The Persistence 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.
The Persistence is a VR game that I have been looking forward to for some time, coming to the PlayStation VR from UK developer Firesprite. But, has the wait been worth it?
In the game you are placed into the shoes of a security officer known by the name of Zimri Eder, well not her directly but a clone of this once living person. You are aboard a colony ship called The Persistence that suffered a spark gab event while jumping, unfortunately this has placed the ship right near a black hole that impossible to stop. To make things worse this black hole is really making the clone printer within The Persistence play up, and it is printing mutated versions of your previous shipmates. You are the last survivor on the ship, but the question is can you restore it and find your way back to earth?
The team at Firesprite have described their game perfectly as a rouge-like/stealth/horror title. The gameplay really is made to suit all of those descriptive words. First of all this a rouge-like type of game, so that only means one thing permadeath… you die you start again. However, you will be back as another clone of Zimri Eder, as the ship AI will just keep pumping out your clones – believe me when I say this a good thing, because expect to die a lot.
Then the combat comes in, and this is where the stealth element comes into play, I would really recommend taking on the game as stealthy as possible. In doing so you can take enemies out quietly without alerting others that may be lurking around – because alerting them when there is more than one results in a high chance of death. But, if you are care free and gun-hoe that does become an option, giving you the choice of becoming the hunter and not the hunted. This is because around the ship you will come across weapon fabricators, which will allow you to purchase seventeen different weapons ranging across firearms, melee and some top-secret prototypes.
This brings the upgrade systems into the game, and I little hint upgrading will be an important part of your survival. The upgrade systems will allow you update your core stats, create new suits and upgraded items, upgrade any of the weapons, and will also allow you to use your dead crew mates DNA to print a clone of those instead. This adds more depth to the game and good news all upgrades are permanent, meaning each upgrade and each death could bring you closer to your objective.
Throughout the campaign mode you are going to have five objectives, these are placed across five different decks on The Persistence. I am happy to say as you complete one objective and move on to the next one and in turn the next deck, you are bound to the cloning station on that deck. Meaning you will start from the objective and deck you are on after you die. This is nice move because it means you will not be forced to do all objectives in one life, and removes the frustration that would come with that.
I am sure you are asking where does the horror come in?… This is done via the games presentation and the setting of The Persistence. Although I found this really didn’t come into the game properly until near the end of the first objective. I was thinking the setting is creepy, but it just wasn’t giving me the heebie-geebies in any way. However, I got to one point where more agile enemies come into it and hearing them scurrying behind you and their shadows moving past the end of corridors, and my nerves started to show.
As mentioned the game is set on a ship named The Persistence, so the settings comes with that sci-fi feeling, and the whole ships textures are so clean and polished, it really pushes the boundaries of being one of the best looking PlayStation VR games I have played to date. Obviously with the ship being in the bad condition it is and the game bringing horror with it, the lighting was going to play a big part, and they do that on point as well. Not only the does the lighting suit the state of disarray the ship is in, but the parts where you need the flash light it really doesn’t overly light up the environment. This starts to set the atmosphere and gives you that feeling of being alone, which increases the tension and keeps you immersed in this universe.
It then adds to the atmosphere the visuals build with an excellent use of audio. The team have made sure they have the right noise and ambience to suit the state of the ship. There is the general noise like the hum of the electric from exposed wires, and add this with some slight background music at points in order to get that tension going as you explore this world. Add into this all the grunts and groans from your mutated ex-shipmates and the audio set’s the tone perfectly for the game’s setting.
It can be played seated or standing it really depends on how you are comfortable playing VR games. I found that due to the time you can lose playing the game that I played it seated. The game only comes with support for the DualShock 4, but with the amount of buttons and needing the analogues for movement it can not see any other way to play it. One thing the team at Firesprite have done is made sure they have offered a high amount of comfort options – which makes the game accessible to anyone, never mind their tolerance for VR gaming. For me this is a great thing because they’ve not made it unplayable for people who don’t have very good VR legs, but not nerfed the experience for veterans like me.
As I previously mentioned the games campaign mode comes with five objectives across five different decks on the ship. In order to get through all of these decks you will be looking at around eight hours of gameplay time. However, the game offers a number of reasons to revisit it on completion.
The first being on completion of the campaign you will unlock a Survival Mode, where the team have taken an old-school approach. In survival mode you are essentially playing the campaign mode again, however, you have to do this with less than ten clones. Making it one for the hardcore to take on.
Secondly your completion time from the campaign mode is saved, giving you that challenge of trying to beat your best time. Now, I know you might be thinking… playing the same thing over and over, doesn’t that get boring? The team have combatted this with proceduarally generated decks, meaning each death the deck’s layout will change. Resulting in taking different paths and approaches each play-through.
They say in space no one hears you scream… well my neighbours surely heard me a few times while playing The Persistence. The team at Firesprite have really brought an outstanding exclusive to the PlayStation VR with their game. It brings all the elements that they described it as – while bringing great gameplay, presentation and replay value with it. If you have a PlayStation VR this is an essential addition to your collection.
PlayStation VR Exclusive
Buy on PlayStation Network