No Man’s Sky’s Emergence Expedition Arrives In-Time For Dune And Halloween

No Man’s Sky is killing two birds with one stone with its new Emergence expedition. Or is that two worms with one stone?

The game’s fourth major expedition was revealed today. It sends players to the barren planet of Wasan, a wasteland infested with enormous Titan Worms. They’ll look familiar to anyone that’s been looking forward to this week’s release of Dune on the big screen, and carry a nice hint of horror just in time for Halloween, too. Check it out in the trailer below.

No Man’s Sky Emergence Trailer

You’ll be on the hunt for impact sites in a quest to destroy the ‘Hungering Tendrils’, which we don’t care to picture in our heads. Completing this expedition will unearth more of the universe’s lore, too.

Emergence isn’t just a new expedition, though. It’s also a mini-update that adds new types of diverse sandworms and (as you may have guessed) the ability to ride them. You’ll also get new cosmetic items and there are further updates to some of the game’s visual effects too.

This isn’t one of Hello Games’ typically stacked updates, then, but riding sandworms in VR does sound like a heck of a lot of fun, doesn’t it? As always, this update supports PSVR and PC VR headsets too.

It’s been a busy year for No Man’s Sky with a regular rotation of significant updates. Hopefully, there’s more to come before the end of the year and we’re still holding our breath for compatibility with the upcoming PS5 VR headset, too.

Resident Evil 4 VR Review: An Incredible Way To Revisit A Classic

There are clear issues with the port and you should play the original first, but Resident Evil 4 is still a powerful experience in VR. Read on for our Resident Evil 4 VR review.

Like you, I’m sure, I was worried. Very worried, in fact. Fans are rightfully protective over Resident Evil 4 and its pristine plotting and pacing. It was difficult to imagine a VR port that didn’t muddy the game’s immaculately precise brand of action which, for many, would be nothing short of heresy.

And Resident Evil 4 VR is muddy. It can be messy and archaic, never more than a few steps away from an awkward screen transition or useless quick-time event (QTE). But it can just as often work surprisingly well, with moments of refreshed intensity and heightened horror. It’s not often you get the chance to experience something so cherished with fresh eyes. Resident Evil 4 VR doesn’t squander that opportunity.

Developer Armature has paid meticulous attention to almost every angle of the original, bringing the entire campaign over to Quest 2. Resident Evil 4 itself was something of an overhaul for the series, ditching the static-cameras and (at least partially) the tank controls of the original games, but it’s almost unrecognizable here. Gone is the defining over-the-shoulder camera, replaced with a first-person view. No longer does Leon sluggishly drag the aim cursor across the screen with all the urgency of a tortoise, enemies are instead at the mercy of your own marksmanship. No more canned reload animations and no long ladder climbing but, in-trade, you can walk and aim, there’s dual-wielding weapons, full freedom of movement and much more. The content of the game might be the same, but actually playing it is a fundamentally different experience.

Resident Evil 4 VR Review – The Facts

What is it?: A full VR port of the 2005 horror classic in which Leon Kennedy battles infected humans to save the President’s daughter.
Platforms: Oculus Quest
Release Date: October 21
Price: $39.99

This, as you can probably imagine, causes friction in some areas, and opportunities in others. But the game gives and takes in pretty much equal measure. The original Resident Evil 4 was a game of astonishingly deliberate flow; Leon couldn’t side-step, making it incredibly difficult to get out of harm’s way, switching out guns meant diving back into the inventory every few seconds, and scoring vital headshots to save on limited ammo was a really tricky affair. Any time you raised a weapon up to fight, Leon would stop dead in his tracks and you could no longer walk. It sounds a little rusty and, in truth, it is, but it’s also impeccably calculated, with no single encounter over the game’s 10 – 15 hour campaign (depending on your familiarity with it) feeling phoned in.

Now, for what it’s worth, you can play Resident Evil 4 VR with these classic controls replicated as best as possible in the settings menu and I’m sure purists will get a kick out of revisiting the game in this way. But, as strange as it is to return to the game with this newfound mobility, it’s stranger still to play a VR experience in which you can’t walk directly left or right, and the full freedom mode very much feels like the way the game is meant to be played.

