Raw Data 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 first played Raw Data on the HTC Vive at Belong Teesside in a local GAME (read my opinions here), this was even when I first tried out the HTC Vive. My experience with Raw Data convinced me that I needed a HTC Vive in my home. Then I heard it was coming to the PSVR I was interested to see how it held-up against what the HTC Vive version of the game. So, how did the PSVR handle it?
Raw Data is a wave based shooter at heart, but brings other things along with it, to make it stand out a little from the large amounts that are thrown at you in the VR medium. One thing it brings with it is a story, and its a story about a scrupulous corporation, and your job is to find out what they are up to. All you will know at the beginning is you are in a dystopian wasteland, and your task is to infiltrate the Eden Corporation which makes advanced weapons and technology.
You will get four characters to choose from in order to complete this mission, Bishop (a pistol expert), Boss (a shotgun wielder), Saija (katana user) and Elder (old school Bow and Arrow). Each weapon will play its own way, which opens a number options on how you will tackle the wave based gameplay the game throws at you. The pistol will need reloading, you can do this when the magazine is spent (15 bullets) or whenever you personally prefer to. To reload the pistol you will need to grab a clip from your side and bring it up to the gun. The shotgun will need to be pumped after every shot, you can do this with your spare hand, or by a quick movement by your side. The katana and bow are function how you would expect – the only difference is you don’t need to collect an arrow for your bow, one will simply manifest as you pull back the string.
All of the weapons also come with abilities you can unlock as you progress through the stages with the character of your choice. Bishop will be able to reload by bringing the gun towards the holster – which is essential when you can start to duel wield. Boss can fire a grenade, Saija will be able to throw her sword – which will return to her. Elder will be get an area of effect attack, which will be a set area on the floor. These are not the only abilities that will unlock as you progress either, you can also get ones that will enhance your abilities or you can get complete different abilities, All your characters are also provided with a set of extra structures you can place around the map (sort of making it part Tower Defence-esc), with more options unlocking and you progress again. These come in the form of turrets. The basic turret is laser based and has a good range – but takes some time to fire. Your plasma turret is a short ranged one, but causes great damage, and the shield creates and orb that will block incoming projectiles.
As you will see from the above, the number of characters, the fact they all handle differently it brings a lot to the gameplay element of the game. What I was also shocked to find was I did not find myself finding a favourite character I wanted to stick with, and found myself using each character just as much as the other.
Visually you will be left a little disappointed (not sure if this was down to me experiencing the HTC Vive version), but every all seemed a little blocky to me. Also, the games overall presentation shows as grainy, but this can be very common occurrence when PC first VR games come to PSVR. I don’t know if this shows more due the lower pixel amount the PSVR offers, and the high production value of Raw Data. The only other thing you will notice as going through the game, you will find they come a bit samey in design – apart for two of the areas. The sound of the game is done well when it comes to down the noise of the guns, surroundings and effects, but there is one part that drove me crazy. This was down to Raw Data putting two of this unknown AI voices into the game, the ones you find giving you your objectives. These two AI’s are called Angel and Simon, and they will give you more details about the corporation and areas as you move on through the 10 stages – but they go on forever and sometimes you are just waiting for them to stop.
One thing Survios have done well, is bring two control systems to PSVR, the usual/common teleport system and one for general movements. I will touch on general movements first because this one I used the least. In this mode you are moving in what ever direction you are looking, or wherever your hand is pointing. As mentioned I used the Teleport option the most, this is something that people give a bad press, however, I like this method. But, in Raw Data even the teleport option takes you a while to get used to. You will teleport using the Move button on your off-hand (your least preferred hand you chose in set-up), and then in order to turn you use the X and Circle buttons on your main hands Move controller. That’s what made it a little difficult, I think it would have made it a lot easier having all the movement buttons on the one hand. Also, I found myself looking in one direction naturally with my head and then pressing the button, the can be a bit disorientating – this was even happening after some decent time with the game.
However, I found a larger issue with the PSVR version, and this was down to the way the hardware works – and not much could be done to stop it. Where the game will track you perfectly fine when stood directly in front of the camera, as you are personally moving (due to the action in the game), the tracking can soon become a problem. I tried a number of position placements for the camera, and never once got a seamless experience in the action segments. Be it the tracking of your arm movements/Move controller getting lost by the camera. Resulting in the arm in the game glitching or to just stop moving, which became a problem when a number of enemies were on the screen. But, the one I found the most common was when ducking down or faster movements caused an issue with the concept of orientation with the camera and the headset – ultimately resulting in a high number of ‘outside of play area’ prompts. Again, this down to the restrictions in the hardware, rather than the game itself.
Raw Data does offer a good amount of playtime. As previously mentioned the game comes with 10 stages in total, but you have the four characters to playthrough them with – and you will with each character playing and feeling different. You will then want to go back to levels as you unlock each characters extra abilities in order to try to beat your high scores, or even use them to assist you on higher difficulties. Giving you plenty of reasons to go back for another go.
Raw Data coming to the PSVR, brings with it a wave shooter that offers more than your standard wave shooter experience, and what the team at Survios have accomplished is remarkable. The multiple character classes that all play and feel unique is testament to the hard-work put into the game. However, it seems the restrictions behind the hardware is holding back this games performance rather than the developers ambition. Even with the issues I found with the tracking, if you spend the time with the camera placement to minimise these issues (the best you can) it is still one that is worth experiencing.
Also available on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift