It’s Really Hard To Move Around In The Future
HIGH The PSVR’s first truly 360-degree virtual environment.
LOW Nausea fits from awkward navigation and turning.
WTF Scream worthy frustration of grabbing and dropping items.
Reviewing launch titles on a new platform is never an easy task. In reality, every offering should be considered a tech demo to some degree, as the hardware and software are still in their infant stages. With this in mind, covering Loading Human: Chapter 1 ends up a perfect example of both the best and worst of Sony’s current PSVR. Maximum Games’ sci-fi adventure is a brave attempt at unique storytelling, but also one where the interface fails it tremendously.
The protagonist is an astronaut named Prometheus, and he’s on a time-travel quest to save his dying father. Along the way (and via flashbacks) he recalls love while providing an engaging glimpse into the mind of a world more than a hundred years in the future.
Per its name, Chapter One is the first of three parts in the Loading Human saga, presented as time chunks akin to the Animus segments in Assassin’s Creed. The story is interesting, the environments pack futuristic authenticity, and while it’s a bit whiny, Prometheus’ journey is engaging. Unfortunately, that’s where the allure ends.
Getting back to the infancy of VR, Loading Human’s control schemes are simply terrible. The Dualshock controller is unplayable, and the dual Move controller option works just well enough to drive one both nauseous and crazy.
Specifically, navigating in Loading Human is accomplished by pointing and turning the Move controllers. The catch is, movements are never clean. It’s akin to dragging a sled through the world’s worst bog, and never feels truly under control. The movements must also be performed in a limited range of motion, but the game happens in a 360-degree environment. Hello, severe motion sickness!
Truth be told, I lasted about 15-20 minutes per session before being too ill to continue. Even the tutorials will leave one needing a nausea break.
Related, manipulating objects in this herky-jerky world is hair-pullingly problematic. Lining Prometheus up to grab something is hard, but actually grabbing it is an act of heroic proportions. This is a serious issue since Loading Human is comprised of a series of puzzle-type interactions where precise movements and item interaction is required for advancement. Between the bumping around, the difficulty in grabbing and the effort needed to fight off nausea, it took me upwards of 30 minutes to accomplish simple tasks that should take only a couple.
In an effort to give the game the fairest possible evaluation, I contacted the developer in hopes that they might have a patch in the works which might remedy the situation. Unfortunately, no such patch seems imminent.
I write this review with a fair bit of sadness. This can and should be a good title, and despite all the difficulty I had, the interesting premise of Loading Human kept drawing me back in. The story, true 360 degree movement and ability to manipulate almost every object in the space provide a cool experience — the mechanics are just too nauseating — literally. Only the most devoted players with iron stomachs might be able to suffer through in hopes of seeing light at the end of this virtual reality tunnel.
Disclosures: This title was developed and is distributed by Maximum Games. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on PSVR. Approximately 5 hours of play were devoted to this title and it was not completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: Loading Human Chapter One is rated T for Teen/Adolescent by the ESRB. Minimal adult oriented themes and alcohol are presented.
Controls: Controls options consist of either a Dualshock controller or the suggested via two Move controllers. No adjustments to these options are available.
Colorblind modes: Virtual Reality hardware and software may present challenges to colorblind users based on presentation method. This game does not offer options to address this issue.