So, yes, Resident Evil 4 feels fundamentally easier than it ever has. Side-stepping a Ganados as they lurch towards you becomes second nature, as does sprinting up to an enemy, pointing a rifle right in their face and then pulling the trigger before backpedaling to safety. This can be a problem. Having beaten the original game more times than I care to count, I defeated the iconic first El Gigante encounter in record time and, practically none of the game’s bosses can keep up with your increased speed. As with other versions, the hardest difficulty mode is locked when you first boot up the game and hardcore fans would probably have a better time playing on this mode first, so it’s a shame it’s not available right away.

resident evil 4 vr oculus quest

It’s easier still if you stick with the classic laser sight that lets you pull off headshots from the hip. That said, if you’re like me, you’ll get much more satisfaction out of turning that feature off and aiming down the sights. It does a much better job of helping you step into the role and, ultimately, that’s the point.

Resident Evil 4 VR might be more forgiving but that’s mainly because it does such a fantastic job of putting your whole body into the experience. In the original game, you’d need to step back from a hatch to find an angle to throw a grenade down the hole from afar. Here you can simply pull the pin, drop the grenade and delight at the fiery inferno you’ve caused below. The same goes for quickly switching between two weapons fitted to your holster to provide last-minute relief when your back’s against the wall, or using one arm to aim while another turns a handle – there are plenty of new twists that give the game’s tightly designed sequences some fresh perspective.

That freedom is at the core of Resident Evil 4 VR, and it’s also exactly why you should play the original game as intended before experiencing it on Oculus Quest. There is at least some of what made the original game tick in here, but, when all’s said and done, it’s a fundamentally different beast. Not better, not necessarily worse, just different. And I think you need to understand what the game was at first to really appreciate how it holds up in VR.

Whether you take that advice or not, there’s still plenty to enjoy here. To this day there’s nothing quite like throwing yourself into a crowd of shuffling Ganandos, frantically firing off shots left and right, tossing out a flash grenade to get yourself just a few seconds to sprint across the room, hunker down in another corner, fumble a reload and prepare for round 2. There’s an unmatched flow that proves exhilarating time and again and, even with the VR version’s faster pacing, it rarely buckles under the weight of these changes.

Resident Evil 4 VR Review – Comfort

Though free movement feels like the ‘right’ way to play Resident Evil 4 VR, you can also turn on teleport locomotion or use tunneling when moving, too. Still, this is an intense game with fast action and likely needs some acclimatization; there are moments on moving vehicles that might make you sick and the ending sequence in particular is one of the more intense moments I’ve experienced in VR. Keep that in mind before heading into the horror.

And some moments are tougher, too. The cramped confines of the early cabin shootout, in which Leon and companion Luis must hold off hordes of home invaders, is even more claustrophobic than before, with limited room to move even your arms amongst the sea of ghoulish bodies. You’ll also be either delighted or horrified to know that its scariest moments are much more frightening (I’m looking at you, maze with angry zombie dogs), though the game overall remains a very manageable level of terror.

Armature has certainly performed a small miracle getting some sense of cohesion out of this port, then. But even the might of Facebook funding can’t fully escape some of Resident Evil 4’s original 2D design. It gets incredibly bothersome to have the action constantly interrupted by the original’s cutscenes, which are displayed on a 2D screen and often break the illusion if not outright disorienting you. There’s nothing more confusing than running to the top of a ladder, watching Leon push it over on a virtual screen, and then finding yourself staring in a different direction to where you were before.

Mercifully, you can turn off most of the game’s QTEs, but some are unavoidable, which means a lot of waving your arms around to pull Leon up over ledges or backflip over lasers, and you can’t help but wonder if we’d have been better off with an abridged version that skipped these sections.

For example, there’s one moment in which Leon rides a minecart. It’s a thrilling setpiece, with a visceral sense of speed in VR. But, towards the end, the cart goes on a rapid downward spiral before vaulting over a gap and making you swing your arms to clear the chasm. You watch all of this final section on the screen. It’s a huge anticlimax that stings all the more when you see the lengths Armature’s gone to to redesign some of the game’s puzzles to fit the platform, too.

