Detached Review (PSVR)
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.
I can always remember the trailer for Detached where everyone was saying it was like being in space, and this is when the game was in Early Access on the PC. The game has now made the move over to PlayStation VR, but does it really have that WOW factor?
In the game you play someone who has returned form a mission and have been attacked, leaving you abandoned and wanting to get the hell out of dodge before they return or others turn up. Unfortunately there is not much narrative to the story in order to weave a rememberable story from this situation you are placed in – and for me it became pretty non-essential.
However, where the story has not really pushed any boundaries, the rest of game tries to make up for that and in most cases succeeds. The gameplay is very objective based and where the objectives are repetitive and normally along the lines of activating something or a bunch of them in a set time and avoiding something that is falling on you, doing it all in this zero gravity universe really keeps in entertaining. As well of the objectives the game throws some nice little and not too difficult puzzles into it, and also includes oxygen and fuel meters you must keep stocked up along the way – or else it’s pretty much game over.
One thing Detached does not do is hold your hand when it comes to the objectives, they have really made a big part of the gameplay about the exploration of what they have created. Where this is great as the whole world the team at Anshar Studios has created is beautiful to look around, the vastness of it can cause some issues. In some cases this adds to the realism of this space simulator, the annoyance is caused by the save checkpoints being so far apart. This might cause you to lose up to an hour of progression in some cases – meaning some might be tempted to not come back to the game.
Outside of the campaign mode the game offers a multiplayer option, that is played either 1v1 or 2v2. Now, I know automatically you think epic battles in space in zero gravity right?… Unfortunately that is not what Detached offers. The first mode is a race mode that will have you racing through a set path of hoops and the second mode is a capture the flag type mode, which sees you battling for an item in space and returning it. Both modes can be decent, but the best part about it is watching your opponents mess up and miss the hoops or go straight past the item, and try to sort their controls and path out while colliding with something. Now, were the multiplayer option is available, as with many VR multiplayer modes it might not be so easy to find a game and you will be depending on friends to have the game most of the time. This is nothing against Detached, because this spreads across a lot of VR multiplayer modes.
As I mentioned in the start of the article, the trailer for Detached people were all in awe of what they were seeing when they left the station, and I can confirm I was too. The team really have brought everything to the game in near photorealism when it comes to the visual presentation. The textures in the space stations are outstanding then going out an exploring space and your jaw drops. OK, I will say that going from space station to outside to space station the textures and places are very repetitive in looks – but when you are playing in zero gravity conditions it’s hard to pay that much attention to the repetitive nature.
To go with the realism of the visuals, they have also got the sound design spot on in my opinion – it really does give you that feeling of being alone in space. They have used a very light orchestral soundtrack, but not made it to loud or overly powerful to set the loneliness tone. They have then added to this some conversations with your captain, mixed with your breathing and the sounds of you colliding with objects. All this put together hits home it is you and you alone facing these zero gravity conditions, and trying to survive.
I would highly recommend playing the game in a seated position, although standing would be an option. I recommend this because even as someone who has good VR legs, at first this made me feel a little queasy – but the game does warn about this. For me this is down to the complex control system that you are thrown straight into, which in turn makes the movement of the game feel very odd, and the level of immersion and simulation throws your mind off a little. The game is played using the DualShock 4 only, and the difficulty slider works as the level of simulation in the controls. Meaning if you decide to put the game into Simulation mode expect a huge learning curve for the controls of the game and most likely a lot more nausea inducing moments.
When it comes to getting through the campaign it is going to take around four to five hours or possibly longer depending on what control scheme you decide to use. When it comes to revisiting the campaign mode I would say it is hard to do because of the lack of narrative, there is not much to drag you back into the game. So, it’s longevity is out of the games hands, because it really depends if there is a multiplayer community base for the game, if not it could depend on your friends owning and enjoying the multiplayer element of the game.
Detached brings a true space simulator to the VR medium, think of the movie Gravity, but you are in it. Where the game lacks any real narrative direction, it makes up for it in exploration, presentation and simulating the feeling of being in space. But, I would recommend staying away from the game if you are prone to motion sickness, because even as someone who has a high tolerance for VR this made me nauseous at times. However, if you want to experience what it would be liking being in space and traversing in zero gravity there is no better place to look.
Also available on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift
Developer: Anshar Studios
Buy on the PlayStation Store