Five games to look out for on the ‘Oculus Rift’

Brian O'Kelly

The release of the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift signifies a big technological shift in gaming. The headset features a high-resolution screen and positional tracking that helps players feel as if they are inside a game rather then looking at a screen. Upon releasing on March 28, the “Oculus Rift” will have 30 launch titles accompanying it. Here are five games to check out:

“The Vanishing of Ethan Carter”

“The Vanishing of Ethan Carter,” originally released in late 2014, is a narrative experience that relies on environmental storytelling above all other forms of gameplay. Thrown into a dark mystery, the player takes control of Paul Prospero who finds himself searching for a missing child in rural Wisconsin. The game heavily depends on a first-person view to make the players experience the narrative. The players’ ability to project themselves onto the protagonist plays an unusually vital role, with narrative elements drawing emotional power from how immersive the world can feel. Virtual reality integrates the player more closely with the gorgeous scenery and allows players to experience a highly personal story.

“Dreadhalls”

Viewers bored of watching supernatural monsters slaughter others can now revitalize their addiction to adrenaline and trauma by personally taking on the role of the slaughtered. “Dreadhalls” seeks to bring this take on horror to VR, with the player taking control of a nameless protagonist who awakes in a dungeon filled with atrocities. On top of this, the player must solve puzzles while figuring out how to escape. The game features little more than jumpscares and scary noises, but it is the first official horror release for the “Oculus Rift” and will serve as a measure for how truly immersive sounds and visuals can elevate the horror genre.

“Chronos”

Unlike most of the Oculus’ launch titles, “Chronos” doesn’t feel designed for VR. It features a dark fantasy tale which draws gameplay inspiration from the famously difficult “Dark Souls” series. The player is set to explore a labyrinth that only opens once a year. Each time the player falls in battle, the character must wait a full year before attempting the dungeon again. As the character ages, he grows weaker and is forced to rely on their increasing familiarity with the labyrinth. Because “Chronos” follows a formula that has been wildly successful on all platforms, it’s peculiar that the game was released for VR. But “Chronos” includes presence to the game, merging the player’s imagination and the developer’s world.

“Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes”

A party game for the whole family, “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes” takes bomb disposal and turns it into a comically complex game. A player wearing the VR headset will be thrown into scenarios in which they must diffuse bombs of increasing complexity and ridiculousness, while a player in the real world is given a physical manual to guide the other player in disarming the bomb. The game’s concept is not only unique but also makes great use of the VR peripheral’s ability to dichotomize players to have different experiences within a single title.

“EVE: Valkyrie”

“Valkryie” is a realization of a child’s fantasies after watching a “Star Wars” movie. The game is a complex, fast-paced space dogfighter developed with virtual reality specifically in mind. The game uses the Oculus to place the player in a cockpit before freeing the player into the great void to challenge others. The game features little depth beyond its competitive dogfights but seems to be a perfect companion to the Oculus Rift’s unique feature of highly immersive first person visuals.