Rez Infinite review

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It feels like somewhat of a bad omen – or at least some kind of cruel joke – to see a new piece of technology launch with an updated version of a game that first released on the ill-fated Dreamcast  – in a starring role no less. However, the dark clouds part the moment you hit the Touchpad button to activate VR Mode and become one with Rez. This has always been a game that is best enjoyed bright, loud and isolated – optimal conditions that are easier than ever to achieve once you are strapped into a VR headset. And yes, it’s as glorious as ever.

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For the main game – presented here in fully remastered form with all the old unlockables and options intact behind the enhanced presentation – VR comes in two flavours, a more sedate option where aiming is still primarily done with the controller and a more intense mode with full head tracking for aiming. The latter is something of a double-edged sword, the closer viewpoint requiring much more looking around in order to catch all enemies, projectiles and pickups in time but the quicker aiming making clearing up larger groups much smoother and simpler than before.

While this increased immersion is undeniably amazing, there are points where game design simply hasn’t been updated to fully accommodate the new freedom of vision – the camera sometimes snaps awkwardly to a different direction, which can be jarring, while brief cutscenes like those common in Area 5 and the final encounter with Eden tend to come with camera cuts that can be uncomfortable to watch. Similarly, the transitions between areas – particularly the more vigorous ones – and some of the quicker movement like in the Area 4 boss battle could trigger motion sickness in affected players. All the same, diving headfirst into the supercomputer is stunning despite these minor faults, and that only improves when you launch into the all-new Area X.

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Created specifically for Infinite, Area X feels like what Rez would be like if it launched today. Overhauled visuals are far more complex and particle effects are everywhere, with players even granted control over movements speed and direction in order to soar around beautiful new arenas. As with the core game, the sense of escalation is incredible, more complex enemy types and audio stings layering on intensity from all sides as you soar towards your destination. Area X is the clear centrepiece of the VR Rez experience, a mode evidently constructed with VR in mind rather than updated to simply support it, and right now, there’s a solid argument to be made for this being the quintessential PSVR experience. If we were to pick a classic game to launch alongside Sony’s VR gambit, we don’t think we’d be able to settle on a better fit than Rez.

9
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