It may seem like a long time ago but there was a time when multiplayer gaming purely meant having to physically go to an arcade or pop to a mate’s, especially when it came to dungeon crawling with a team of fantasy warriors. Nowadays, board gaming might still be alive and strong but there are plenty more options if you’re separated by hours of travelling (or a pandemic). In the field of virtual reality, Resolution Games has become somewhat of an expert, with all its most recent projects providing a multiplayer party vibe. Its latest is no different, yet it embraces those old board gaming sensibilities in Demeo.
Unlike a lot of VR party videogames, Demeo isn’t concerned with creating a ruckus, getting the blood pumping, or having players scream at each other to complete a task. What you have here is slow, methodical gaming, where you work as a team to overcome challenges and opponents with one focused goal, to fight through a monster-filled dungeon and defeat the boss at the end.
If you have ever played any sort of role-playing game (RPG), digital or otherwise, Demeo’s setup is about as standard as you could imagine. There are four character classes to choose from, each with its own traits so it’s always wise to have one of each if you’re playing a full roster of four people. You don’t need four as you can dive right in with you and one other mate, however, like any game of this ilk the more definitely is the merrier. From general friendly banter to working out a proper strategy, Demeo really comes alive when several mates are involved.
As for those characters, there’s an assassin who’s good at sneaking around, laying traps, and getting in close for some extra backstabbing damage. Also in the close-range camp is the Knight, with a big swinging blade for some major damage. This class also happens to be the only one with armour, great for leading from the front. If you prefer a little distance between you and whatever nasty creature happens to appear then the sorcerer has plenty of area-of-effect (AOE) attacks whilst the ranger has a trusty bow for the farthest reach. As mentioned, all quite standard when it comes to RPG gaming.
Dungeons are procedurally generated in Demeo, so their layouts and enemy locations always change for each run-through, the only consistency is that each dungeon contains three levels. The overall design and feel remain the same however, a drab selection of bricks and dour colours which you’d kind of expect. This being a VR title there’s more than just a static tabletop to look at, as Resolution Games has gone with a classic D&D gaming theme, hosting Demeo inside a virtual basement. It’s not something you appreciate right away until you’re a few turns in as players are getting into position and then you notice the attention to the background detail.
You’d be forgiven for ignoring the background though, as there’s plenty to keep your attention table side. You’ve got full control over how you view the action, freely able to spin the tabletop around, resize it for a lofty god-like viewpoint or get right in there and step into the dungeon – there’s some lovely model work to admire. You can even adjust the viewing angle should you so desire. And each player can do this independently, which means there are points in the game everyone’s avatar – made up of heads and hands – will be a variety of sizes as they adjust for each situation.
When it comes to your turn you have two action points that can be used for exploration or fighting. Each character has a set number of squares they can move, so teams can decide how methodical they want to be. Stepping onto a door can open the floodgates with a wave of enemies suddenly appearing, whilst others may appear from a flanking location. As you do with a physical board game you can pick up your character, move them to an open spot or drop them right on an enemy. All attacks are decided by a roll of the die, with three outcomes, a standard hit, a critical hit (for extra damage), or a miss. The latter also adds a random chance for you to hit a teammate which is never good – you almost feel guilty for doing it even though it was a random roll of the die.
Those are just your basic moves though, Demeo really comes into its own once you start to use all the magic cards. There are over 60, with some specific to each character, some are single-use whilst others recharge each turn. For example, the ranger can use two bow shots each turn whilst the knight can recharge their armour for an action point. The powerful spells use a chunk of mana that’s shared between the entire group. Hence where that teamwork becomes even more important, use all that mana on a shit move and suddenly there’s none for everyone else – until it’s replenished of course.
Thus, you have all these little strategic elements adding layer after layer of complexity to Demeo. There’s no difficulty per se, it all depends on the random enemy encounters, so a run could take 30 minutes, or you could be there an hour trying to wade through the hordes. It’s thoroughly engrossing and even after several dungeons didn’t feel repetitive, always offering something new to try.
A worry with any type of multiplayer-oriented videogame like Demeo is what happens if there’s no one else to join? Thankfully, Demeo does include a single-player skirmish mode where you take three characters into a dungeon. Admittedly you do lose that ambiance and energy that only playing with friends can bring but it does add a lot of value to Demeo. You can experiment with different characters, learn about the various spells and enemy specialties so you’re all clued up ready for the next online session. Or there’s always the quick match option to just jump in with some like-minded players and see if you can beat the boss.
Having just one boss to fight at the end does sound a little light which would be a concern to the longevity of Demeo. But Resolution Games has already confirmed the next expansion module, Realm of the Rat King for this summer. While that doesn’t affect this overall review, at least you know more content is on the way.
Demeo continues Resolution Games’ run of well-crafted VR titles, moving away from the frantic gameplay of Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale and Blaston into a far more laidback experience. As Demeo is entirely tabletop-based there are no comfort issues to worry about (best played seated), plus as you complete runs you level up and unlock new customisation options, encouraging repeat gameplay. Its slower style isn’t for everyone yet as an example of D&D in VR, Demeo excels.
Major ‘Waltz of the Wizard: Natural Magic’ Expansion Will Launch on July 6th
Waltz of the Wizard is set to see a major free expansion called ‘Natural Magic’ which will add a new “simulated magic” system to expand player capabilities alongside a dungeon for players to plunder and battle new enemies.
Waltz of the Wizard is a long-running VR title that’s been in continuous development by developer Aldin for years now. What started as a sort of VR sampler platter is evolving with a larger magic-based sandbox and a brand new dungeon for players to conquer. This is all coming in the free ‘Natural Magic’ update that’s now set for a July 6th release date.
While the current version of Waltz of the Wizard lets players experiment with various magical abilities, potions, and more, ‘Natural Magic’ is promising to expand the game with a “unique simulated magic system with intuitive controls and temporary power-ups that change how it works.”
Beyond the expanded magic system, there’s a large courtyard for players to experiment in, along with a fortress with enemies that players can take on once they’ve learned the ins and outs of their abilities. Inside the fortress, developer Aldin says players will be able to find artifacts that tell a story, and on the whole, the studio says the expansion adds “hours of entertainment” to the game.
The expansion will be free for players who already own the game (currently $10), though the studio says the base price will increase around the launch of the expansion. Waltz of the Wizard: Natural Magic is set for a July 6th release date on Quest, Rift, SteamVR.
Vertigo Games Shares a Triple VR Update for E3 2021
This weekend was filled with virtual reality (VR) updates as part of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2021 this week, with the likes of A Township Tale coming to Oculus Quest and NERF getting its own VR shooter. Some studio had more than others to share with Vertigo Games making three announcements for After the Fall, Unplugged and Traffic Jams.
After the Fall is Vertigo Games’ next major in-house project, originally revealed back in 2019. A co-op first-person shooter (FPS) set in a frozen LA wasteland, for the E3 2021 announcement the studio released new gameplay footage combined with some of the videogames’ developers discussing the project.
One of the core features the team wanted to get right was the cross-platform gameplay, so it doesn’t matter if you’re on an Oculus Quest, PlayStation VR or PC VR headset, the gameplay remains the same even when the graphics have to be adjusted depending on the platform. Still no release date though, with a summer 2021 window still in place.
Next up is Unplugged by indie team Anotherway, which is being published by Vertigo Games. A rhythm action title which evokes those classic air guitar moves, Unplugged utilises the hand tracking on Oculus Quest and PC VR headsets. This weekend’s announcement saw the reveal of a new track “The Kids Aren’t Alright” by The Offspring as well as features like mini-games and crowd interactions. Unplugged is expected to launch Fall 2021.
Finally there’s some Traffic Jams news. The quirky VR title where you have to manage evermore insane amounts of vehicles, pedestrians and catastrophic events originally launched for Oculus Quest and PC VR headsets in April. Soon it’ll be the turn of PlayStation VR. Created by Little Chicken Game Company, Traffic Jams arrives for PlayStation VR on 26th August 2021, with its solo campaign as well as the asymmetrical multiplayer.
Check out all the new footage below and for further updates from Vertigo Games and E3 2021, keep reading VRFocus.
Team up With the Autobots in AR Game Transformers: Heavy Metal in 2021
Niantic Labs is used to bringing big name IP’s like Pokemon and Harry Potter into augmented reality (AR) and today it’s revealed another. The AR specialist company has announced a collaboration with Hasbro and TOMY on a new AR videogame called Transformers: Heavy Metal.
Built on the Niantic Lightship platform Transformers: Heavy Metal will see players team up with Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and other Autobots as they battle the Decepticons. Seattle-based Very Very Spaceship is leading development creating a narrative where players join the Guardian Network, a group of humans helping the Autobots. As one of these Guardians, players have to discover resources and regions across the world whilst battling Decepticons in turn-based battles, either solo or with friends.
“Transformers is the perfect franchise for AR. Battling and interacting with giant robots in the real world is an amazing experience,” said John Hanke, CEO of Niantic. “We want to live up to the high expectations of Transformers fans around the world and bring them a game unlike anything they’ve played before.”
