I Got to Settle a Frontier Town Full of Dinosaurs (in VR)
I've always wanted to try PlayStation VR, but seeing as the headset, controllers and camera cost more than the PlayStation 4 system they're played on, I've had to take a hard pass on it.
That's why I was so excited to find out that PlayStation was offering virtual reality demos at E3 this week. While time slots to test the games booked up almost the second they became available, I did manage to snag one test run for the captivating game Dino Frontier, and loved every second of it.
Dino Frontier is a bit like Sim City, except it takes place on the wild frontier, it's full of dinosaurs, and the gameplay consists of observing your surroundings and manipulating the world with two massive gloved hands. You're the omniscient, giant mayor of a town, overseeing and adjusting the actions of its people to create the best darn town in the west.
(via Uber Entertainment)
I got to play for about 15 minutes, and while it took me a moment to get a feel for the PlayStation VR controls, I had a lot of fun in the process. Some of the game was controlled by my gaze, and I could look at a logo or menu to bring up the option to interact. At first, I struggled a little bit with finding the correct buttons placed around the two rod-like controllers, but soon I was zipping around like a pro.
The game began with just a small big of the map visible in the distance. Using the controllers to grab at the map, I moved it closer and closer before grabbing the map with both hands and pulling them apart to zoom in.
It appeared that a triceratops pulling a covered wagon had died. My first action was to grab my nearby settler and place her over the dinosaur, whose only choice was to harvest the dinosaur's meat for sustenance. Next, I moved the settler to the wagon, which she chopped up for lumber. We had no option but for her to settle here.
From here, I accessed a special menu to build a lumberyard as well as a food warehouse. The game gave me a giant hammer to wield in my big onscreen hands build these structures up from the ground. Meanwhile, my settler did her own thing, chopping trees to gather wood and fighting small dinosaurs for their meat.
Your settlers will also need a break from going out and gathering materials to heading home and refining them. They don't want to eat raw meat, and logs are useless until they're honed into workable lumber.
Over time, more options became available as I leveled up. Soon I had two settlers, working in tandem to build out the town. I learned that I could rotate my left wrist to see a watch listing my in-game objectives, or lift up a settler in my right hand and hold them up in my palm to see their stats. This became particularly useful for when I was given a choice of three new settlers to introduce to my world. Eventually I picked one with a good mix of strength and luck.
Buildings can also get upgrades, like the lumberyard's giant watering can, which can revive stumps into trees to chop down yet again. And once my settlers had collected the resources needed to craft a saloon, the world expanded further, revealing more dinos and even more to interact with.
Of course, your little settlers can't just work forever. Eventually, they'll get hungry or even injured, and you'll need to bring them back to town to the appropriate locations to satisfy their needs. At one point, my settler was hurt by wild dinosaurs, but I was still a few steps away from crafting a hospital, and I lost her.
But one of the game's most exciting features, which I didn't actually get to test myself, was the ability to tame dinos from the wild. I've seen stills and clips from the game with settlers riding the dinosaurs, and I'm totally jealous.
(via Uber Entertainment)
Overall, I'd say my first adventure with PlayStation VR was a big success. It's seriously fun to be immersed in a virtual reality world, and I would love to get my hands on the game again for more time with it. I need to get me one of those rideable raptors!
It's releasing late this summer for fans lucky enough to have a Playstation VR set at home, so if you do, definitely stay tuned.
Love building your own world within games? Click HERE to read what we thought of the upcoming Harvest Moon title, Light of Hope.