For some years now, VR has been taking strides towards the ‘Ready Player One’ ideal of a fully realised virtual world and while some have come close, only one seems to have truly grasped the essence of what we all want from Social VR…and it’s free
The first thing I noticed when booting up Rec Room, was the plethora of comfort options.
The people that brought us this rare diamond in the wrath are Seattle based company Against Gravity, co-founded by Nick Fajt and Dan Kroymann, who turned their gaze to the VR market back in June 2016 on Windows Mixed Reality. Since then, they’ve gone cross-platform on Steam, Oculus and PSVR. This coupled with being a free game is allowing almost anyone with a VR headset to meet up and play games with anyone else with a VR headset as if they’re in the same room.
The first thing I noticed when booting up Rec Room, was the plethora of comfort options. I personally play VR with all comfort setting off, full locomotion (Not Teleporting) and no Fog (An effect used in many VR games that causes you to zoom in, or black out the edges when you move) which is something Rec Room supports, but i was thrilled to find, I could turn off.
Next was the microphone, which works much like real life. Walking towards somone makes them louder, walking away they eventually mute. This made exploring and meeting other players a great deal of fun and if I was having trouble, I just looked around for a nice looking group and ask them for help. 99% of the time I found a correct or at least useful answer this way.
Of course, all this interactivity is only going to be any good if there’s something to do and Rec Room does not disappoint in the activities department.
-Quests. (Curently 5) Story lines for a brave single player or co-operative teams to tackle in order to unlock rare items. They are each based on a theme (Pirates, Fantasy, Sci-fi, ect) and are full of bots, AI monsters and chests to find. Players must reach the end of each area alive, in order to complete the levels. In teams lives are shared, reminding me of GTAV’s heist lives system, however here you can shout and communicate with team members like you would in real life, adding to the experience of creaming for help ten fold.
A more traditional FPS shooter with a huge list of maps and game modes including, Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch and more classic modes,
Team Deathmatch type gameplay but each team also has a swarm of AI Bots that roam around. Killing one wins points for your team, so the aim of the game is to kill enemy players and their teams bots, while protecting your own.
My personal favourite but does require some explanation. I never thought I would enjoy a Battle Royale game in any form, however Rec Room have nailed it. The map is a huge island and hang gliding down from the clouds in VR, surrounded by other players swooping down, is really quite something. Of course, the map shrinks slowly over time, forcing me to reach behind my back to get out my map to keep checking I was going the right way. Playing in teams has its own added benefits, as you can walk away from a team mate and they will swap to a radio in your ear. Meaning some players treat it much like a SWAT team. Planning ahead and setting ambushes, a real test of skill and co-ordination.
What you imagine.
Also the same.
A twist on golf where you throw and pick up a disk, instead of hitting a ball. Alot harder than it sounds.
Last but not least, yes, you can even just hang out with your friends in one of many parks, to play ‘Football’.
We bumped fists (adding me to his party so he could jump room and take me with him) and he teleported me to a new area.
These game modes were where I was going to end my review, turn off the game and come to write this, but i was quickly told by a new Friend I had made that I was missing the main point of Rec Room. We bumped fists (adding me to his party so he could jump room and take me with him) and he teleported me to a new area.
I was soon confronted by a massive recreation of a Quidditch Pitch and a fair chunk of Hogwarts, built to a staggering degree of detail and with working Brooms. There were only two of us, so we couldnt play a game, so we proceeded to fly around at break neck speeds shouting random things from Harry Potter at eachother. ‘This would be better if we had the Wands from the Fantasy Quest’ I said and was quickly shown a machine tucked away behind the level. It turns out, this whole place was User Created inside Rec Room itself. He handed me a device called a Maker Pen, showed me how to spawn weapons and items from elsewhere in rec room, or even how to draw your own, and that was that. We were there for maybe 3 hours messing around and at no point was I bored. Building new worlds, models, and entire game modes with coding tools and triggers made just for your inner game creator. After we had explored more user created rooms, flown brooms, been iorn man, walked inside a human heart and played a truly terrifying escape room, i bid my farewells and returned to the real world.
I recommend you all go and give it a go!
Rec Room has really changed how alot of us are treating Virtual Reality as a whole. Maybe this isn’t a game at all I realised when I took the headset off, nearly 5 hours after I put it on, what they’ve made is an entirely new way to experience social play and it all supports creativity. I can wholly reccomend Rec Room to all players on all headsets.
I recommend you all go and give it a go!
…and I’ll let you in on a secret, it also plays well in NON-VR on PC and PS4 as of their latest update, so there really is no excuse not to join the fun!
It’s free and it’s one of the best and more fully realised VR ‘worlds’ to go and explore. Did I mention that you even get an in game Camera to take photos with? The options really are endless.
You might even find me messing around in there.
Twitter – @TheVrSofa