Other smaller issues make themselves known throughout. You can’t duck under trip mines despite throwing yourself to the floor, for example, and I encountered just a few glitches I’ve never seen in the original game, like sending one late-game boss running in circles as I leaned over a ladder. Enemies can shoot through what you might’ve mistaken for cover, and it’s tougher to take care of Ashley in the game’s escort missions when you often can’t see where she actually is.

Perhaps my biggest gripe beyond the cutscenes is the lack of decent spatial audio, which constantly makes you feel like an enemy is breathing down your neck when they’re in fact behind a wall a good few meters away from you. You’ll also be disappointed to learn that the game doesn’t have the bonus Mercenaries mode or additional campaigns that featured in past versions, which is a shame given all of the assets and environments they use are already up and running inside the Quest 2, though you can at least revisit the target practice minigame.

But if there is one area where the game is at least definitively better than the original versions, it’s in the visuals department. Capcom’s HD ‘remasters’ of RE4 were always underwhelming, but Armature has given the game the scrub-up it deserves with up-rezzed textures that hold up to a kind of scrutiny you could never really give them on a flat-screen. It’s especially impressive to revisit some of the original game’s most iconic sights from a new angle and, even though it’s approaching its 20th anniversary, it overall looks stunning in VR. There are some 2D textures that should really be in 3D and Ashely looks weirdly tall and incredibly small at the same time, but that’s about it.

Resident Evil 4 VR Review – Final Impressions

Resident Evil 4 VR is an incredible, if not definitive take on an all-time classic. There are a lot of rough edges to this port like the constant cutting to virtual screens, lack of spatial audio and certain combat encounters that simply don’t translate well to VR. But, for every moment of Wii-waggle boulder dodging or tarnished memories of once much more demanding boss fights, developer Armature mines gold elsewhere. Whether it’s the brilliantly redesigned puzzles, the slick satisfaction of pulling off headshots with careful aim or simply taking in this world of terror from a fresh new angle, there are a lot of reasons to relive the horror. I suspect it’s best enjoyed as a novel way to revisit one of the all-time greats than it is to approach fresh but whatever your circumstances, you’re bound to enjoy the ride. Games like The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners might be the future of VR, but Resident Evil 4 is a welcome reminder that it’s well worth looking to the past too.

For more on how we arrived at this rating, read our review guidelines. What did you make of our Resident Evil 4 VR review? Let us know in the comments below!

Resident Evil 4 VR Doesn’t Include Mercenaries Or Bonus Campaigns

Resident Evil 4 VR won’t include the bonus Mercenaries mode or additional campaigns when it launches on Oculus Quest 2 tomorrow.

We’ve beaten the game ourselves and can confirm the bonus modes aren’t available once you’ve beaten the campaign. In other versions of the game, the Mercenaries Mode lets you revisit levels from the campaign and survive for as long as possible as you hold out for high scores. You could even play as other characters like series antagonist, Albert Wesker. There were also two bonus campaigns in which players assumed the role of Ada Wong. All of these modes traditionally unlock once you’ve finished the story.

Resident Evil 4 VR Mercenaries Missing

Facebook confirmed to us that none of these modes were included in the VR version of game, though didn’t comment on if they could be added post-launch. Hopefully we’ll see them added later down the line.

Once you beat Resident Evil 4 VR, you will be able to tackle the game again on the Professional difficulty, and there’s also the target practice minigame that you can visit anytime. New Game+, meanwhile, lets you play through with your existing weapons and upgrades and you can unlock bonus items like the Infinite Launcher, too.

Despite these omissions, we think that this is a great port of Resident Evil 4 to VR, though it’s held back by some of its original design. You can read our full review right here.

What do you make of Resident Evil 4 VR missing the Mercenaries mode and bonus campaigns? Let us know in the comments below.

Facebook Responds To Changes To Sexist Sequences In Resident Evil 4 VR

Facebook says it worked with Capcom and developer Armature to implement some changes to the upcoming VR version of Resident Evil 4 that update it “for a modern audience”.

