Well, if you have made it this far in our little comedy of errors I personally thank you. Through all the trials that this project has thrown at me over the course of a week (that really did feel like years). Here is my review of the Oculus Rift.
For the most part, and once I got the right hardware and OS. Everything went quite smoothly. I was happy with how well the setup software was designed to be user friendly. I do have to say there is a piece of software that is third party that I had to run to get the guardian system (the wire frame cube that lets you know when you are about to step out of the safe zone) to show a square perimeter, as opposed to the squiggly line that a Parkinson patient would draw, or that I made no matter how many times I redrew it. I do hope that future iterations of the setup software will include that feature, I think it would go a long way to making the whole experience more enjoyable for the end user.
The hardware feels good, when I was wearing the headset I never felt my neck getting strained, but at the same time I didn’t feel like when I held the headset or the controllers in my hand I could break them (and having smashed the touch controllers into the wall once or twice I can attest to their durability). The touch controllers felt natural in my hands, all of the movements and motions that I executed for the games I was playing truly felt like an extension of my own hand, as opposed to holding a controller and translating my movements into a series of button-strokes.
So lets talk about software itself, I picked up the whole thing over the summer when it was on sale, and as such, I got a handful of titles to play around with. The three that stood out the most in my mind, and as I write this review are Robo Recall, Dead and Buried and, last (but certainly not least) Oculus First Contact.
The First Contact program/game/demo is probably the most useful (and to some degree entertaining if you have older adults in the home). The whole thing is designed to get you used to how to move, and what kind of hand movements you can pull off in VR. My mother had decided to swing by our apartment and we had her play the First Contact, I believe that LadyDrake and myself had as much fun watching her and listening to her commentary as she did interacting with the little robot. Quite a good time, and maybe someday I will upload the video that we took.
The other two are pretty decent shooters with slightly different flavors. Dead and Buried puts you in a zombie-polypse style old west where you can pick what you want to do, whether it be a heist, stand off, showdown, or the good old shooting range. There is a simplified leveling system that keeps it entertaining enough that I wanted to join the next match and see where things took me. Robo Rally drops you right in the center of a robotic uprising as ‘Agent 34’ and you have one job, follow the instructions in your head (but most of the time they tell you to blow up robots, so its all good). The aspect of Robo Rally that really stood out to me was the shear viscerality of it all. I could empty my clip into the advancing automata, throw my empty handgun at them, then teleport behind them and rip their arms off and start dual wielding robot arms as some form of primitive Kali. Needless to say, that game quickly became my go-to for stress relief after a crappy day.
Right now my biggest complaint with the whole system is the software that is available. Unfortunately this problem is nothing new when you start dealing with new technology. Developers are consistently trying to figure out how they want to incorporate it into their narratives and how they can best implement it to the greatest effect. There were a couple rhythm games that I picked up that are