Like just almost every other game on the Steam VR market currently, Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope is an ‘Early Access’ title. It’s being published by the good people at Devolver Digital which means that like many of the other games they have published we were kindly given a copy to try out here at the Pixel Pop office.
I’m old enough to remember when games made the transition from 2d to 3d. I bought a 3DFX Voodoo 1 with 4MB of RAM on it to play Hexen II in 800×600 OpenGL. I remember those early days when every game was in 3D, whether it needed to be or not. It was a proving grounds if you will. A lot of what came out was rubbish or didn’t work properly as developers played with the new technology to find out what worked, what didn’t and exactly how far they could push things. Much like when a new video game console is released and you have to wait a few years to see the really good games.
Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope, along with a handful of other titles, is leading the crowd in the VR market currently. Where most games use cell shading or simpler graphics (understandably as the Vive is two screens both running at 1080 x 1200 @ 90Hz), Serious Sam is pushing things to the limits with high-fidelity visuals that you would expect to see in any current generation first-person shooter. As a result there have been a few comments in the forums that the game can be pretty taxing on systems, but appears to be improving with patches. We had no problems running the game on full detail at full speed on our rig – Intel Core i7 6700k @4Ghz, 32GB DDR4, Nvidia 1070GTX.
Unlike other Serious Sam titles that have you rushing around the map killing hundreds, if not thousands of enemies, Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope has you playing ‘John J. Dick’ in a stationary position. Much like the arcade shooters back in the 90’s where you’d have a gun to shoot the screen with, this game simply brings you one step closer and puts you inside the game and supplies you with an expanded arsenal.
There are currently two missions available in this early version each with several levels or scenes. In each scene you’ll have to face off against hordes of creatures rushing towards you, and while most of this is reflex and accuracy a degree of strategy creeps into the game when certain waves of enemies can be cleared more effectively with a weapon change. Indeed to defeat the game on harder difficulties you’ll need to memorize attack waves and know precisely when to change to the correct weapon. Boss fights can also be found at various points and these too require more than just shooting skills, knowing when to shoot, when to dodge and when to look out for that nasty giant scorpion sneaking up on you are essential.
Currently Serious Sam VR: The Last hope is $39.99 USD (~$53.85 AUD) and despite showing an enormous amount of promise it’s a little hard for me to say ‘buy now’ considering the game is early access. I have absolutely no doubt though that the full game will be worth the ticket price when it’s completed. Having said that, if you want a title to show off your new HTC Vive to friends and family this is the game to do it. And that’s exactly what we did with it here at the office, everyone had a turn and everyone was amazed, it’s definitely an experience to be had.
I dare anyone to play this and not say WOW!