Earlier this month reports surfaced that the new version of the game, which launches tomorrow, made dialogue and animation changes, specifically to the character of Ashley Graham, the President’s daughter. Protagonist Leon Kennedy is sent to rescue Graham when she’s captured by an unknown group, and players spend much of the game protecting her as they escort her to safety. Leon is also aided by Ingrid Hannigan, a government agent that provides support over comms.

Having played through Resident Evil 4 VR, we can confirm there are changes made to Leon’s interactions with both characters. This includes the removal of some dialogue. For example, in your first call with Hannigan, Leon originally says: “Somehow I thought you would be a little older.” Now the call cuts straight to the next line. In another scene later on, another character named Luis comments on Ashley’s appearance, noting that “the President has equipped his daughter with ballistics, too” as the camera focuses on her chest. This moment from that scene has been removed too, and there are other similar changes throughout.

There are also dialogue changes in-game. In older versions, if a player aimed a weapon under Ashley’s skirt, she’d pull her skirt over her knees and call for Leon to stop. That dialogue has been removed, though the animation remains.

A Facebook spokesperson issued the following statement about changes to the game: “Oculus Studios, Armature, and CAPCOM partnered closely to remaster Resident Evil 4 from the ground up for VR. This includes immersive environments and high-resolution graphics. It also includes select changes to in-game dialogue and animations that we believe will update Resident Evil 4 for a modern audience.”

The actual gameplay content of Resident Evil 4, however, is otherwise unchanged. We thought this was a great port of an all-time classic, and you can read our full review right here.

Varjo Teases ‘Varjo For All’ Message Ahead Of New Reveal

Ahead of an announcement this Thursday, high-end headset maker Varjo is teasing the message ‘Varjo For All’.

That phrase was hidden in a teaser video the company posted on its Twitter account this week. Reddit user r448191 spotted the message (thanks to Max Larsson for the tip) amongst a stream of jumbled letters, and we’ve since found it too. It’s at the 00:06:01 mark if you want to see for yourself.

Varjo For All

Traditionally, Varjo has made high-spec headsets that push the boundaries of resolution and mixed reality integration but are high cost come with mandatory, expensive subscription software for the B2B market. Is it possible that this tease indicates Varjo is releasing a new device that isn’t just sold to businesses? Last week the company confirmed it would be announcing a “highly anticipated product” at the reveal event.

It would definitely be interesting to see Varjo enter the consumer market to potentially compete with the likes of the HTC Vive Pro 2 and HP Reverb G2, though how much could the company realistically price its own consumer device at? What would have to change from its VR-3 and XR-3 products, and what kind of PC would a consumer have to have to run the kit?

We’ll have to wait until Thursday to find out. The Varjo reveal event is taking place at 12pm ET/9am PT and we’ll be here to report on whatever the company has to announce. For now let us know what you’re hoping to see from Varjo’s announcement later this week!

Steam Deck Lists All VR Games As ‘Unsupported’, But You Can Still Try Them

Valve’s upcoming Steam Deck handheld console will automatically list every SteamVR game as ‘Unsupported’, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give them a try.

That news surfaced as Valve introduced its ‘Deck Verified‘ system for the device today. Deck Verfieid includes four labels designed to instantly tell you if a game works well on Steam Deck or not. The Verified label, for example, confirms that the game will run great on Steam Deck with no hassle. Playable, meanwhile, is for games that can definitely run on the system but may need some extra configuration like using the console’s on-screen keyboard. There’s also Unknown for games that simply haven’t had their compatibility checked yet.

The final category is Unsupported, which means that the game is simply not designed to run on the device. As the video above makes clear, every VR game in the Steam library will be given this rating (unless, of course, VR support is optional). All the graphics for Deck Verified include Valve’s own Half-Life: Alyx as a staple example of a VR game that will display this label.

But Unsupported doesn’t mean you can’t at least try to run a VR game on Steam Deck. Valve has noted on multiple occasions that it won’t stop owners doing what they want with the device, meaning they’re free to try and plug in a PC VR headset and run SteamVR games, the company itself just can’t guarantee you’ll have anything like a good experience with it. Indeed, we’ve already seen developers like Cloudhead Games get their titles technically ‘running’ on Steam Deck, but not without significant issues.

