ADR1FT Hands-On Preview – Floating Above the Rest

We check out the latest build of the game.

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I’ve been skeptical of Virtual Reality since it was first announced, or rather, brought back, a few years ago. I still have The Lawnmower Man firmly etched into my mind, and my first experience with an Oculus Rift at a Comic Con did nothing to dissuade my opinion on the technology.

Then earlier this year I got to try out ADR1FT. This was the singular title that convinced me that VR is a viable technology for playing games. While I still had to wear a contraption on my head, I controlled the game with a controller and not with my hands, which is something that made it an actual game and not just a Wii-esque gimmick. The entire experience I had with ADR1FT was impressive, which made me put the game on my personal radar.

You can imagine my delight when I was invited to a 505 Games event in NYC last week and saw that one of the games they had to show off was the latest build of ADR1FT. I was eager to see what new changes were implemented into the game since the last time I saw it, and how I felt about it after all this time. I can tell you right now that my respect for this game hasn’t diminished in any sort of way.

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This demo took place in a different part of the station. Just like before, my surroundings were in shambles, with space station debris floating everywhere within the zero gravity environment. This portion of the game had different types of colors; a far cry from the white walls and hallways from the previous demo. There were dark blues and reds in this part of the station which I believe housed the station’s main generators, so it naturally had a different color palette than the living quarters I experienced before.

Like before, I left the station to go out into open space. This is my favorite part of the game because you see the Earth directly under you (or above you, this is space afterall). This is an experience I’ll never have, so getting to do this in a virtual reality setting is the closest I’ll ever get to floating over the Earth and seeing its awe inspiring beauty laid out before my eyes in such a way. The whole game could have been this and I would be satisfied, to be honest. It’s something that needs to be seen to be experienced (as I’m sure actual astronauts can attest to).

The biggest difference from this build is that you no longer hear your character breathing as loudly as before. In the game, you are constantly losing oxygen from your suit. Though you can find repair stations that will give you more oxygen, you are always in danger of suffocating to death. Previously, the player character breathed in an out constantly (and loudly). While this was unsettling to some of us who played the game, I found it a good indicator of when I needed to go find a floating oxygen mask. Now that the breathing isn’t as loud, I ended up running out of oxygen a few times since I thought everything was fine. Hopefully there will be an option to make the breathing more prominent in the final game.

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Truth be told, this build of the game didn’t have too many major changes from before but that’s fine since the game is solid even in its unfinished state. Like I said before, ADR1FT is a prime example of how to do Virtual Reality games right–and along with Time Machine–that proves VR and gaming can work perfectly together. With it being an Oculus Rift launch title, ADR1FT should function as a gateway for those who are still skeptical about VR. Even outside of that, this game will be fully playable without the VR helmet and should still provide players with a unique, awe-inspiring, and even fear inducing experience.

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Tony Polanco Executive Editor
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