If you’ve played either Pokemon GO or Harry Potter: Wizards Unite then you’ll know the type of real-world gaming Niantic Labs encourages through its projects, requiring players to get out and about to maximise the experience. This is thanks to the Lightship platform Niantic has developed, providing real-time 3D mapping and multiplayer social experiences which developers can use to build their own AR worlds using the Niantic Lightship ARDK.
Specific gameplay details for Transformers: Heavy Metal have yet to be revealed but there shouldn’t be too long to wait to find out. While a global launch is slated for later in 2021 a soft launch will be taking place in select markets soon.
Transformers: Heavy Metal is in no way the franchises’ first foray into immersive gaming. There’s been Transformers: VR Invasion and Transformers: VR Battle Arena for location-based entertainment (LBE) venues, while back in 2017 saw Cade’s Junkyard AR Experience allowed players to control Bumblebee.
As further details for Transformers: Heavy Metal are released, VRFocus will keep you updated.
Augmented Reality Transforming E-commerce
Nowadays a technology that is undergoing very fast development and application in most industries is Augmented Reality (AR). This technology expands our physical world by adding layers of digital information to it. Although people’s scepticism about the reliability of the benefits that this technology brings, at the same time, its adoption by many businesses is moving at a giant pace. One of the adopters of AR is also e-commerce. Taking into account the situations that the world has faced in recent years, this technology is really providing real benefits for the significant improvement of the services that e-commerce offers.
Given that e-commerce is a large and important part of the economy at the same time it is also the key point for businesses that sell their products or services online. E-commerce gives businesses the ability to reach more customers than they do with traditional retail methods. The increase in the number of people making their purchases online makes this retail market the fastest growing. E-commerce is an ideal way to develop brands from a traditional store in a given location to a brand easily accessible from different countries around the globe. Despite the fact that e-commerce brings development and character to brands, it also has its challenges.
In this article, we will look in detail at how AR technology is being used by e-commerce businesses to expand their businesses, increase sales, and increase customer satisfaction.
Every business is developing experiential marketing strategies which means the interaction between their brand and customers is giving great importance to the successful performance of sales. AR technology develops a closer relationship between the brand and customers thanks to the opportunity for practical product testing. This way customers have the opportunity to try out a product before making the decision to buy it. All of this helps to significantly increase customer engagement because potential customers spend more time on the site. This close relationship that is created in the customer connection between the brand increases the chances that this user will reach faster to the decision of making purchases.
Increase Brand Awareness
Given that businesses operating in e-commerce are numerous, this means that the competition is quite high. Generating high traffic to sites is one of the most important goals that translate into improved SEO. Thanks to the unique experience that AR integrated into the site offers makes it attract new users and bring back old users. In cases, where the user returns, means that the goal to offer something valuable and innovative has been achieved. Herein lies the role of AR that makes the user experience more interesting. At the same time for new users, it becomes possible to achieve the conviction they need to buy a product thanks to its exploration through AR tools.
Provide Unique Shopping Experience
AR technology in e-commerce enhances the shopping experience by making it more unique and interactive. Thanks to this technology, customers have complete control over the products. In this way, customers having control over the products feel closer and more connected to the product making them loyal to the brand. Thanks to AR tools they are also able to personalize their products and this makes it possible to successfully meet their requirements. At the same time, through the introduction of AR in e-commerce, the return of products due to customer dissatisfaction has decreased significantly. This saves companies costs for transportation, refilling, repackaging and ensures a high level of customer satisfaction.
Eliminate Hygiene Issues
Maintaining hygiene in business premises is always a worrying problem, especially during gatherings in showrooms. Nowadays this problem coupled with the pandemic all over the world has brought this problem to another level as an obligation even in the form of maintaining social distance. To avoid all these also from the various restrictions on closing stores have made online sales increase significantly. AR is a perfect solution to improve the online shopping experience which eliminates the need to explore the desired products for purchase in showrooms or stores, thus preserving social distance and eliminating the need for unnecessary visits.
As mentioned above, nowadays when social distance has already become an important part of everyday reality, AR comes to the aid of businesses as a powerful tool to significantly improve e-commerce. The integration of this technology in e-commerce stores provides the most innovative, friendly and enjoyable shopping experiences. AR technology has the potential to ensure a breakthrough in the e-commerce industry by providing rapid growth for businesses thanks to high sales. The ability of this technology to change and improve the way businesses in this industry operate is also an impetus for the leaders of many companies to adopt this technology today.
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