Belong Teesside By GAME
One of my local GAME stores have received the Belong upgrade last week, I had a day free today so I decided to go and check out what is on offer from the new addition.
From the moment walking in I could see the store was looking to endorse this new addition to their store, and I could understand why. As soon as I walked in to store the right-hand side was HTC Vive set-up, with a few people watching someone play Fruit Ninja. I approached the back of the store and was instantly greeted by a member staff wearing a Belong t-shirt, who offered me a tour of the Gaming Arena that had its grand opening today.
From entering the room I could see there was a great effort put into making this area, and the set-up was impressive. The arena consists of twenty four high-end gaming PC’s, with one side also connected to Xbox Ones and the other Playstation 4’s. In addition to this it includes four VR pods set up, all connected to HTC Vive’s allowing for co-op VR gaming as well.
With eSports becoming a major part of gaming I can see why additions like this are coming to GAME stores, and I can see it becoming a success. If you and a group of mates want a gaming session on some of your favourite online games, but all want to be in the same room this is a great option. Or even if your Mrs drags you out with her, it’s the perfect man creche once you are annoying her – a simple I’ll go and play games while your shopping could suffice.
As you would expect there is cost involved for using the arena, but you have remember this is a business and it would have cost to get going, and to keep it running. After the little tour I was taken through the price’s and how it works. Personally I did not think the pricing was that bad, but taking into account how it works I would opt for the higher priced options if you can afford it at the time. The use of the HTC Vive is not included in the arena (will get to this later), but please see the pricing options listed below;
- One Hour – £5.00
- Two Hours – £8.00
- Six Hours – £15.00
- Full Day – £25.00
Now you may be questioning on why I would recommend buying the higher priced options, this is because it was explained to me it does not all have to be using in one go – meaning if you can only make a couple of hours, but will go back another day it could turn out cheaper. Personally I didn’t have a go in the arena part, but as mentioned before the set-up looked impressive.
Along with the arena there is plans for set days there plan each week for the evenings. Where this might think it causes some restrictions on what you can do, I think the idea is a good way to do it, rather than issues coming up when people are wanting to get groups going on different games at once. To give you an example of weeks could look, see next weeks program below.
Now being a big user of the Playstation VR, there was one thing I was interested in when I walked – the HTC Vive. I got informed that today for £2.00 I could have entered the Fruit Ninja competition (that was happening on the shop floor), with the prize for winning that being two passes for the arena. But I wasn’t really hoping to experience Fruit Ninja, so I had a go one the one in the arena area on single player. As mentioned these are not included in the pricing of the arena, but is priced separately at;
- 1 Life VR Session – £2.00
- 10 Minute VR Session – £5.00
- 30 Minute VR Session – £15.00
From my understanding the 1 Life VR Session is more just 360 VR video type experiences, where the VR Sessions consisted of a number games being available. But, I had to have a go of the Vive, and see how the PC side of VR gaming lives. So I strapped into the HTC Vive, and in my session I tried out two of waved based shooters available on it.
The first one was Raw Data which personally didn’t start our very well, as the character I chose was a pain to use. The staff were nice enough to not class this in my session, and let me start again with a new character. So, what was my first impressions on Raw Data, as previously mentioned this is wave shooter, so basics wise it did what you would expect from a shooter. But, visually it was very crisp and looked nice, and the controls using the Vive wireless controllers felt much more natural compared to the Playstation options.
Next I moved onto Zombie Training Simulator at first I thought this game was so basic, but as I started to get into it more it actually became quite addictive. Visually it was very basic, but the gameplay and options available to you, it soon becomes about strategy to get through the waves. Again as with Raw Data the Vive controllers are so nice to use, and feel really natural on what you are doing in the game.
That’s a little bit on the games, there’s not much I can say really with the experience time I had on them, but what is my opinion on how the PC side of VR gaming lives? – I think how the HTC Vive works with the tracking it’s a lot more responsive to your actions than the PSVR. Also the whole 360 degree viewpoint is amazing, a few times I was nearly caught out forgetting about this on Raw Data. The one thing I think the PSVR has over the HTC Vive from what I have played is the comfort of the headset. I can certainly see myself getting a HTC Vive at some point in the future, and may be would have a walked out with one today if the store had them in stock.
I personally enjoyed my first experience in Belong, and I can imagine this will be a success in the Teesside Park GAME store. I might actually call down to one of the Destiny evenings and see how the arena works – I’ve not played it in a good while, but it is the most played game on my Xbox One. From the really helpful and polite staff, how high-tech it all looks and from the experience today I really do with them all the best with it moving forward and hope it sticks around.