, and it looks rather nice as well. I can only hope that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Robinson and friends, and they’ll all appear in a much improved sequel some time down the line.