End Space 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.
End Space brings some more space shooter action to the Playstation VR. It enters the field with popular games in this genre such as Eve Valkyrie, but what End Space offers is a single player campaign rather than an online shooter. But, is a single player aspect enough to make the game stand out?
With End Space being a single player game, as you would expect it brings with it a story, even thought it is a very basic story. The story comes as introductions to the missions, which are given to you by masked figure that stands next the central console (your mission map). The simple nature of the story is you are contractor who is tasked with bringing down a rebellion that is part of a well-funded organisation.
When it comes down the gameplay, as you are taking on ships in dog fights in space, it comes with what you would expect with titles of this sort. The idea is to pilot the ship and take these enemies with the weapons you have at your disposal. The game starts out with a little introduction, which will give you a tutorial that introduces to you the combat and controlling your ship. One thing I enjoyed about the gameplay is that the combat can get intense at times, but this is outside the one-on-one battles. It would have been great to have this feeling in those battles, but the AI seems really forgiving and the one-on-one battles become very simple. However, when you start to get into the larger battles with a few of the bigger ships the gameplay really comes to life, and makes these simple one-on-one battles a passing memory. When it comes to the battles you will need to make sure you use your weapons wisely at first because they come with a cool down, and until you upgrade your ship the cool down can take sometime. I would just like to add that bringing in these larger battles make this a game rather than a VR experience, because in my opinion with the simple nature of the one-on-one battles that is what it would have felt like.
One thing that really impressed me with End Space was the overall presentation of the game, especially coming from a small development team. It would have been easy for the game to make the enemies fight from a distance, but in End Space they were not scared to let the ships come in close. Then when you take down an enemy from nice and close the breaking apart of the ship makes you feel like a bad-ass space pilot, but, the only issue I found was the explosions from taking down the ships just doesn’t have the feel you would like them to have. I think the visuals are pulled off really well thanks to the cell-shaded style they have opted for. In each mission you are given a planet in the background, these are the usual planet designs you would expect to see. These really just consist of static images, but they do the job and don’t take away from the game – except at times when there is a break/stutter as you turn your ship.
Add to the impressive visuals, the soundtrack to the game and the noises of the space battles, it really makes End Space one of the most immersive experiences on the Playstation VR at this present time. But, there is one main issue with the sound, the game includes and alarm that tells you when you are about to crash. This is one of those annoying beeping sounds that you could have probably done without – mainly because at the times it goes off it can distract you, making you crash rather than avoiding it.
As mentioned above the sound in the game does make End Space really immersive, but for me there is much more that adds to this. One thing that I really loved and helped with the immersion is the fact the team have included reflections in your cockpits window. By doing this it just makes the whole experience feel more realistic. One thing the game misses when it comes to the immersion though is the lack of effects when it comes to boosting. The ship just doesn’t seem like it is moving at a faster pace when you boost, that could have been shown by particle or blurring effects – hopefully this will be patched in as it would make the already impressive immersion even better.
The controls of the game are pretty much straight forward, which seems to be what space combat games carry off well. As you would expect with a game like this, it uses the DualShock 4. The left stick is going to control your direction, the right stick will control your rotation, the triggers are for your primary and secondary weapons, and X will activate your boost, which like your weapons has a cool down period when used. The final piece of the controls puzzle is you aim by moving your head and using the tracking in the Playstation VR Headset. Given the movement and aiming system I really expected to feel some motion sickness, especially in the larger battles, but I did not suffer from this at all. This could have been down to the fact the game immersion helps with this feeling, and the reflections in the glass gives you a sort of focal point.
Now, the point the game really suffers and falls down, the length of the game. The game is played across 12 missions, and where this seems a decent amount of missions the difficulty lets it down. The game took me just over 2 hours to complete the 12 missions. Also the lack of leader boards or other difficulty settings really makes this game hard to go back to and play again. Given the £15.99 price point, where the game is a decent space fighting experience, some may see the price point a little steep.
End Space will give many Eve Valkyrie fans access to what they wanted, a single player campaign, and as a game I think End Space can hold its head high with Eve Valkyrie. Bringing with it one of the most immersive experiences to date on the Playstation VR thanks to its great overall presentation. Unfortunately coming in at just over 2 hours long, the price point may deter people from the product, which could be fixed by adding a higher difficulty setting.
Also available on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift
Developers: Orange Bridge Studios
Article originally created for http://www.gamesbulletin.uk