Happy Weekend TAY!
I ended up finishing the campaign in The Persistence for PSVR last week and I was surprised how hooked I was on this game, even though it wasn’t one of my favourite VR experiences.
The game has just the right amount of “persistence” to the changes you make in the world that it avoids the mindless repetition often found in other roguelikes. It also has a fun story that was well acted with smart dialogue and this helped fill the game with purpose and direction.
The developers cleverly work your repeated deaths and numerous respawns into the story and this integration makes the game flow better than most of my experiences with other roguelikes. Usually, modern roguelikes require the user to suspend disbelief to get around the awkward or unexplained character resurrections that are necessary for the genre. This often results in an arcadey vibe to the game and little attachment to your character. The Persistence avoids this trap and is a well-polished experience that feels more like a full-fledged game with roguelike elements. I care about who I am as a character in The Persistence, even when that essence is in another shell.
The Persistence takes a ton of inspiration from games such as System Shock 2 and any fan of stealth-horror games should feel right at home...and that’s maybe a little bit of the problem. It just doesn’t play like a revolutionary VR experience and could easily be sold as a standard game.
Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, I want to see all games in VR because it offers a richer experience from the 3D alone, but The Persistence could easily be a “flat” game with the little it utilizes the VR hardware.
There are some cool VR touches like aiming with your head (which works exceptionally well) and the immersion of VR adds to the claustrophobia of the zombie-infested spaceship when combined with the headphone’s positional audio.
Unfortunately, the visual 3D effects seem muted and it wasn’t popping like other VR titles. Also, playing with a DualShock controller in VR after using Move Controllers seems like a step backwards. Given the game’s heavy focus on melee combat, it feels like a big opportunity was missed for motion-controlled combat similar to Skyrim VR.
However, as The Persistence behaves more like a traditional video game, this meant that I could also play while seated and my feet thanked me for it. I didn’t feel the need to use the full body-tracking since it wasn’t necessary to lean in the game and, as I was using the DualShock, I wasn’t flailing my arms around either. There just wasn’t any reason to play standing, which doesn’t hurt the game itself, but I felt like I wasn’t utilizing the power of the VR hardware to its full potential.
Thankfully, as a video game, The Persistence delivered. It was a well-designed experience and I enjoyed the story with its creepy System Shock/Dead Space-vibe. I kept wanting more and the game kept up by delivering new surprises at every turn. I was impressed by how long it took me to get through the five decks of the starship and how many challenges the game provided. It is dark, scary, smart, and tough...just what I want from my video games.
Hopefully this weekend I’ll be able to get in some Rock Band with the family, but I’ve got summer chores still to do before the winter arrives. I’m also about to fire up Far Cry 5, now that I’ve finished with The Persistence, and I’m very excited about that one.
So, what are you playing this weekend?
[Gameplay sample from The Persistence, no story content.]