The Persistence PlayStation VR Review

Publisher: FireSprite  Developer: FireSprite Genre: FPS/Stealth/Horror/Rogue-like

Players: 1  Age Rating: 18+ Other console/handheld formats: N/A

Even if the visuals are rather blurry at times, VR is certainly something that gives you a real sense of place. The Persistence is a good example of this, which places you on the titular spaceship, The Persistence. The dark visuals and sound design combine for an excellent atmosphere, really helping to give you a sense that you are actually on the ship, fighting for your life.

Based on how I have described the game in the opening paragraph of this review, The Persistence may sound like a horror game, and it is, although it’s also more than this. The game is also a rogue-like, which will have you dying a lot as you push for progression, but it’s also a game that will have many coming back for more, having new runs in the randomly generated environments.

There’s an interesting smart phone and tablet app available for the game, which allows another player to help or hinder you while playing.

Being a rogue-like, each run is also rather different from the last one. When you die in The Persistence, the excuse for your return comes in the form of printing a clone, and you’ll find that things are laid out differently upon your return, forcing you to adapt to the new layouts and hopefully run across helpful equipment to increase your chances of progressing further on that run. It’s also possible to come across corpses on the ship in which you are able to harvest the DNA from, allowing you to make use of their individual stat boosts.

As for the Important pick-ups in The Persistence, these include Stem Cells and FAB Chips, and they are different from anything else in the way that when you die you retain them, with a lot of the other equipment being taken away from you upon your death and subsequent return. You also retain any suit schematics that you discover that are used to unlock new upgrades for your abilities, and also any upgrades that you apply to yourself or your weapons as well, which means that you do grow more powerful over time, even if it does sometimes take awhile to do so.

Stem Cells and Fab Chips allow you to purchase upgrades for your character, and the former can be found either lying about or can be extracted from enemies with a harvester pistol if you are able to get close enough to them in order to do so, either sneaking up to them from behind or stunning them during a more confrontational approach. Fab Chips can be used during a run to purchase weapons such as guns and grenades at fabricator machines, while Stem Cells are used to upgrade your character, which includes everything from your health to your shield.

When you are ill equipped, it’s definitely recommended to play the game with a more stealthy approach, and I’m sure that many will find themselves playing this way for large chunks of the game, with a helpful ability that enables enemy positions to be revealed through walls. If you do decide to opt for a more head-on approach, then clubbing certain enemies over the head with your harvester is effective enough, and you also have a shield which can be applied to protect yourself as well as to parry enemy attacks if you are able to time it correctly. There’s also a range of purchasable and upgradeable guns, grenades, and other helpful equipment, with the latter assisting you in both stealth and assault situations.

The game takes place across five randomly generated decks, each getting more difficult thanks to tougher enemies as well as more spread out objectives. As with many games of this type, the randomly generated environments can be a little repetitive and plain from time to time, but at least they change as opposed to staying the same, which is important for a game of this type that has you dying over and over again and then returning to try again.

The game definitely has a risk versus reward ethos in the way that you can either head straight towards your objective, or you can tough it out a little longer and do some exploration in order to find helpful weapons and/or the means to further enhance your skill set, and whenever you are feeling brave it’s definitely worth the risk. There’s even loot boxes in specific rooms, and these are worth tackling to get some fantastic rewards, with the potential to even find Porter keys; such a key means that you are able to start from specific decks on new runs, which means that you don’t have to go through, say, deck 1 to get to deck 2 in the way that you have to do if you don’t have the required key to jump straight to deck 2 from the off on a new run. You can also stumble across story sequences, which adds depth to what isn’t the richest of storylines.

There’s a variety of different enemies in the game, and you’ll have to adapt to each individual type.

After the 8-10 hour campaign is done, there’s a survival mode to play through. This mode only gives you ten lives to play with, which certainly isn’t a lot for such a tough game. If you are able to come out of top, then you should definitely be proud of yourself.

Let’s talk controls. The Persistence only has support for the DualShock 4, which will sadden those who were hoping for Move and/or Aim controller support. Hopefully such support will be added in the future. The game also has various comfort settings, which hopefully means that many will be able to find a setting that suits them. I’m not ordinarily affected by motion sickness, but I must admit that I needed to slow the turn-speed down slightly in this one, but once I did that, I felt very comfortable with what I was seeing and experiencing inside the headset.

All in all, The Persistence is one of the finest games that money can buy for the PSVR. This sci-fi rogue-like is beautifully made, and it is one very atmospheric game, made even more so by PSVR. It’s a game that I can see myself returning to time and time again in order to conquer it, even if I have to die many more times in order to do so.