I spent about 20 minutes of this week standing on a mountain. Of all the VR games I've dabbled with, it's the mountain demo inside Valve's The Lab that impressed me the most. This suite of tech demos is really cool, but standing on a rock, looking down over a drop to the valley far, far below, was the highlight. This is going to sound like PR speak, but I was taken there. My feet suddenly felt rooted to the spot, one misstep and I'd be tumbling to my death. There are clearly some issues with this first generation of consumer VR equipment (I'm not a fan of the screen blurriness), but the ability to lose yourself inside the virtual world created is pretty astonishing.
I also saw a whale up close and it kind of scared me.
Listen, this is important. I like video games again. This may be shocking to you, and it certainly was for me. But after playing Hot Dogs, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, as well as Valve's The Lab, I'm ready to love again. Mainly because the former enables you to load and fire virtual weapons with terrifying accuracy, and the latter gives you a bow and arrow to use as you see fit.
Violence aside, SteamVR and the Vive are remarkable because of how well the room scale stuff works. Providing you've got the space, you can walk around a section of Aperture Science as if you were actually there, and after a little while you're going to do a brainwrong and, say, try to put the real controllers you're holding down on to the very virtual tables in front of you. Or check your watch in VR.
The tech is superb, but also unwieldy and expensive. Still, nothing else enables me to instantly warp to the top of a mountain, or throw sticks to a robot dog, so it's pretty much the best thing I've ever seen.
I have no idea what difference it's made, but I pledged my allegiance to an ancient wolf and now I belong to some kind of religious cult. Is that a spoiler? I don't know if that's a spoiler. To be honest, I'm so confused by what is and what is not considered a spoiler in Dark Souls these days that I daren't say too much.
So let's leave it at this: I am enjoying Dark Souls 3 far more than I have ever enjoyed a Dark Souls game in the past. It is accessible while being intimidating. It is satisfying while being infuriating. And it is probably my favourite game of the year so far.
Ubisoft seem to be aware that you can't just chuck out an online shooter and just leave it, so the first update dropped this week. For actual free, and everything. So I had a little go on the new Incursion game mode, which is basically a raid wherein in you have to face 15 waves of enemies and also a small tank firing rounds at you. It's really hard. There isn't even a respawn, so if your team fucks it you have to start all over again.'Online team shooter has new online team shooter mode' isn't really news. It doesn't functionally change the game, really. But it's a nice new thing to do. Also there are some new sets of gear and that, but I haven't managed to get all four pieces from one or anything yet.
Sorry if this section isn't as infused with energy as usual. About half the office have some species of illness (as I write this my voice is currently all husky and sexy, like Madge Bishop off of Neighbours) and in my case this is compounded by having to play Dark Souls 3 basically every day. For the foreseeable future. The only thing giving me the strength to go on is that we've all been dicking about with the Vive this week, although not literally because Tom ignored all of us yelling about trying out VR porn. Anyway the Vive is great; I spent several minutes playing with a little robot dog. It was the happiest I've been all week.