Last year’s announcement of Fallout 4 VR was met with a fantastic response. The hands-on demo offered? Less so. This year however, Bethesda Softworks has ironed-out the kinks, and Fallout 4 VR is now exactly the experience it should be; including more natural locomotion, an immersive Power Armor HUD and impressive V.A.T.S. incorporation.
To begin at the start, the setting for Fallout 4 VR’s 2017 demo takes place in the same area of the world map as 2016’s demo did: outside the Red Rocket truck stop. A small variety of weapons are equipped to the player’s favourites wheel, accessible on the right circle pad on the HTC Vive’s motion controllers (VRFocus received confirmation today that Fallout 4 VR would also be compatible with an Xbox One controller), including a pistol, laser weapon and a baseball bat. The player aims by manually moving the controller, as would be expected, as can also swing the baseball bat naturally.
Unlike The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR’s demo, playable at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) for the first time, Fallout 4 VR feels like a fairly complete rendition of the original videogame. Bodies can be searched, items collected and the all-important V.A.T.S. system finally makes an appearance. It’s different to the original versions of Fallout 4, that’s for sure. But boy, is it fun.
In Fallout 4 VR, V.A.T.S. still slows time and allows you to aim at a specific body part. However, shots are now fired in real-time upon a pull of the trigger opposed to once the final commands have been issued. Furthermore, the player is able to teleport around the enemy by holding the trigger on the left controller, positioning the location icon where they wish to land and releasing. This allows for a clearer line-of-sight, or even a rushing melee attack: at one point VRFocus charged an enemy and with a single blow managed to separate their head from their body, watching the resulting damage dealt in slow motion.
Teleportation is available as standard, however Fallout 4 VR now also incorporates snap-based movement. Rotation is handled by physically moving your body (when using HTC Vive motion-controllers) and tapping up on the left circle pad will move you forward in small increments. This makes for a much more natural movement, allowing for precision through teleportation or speed through rapid clicks. It’s still not perfect of course – no developer has yet nailed the problems surrounding locomotion in VR – but it’s a huge step forward over last year’s Fallout 4 VR demo.
The Pip-Boy integration is still odd; cleverly placed on the wrist but asking the player to consider the new angle of their arm when inputting commands, effectively altering the input system by 90 degrees. However, familiarising yourself with the use of this and the popup menus that appear for items such as the skill tree (effectively acting as a monitor in the world, moveable with the right motion controller) will surely only be a matter of time.
And time is something that many will likely invest in Fallout 4 VR. Despite taking issue with the price of the videogame and the lack of any downloadable content (DLC), many early adopters of virtual reality (VR) hardware will likely jump on Fallout 4 VR. Judging by this latest demo offered by Bethesda Softworks, they’d be right to do so.