From its initial reveal, it was immediately clear that Robinson: The Journey would be one of the best looking games on PlayStation VR. It features a lush jungle environment full of foliage and prehistoric life, all waiting to be discovered by you, which is what Crytek are known for. Our expectations for this title were through the roof, so was it able to meet them at all?
As mentioned above, this game looks incredible. You begin with a small flashback scene of you meeting your dinosaur pal Laika, who actually made me flinch when it leaped towards me! You are then thrown into a small pod, which is full of little trinkets and packed with detail. From here you are able to get a handle of the controls and adjust to your liking, but what follows this is one of the best “wow” moments in VR I have experienced, the reveal to the outside world, and how beautifully it is realised. I spent a few minutes just absorbing it in.
You are Robin, a young boy who inhabits Tyson III, a planet that he knows little about, and is the only survivor. You are accompanied by a HIGS unit, the floating sphere that helps guide you along the way and informs you of your history. You can surmise a lot of the history, but it is all unveiled through the discovery of other crashed and damaged HIGS units across the map.
The controls are very unusual to begin with. You turn in “segments” or as the game refers to as “Pie Chart” mode. I instantly changed this, and tried all three of the modes and settled with the free movement and strafe mode. My first gaming session was about forty minutes, and for the first time in VR I felt very queasy. I found DriveClub fine, but this was an awful feeling that lingered an hour after I stopped. It almost prevented me from playing again, however the next day I jumped back in and everything was completely fine and I was able to enjoy the whole experience. I played over 3 sessions across 3 days, and my total play time was just under five hours.
There is no PlayStation Move support, which is a bit odd, as the device you are holding looks a lot like a move controller, and the climbing mechanic, that currently uses your head to line up your hands would have benefited from their implementation. Perhaps they will be patched in? If it isn’t, it is a big oversight.
There were a few other niggles I experienced other than the initial sickness. I had two occasions where Laika became completely unresponsive to my commands and froze in its spot. I simply had to leave the area to fix it, but it was a bit jarring. Another occasion where stealth was introduced I struggled and died, but when the game reloaded HIGS was guiding me through the segment, and this happened two other times in different spots. This leads me on to the fact it is very easy to get “stuck”. You either don’t know what you are meant to do, because there is no indicator, and HIGS simply doesn’t help you enough. I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to find the location of a battery receptor because of the lighting, and the game didn’t point me in the right direction at all, which artificially lengthened it by roughly an hour. Another minor complaint was the load times at the start of the game, but after the first two load screens you won’t see another loading screen as it all streams in seamlessly.
Once you have finished the mid-to-short story, you can go around and scan the life-forms on the planet, ala No Mans Sky, however it’s a little more fun and requires you to be active in the scanning. You are presented with a scattering of green and red dots on the animal you are scanning; the larger it is the more dots it has. You have to pass your cursor over the green ones and avoid the red, otherwise it resets. It’s a nice mini game that I really enjoyed trying to puzzle out how to obtain certain tricky creatures to my “Infotarium”.
Despite the issues, there are some cool set pieces, and some good story-telling, so I hope there is a sequel. It is one of the only “proper” games on VR, and I enjoyed most of it. The campaign may be short, but there are a lot of collectables and side optional tasks you can do to lengthen it. The price may be a little high for most gamers, but it is definitely one of those games you will use to showcase the PSVR hardware. There is an element of motion sickness in Robinson: The Journey, but it is all about building tolerance, try playing in short bursts initially so you don’t feel sick.
- Replay Value