Loads of fun games, but where’s the killer app?
Speaking of games, Oculus has done a fine job in ensuring there are plenty of Touch-friendly titles to play at launch. There will be 53 games or experiences available on the Oculus store tomorrow, a handful of which are free for Touch owners.
These include a lovely little experience called First Contact, which is designed to familiarise you with Touch by hanging out with a Wall-E like robot in the back of a Winnebago.
It’s not quite up there with Valve’s Aperture Robot Repair, but as you pop NES-like cartridges into old sci-fi kit, let off rockets and fire sticky darts all over the place it’s impossible not to be sold on the experience, which is so much more thorough now that you’re interacting with the world with your hands.
Dead and Buried, a first-person Wild West shootout game that turns you into the cowboy you always wanted to be, also comes bundled for free. Ok, these characters are undead, so perhaps not exactly the cowboy you always wanted to be, but you get the idea.
The goals and controls for Dead and Buried really don’t need to be explained - you point the guns in your hands at your enemies and you pull the trigger until they’re dead - but Touch allows you to move around the playspace, duck behind cover and peek around corners to fire off a sneaky shot. It’s awesome fun, and the multiplayer support gives it a great chance than many VR games of keeping you entertained for more than half an hour.
Unfortunately, many of the other launch games aren’t yet available for us to test, which is why we’re calling this a ‘review in progress’ rather than a final, finished review. That said, unless something takes us massively by surprise, it seems very much as though the line-up does not include that one killer game or experience that VR as a whole is still badly crying out for.
It’s also worth pointing out that the majority of the Oculus Touch games are also available on Steam VR, and therefore playable via Vive.
Oculus Touch verdict
It’s this lack of must-buy games that prevents Oculus Touch, like HTC Vive and PlayStation VR, from getting a full-fat five-star rating.
Sure, there are a number of experiences that you really should try if you get any chance at all, but should you spend RM4500ish (plus, potentially, RM6000ish on a computer) for these? Only if you’ve got so much money that you won’t feel aggrieved when they don’t keep you occupied beyond that first month.
As for whether Oculus Touch puts the Rift on a level with HTC Vive? It certainly gets it close, but Vive still feels the more advanced, next-gen device.
Room-scale VR enables truly extraordinary experiences, and the Rift’s sensors aren’t quite as well suited to a room-scale setup - whether that’s in the fact that they have to be wired to your PC and can’t be wall-mounted, or in the slightly more restricted field of view that they seem to offer.
Perhaps you don’t have the inclination or space for room-scale, or maybe you plan to do most of your VR-ing from your desk with only occasional standing experiences chucked in. If that’s the case, Rift could be the more sensible choice for you. The fuss-free nature of the sensors-to-the-front setup and the fact that you can play games via Oculus Home and Steam are certainly strings to the Rift’s bow.
Truth is, the sensible choice is not to buy either at this point, but instead to wait for one of them to get that incredible game or experience that you simply can’t live without.
If we find that hiding in the Touch launch line-up in the next few days we’ll update this review. If you can’t wait for that and you’re in the mood to follow your heart into an expensive purchase, Vive still probably wins out.
But only just.