You absolutely shouldn’t be considering a Steam Deck as a portable VR device, then, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see some fun experiments. And, besides, Valve has already clearly hinted that it’s considering a possible standalone VR headset of its own to run SteamVR titles, and there have been some reports that may have shed light on those potential plans. Perhaps we could one day see a version of Deck Verified that helps guide users to the best VR experiences on that hypothetical headset.

Voices of Inspiration Is A New Oculus Quest Experience From Lucas Rizzotto, SpaceX And St. Jude Hospital

A new VR experience features patients at St. Jude Hospital offering up words of encouragement to the crew of the Inspiration4 SpaceX mission.

Voices of Inspiration launches today on Oculus Quest via App Lab and was created by Z3VR and Lucas Rizzotto. If you’ve experienced Rizzotto’s past VR work, namely Where Thoughts Go, then this will likely look quite familiar to you. Check it out in the trailer below.

The experience sees players ascend to the stars to explore a seires of themed environments. As you explore, you’ll encounter questions posed by the astronauts of Inspiration4, the first all-civilian space flight crew. They ask for words of advice and encouragement from St. Jude patients that are in various stages of battling cancer. Touching orbs lets you hear what the patients had to say, which is the element you’ll likely recognize from Where Thoughts Go. Artwork for the patients can also be found inside the experience.

It’s another great example of the positive impact VR can make that we’ve seen this week. Earlier today we also reported that Help for Haiti was also turning to the platform for its latest fundraising event.

Are you going to check out Voices of Inspiration? Let us know in the comments below!

VR Dungeon Crawler Ancient Dungeon Gets Early Access SteamVR, App Lab Release Next Month

Promising VR dungeon crawler, Ancient Dungeon, is finally ready to release its early access version next month.

The retro-inspired title, solo developed by Eric Thullen, hits SteamVR and Oculus App Lab on November 3. The beta version of the app was already on App Lab but this marks its first official release on Steam. We’ve had our eye on this one for a while thanks to its hefty combat, which sees you take a sword to blocky versions of zombies and other ghoulish enemies, as well as its interactive world.

Ancient Dungeon Gameplay

In the game, you tackle randomly generated dungeons in the quest to reach the mysterious Grand Library. The early access version is set to include five floors of the dungeon with bosses and enemies unique to each area. You’ll also be able to collect different powerups to build up your character during a run and there are permanent upgrades too.

Thullen hopes to release the full version of the game around June 2022. Over the course of early access, the developer plans to add more dungeons and bosses a leaderboard system and a harder difficulty mode too.

Are you going to be picking up the early access version of Ancient Dungeon next month? Let us know in the comments below!

Hope For Haiti Hosts Virtual Fundraising Event In VR This Week

Hope For Haiti is turning to VR for its latest fundraising event.

This Wednesday, October 20, the charity will host a live event on both YouTube and inside a VR app with a unique spin. Built with the help of VR production studio FXG, the app allows visitors to explore a virtual version of one of the charity’s partner schools based in a rural area of the country. Get a look at the experience below.

Inside VR you’ll be able to walk around and interact with different elements as well as meet other attendees. You can see different experiences like raising a flag in the trailer, and the piece will let you go beyond the school to explore wildlife too. There will also be a live presentation from CEO, Skyler Badenoch, and an NFT art gallery based on the theme of ‘Empowering the Next Generation of Haiti’s Leaders’ with works being auctioned off live as well.

The event will look to raise money in light of the recent earthquake that struck the southern region of the country.

Hope for Haiti event

Once the live portion is over, anyone will be able to download the app and explore for themselves. We’ve seen plenty of charities turn to VR to help raise awareness of their cause, but Hope for Haiti is one of the first to build a fully interactive virtual environment.

You can make a donation to the cause over on Eventbrite, though this won’t guarantee a spot in the event itself as space is limited. Hopeful attendees will be granted access “based on their intent to support the organization”, though subsequent events may follow too. The event takes place at 6pm PT/9pm ET.