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Review: Stride

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Stride

Game shows like Ninja Warrior always look utterly impossible and completely exhausting yet time after time contestants manage to finish these endurance events. Being way too unfit to even remotely attempt something so physically demanding the closest any of us might are likely to get is a videogame like Stride, the new parkour experience from Joy Way, where you can wall run, jump from building to building and feel like you’ve had a decent workout.

Stride

Stride appeared last year in early access for PC VR headsets, showcasing some impressive free-running abilities that really immersed you in the experience. But it only had one gameplay mode, “Endless”. Now with its arrival on Oculus Quest, there’s a lot more to Stride, with three modes, modifiers and unlockables. More content is great yet there’s a noticeable hollowness to the whole experience.

As the name implies free running is about maximising the space around you, traversing the environment any way you please and Stride is very effective in that regard. It provides all the tools you’d expect and more, even going so far that it does blur the line between realism and being a bit too superhuman. You can leap and grab ledges, wall run to distant platforms and unleash a grappling line at specific locations. Once you’ve gone through the extensive tutorial – definitely don’t skip it – and completed a few levels there is a nice flow to Stride, if you don’t misjudge that next leap of course.

As you might expect Stride is an intense experience from start to finish, with locomotion purely stick-based with the option to run by waving your arms back and forth. This does help with the immersion but when you screw up (and you will), suddenly falling several stories before the game restarts never gets any easier. VR legs are a must here, don’t introduce someone to VR with Stride!

STRIDE

That being said, if you are a VR veteran you can have plenty of fun here. Those three modes are split between Timerun, Endless and Arena and they’re not too hard to figure out. Timerun is all about completing a series of set courses under a certain time, 12 levels with a maximum of three stars for each. Endless mode is just the same as any endless runner you’ve previously played, try to get as far as possible. You can fall but there’s a massive ominous wall of death continually encroaching which will end your run.

The final area is the Arena and this gives you the most scope for experimentation – with plenty of Mirror’s Edge feels – providing rooftops to run, leap and gun across. It’s also the one mode that is most underused and really could’ve provided the meat of Stride. Timerun and Endless are both fine little additions if they were opened up after completing a big campaign yet as two-thirds of Stride they quickly become throwaway modes. Endless does offer procedurally generated levels to mix things up although you’ll notice familiar patterns after a few sessions.  

Whereas Arena’s potential is boiled down to run to this checkpoint or run and collect this bag as fast as possible. The changing level and ability to mix up your routes are what’ll keep you coming back. Joy Way has tried to further expand the Endless and Arena modes with modifiers which do help to a degree, where you can switch on Instadeath to increase the score or activate immortality which will decrease it. As mentioned, its clean-cut aesthetic and point focused gameplay robs Stride of some much-needed charisma, a videogame you can like but not love.

STRIDE

Let’s also mention the gun mechanics as they need a bit more work. Oculus Quest has some excellent VR shooters available for it so when you get a title that isn’t quite up to the task you quickly notice. You have a singular pistol to dispatch enemies with, grabbed from your shoulder for some reason. At close range it works well enough without feeling satisfying to use. At medium or longer ranges it really is pot luck. Now you might say this encourages exploration of the environment to get closer, however, on endless you don’t get that opportunity it needs to work the first time.

Stride is a very mixed experience on Oculus Quest. Whilst that might be due to the PC version still being in early access and you’re essentially getting the same version here, this is still a full release for Quest, hence the review. Stride’s parkour mechanics are what really sell the experience as there’s nothing quite like it for Oculus Quest. There are points where the gameplay is very addictive and engrossing as you try to perfect each jump and wall run. On the other hand, Stride can get repetitive too quickly and lacks that spark to make it a great VR game.   

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/08/review-stride/

AR/VR

Want £100 off an Oculus Quest 2? Simply Buy Two

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Buying in bulk has always been the cheaper option, whether that’s a 50kg sack of potatoes that may never get eaten or that awesome deal for 10 scarfs during summer. Tech is a little bit different, usually offering singular discounts as you get on Black Friday. For the next week, Oculus is bucking that trend. Simply buy one Oculus Quest 2 at full price and you’ll get £100 GBP of another.

Oculus Quest 2

Yep, so that nets you two 128GB Oculus Quest 2’s for £500 which isn’t a bad deal. Especially if you and a mate have been considering stepping into virtual reality (VR) for the first time or changing VR platform. This offer is available only until next Monday, 27th September on Oculus.com. Plus it’s also available for the 256GB model as well.

The deal arrives almost a month after Facebook began to resell the headset after a short hiatus due to the facial interface issue which saw some customers report skin irritation. This time period saw the company discontinue the base 64GB model in favour of a 128GB version whilst still maintaining the same £299 price point. So if you do go for the offer you’ll get the newer Oculus Quest 2 edition which comes with a silicone cover in the box.

Silicone covers have been a widely available accessory for Oculus Quest 2 almost since its launch, particularly useful when playing more energetic games as it stops the foam interface from soaking up the sweat. A much more hygienic solution if you happen to be swapping the headset between players as all it requires is a quick wipe. That’ll be less of an issue if you’re buying two headsets at a time.

Oculus Quest 2

There’s another good reason for two friends to go in on the deal, all the multiplayer gaming to be had in VR. While multiplayer videogames struggled in the early years, now titles like Population: One, Demeo and Echo VR are firmly focused on that aspect, making for great social experiences.

Or maybe it’s all part of Facebook’s plan to sell more Oculus Quest 2’s ahead of Facebook Connect next month? Being held on 28th October as a virtual showcase, CEO Mark Zuckerberg may release further details on the Oculus Quest Pro, a headset that could include features such as eye-tracking. If that happens VRFocus will keep you updated.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/09/want-100-off-an-oculus-quest-2-simply-buy-two/

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AR/VR

Netflix’s First VR Game Eden Unearthed Raises More Questions Than it Answers

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Streaming behemoth Netflix first got involved in virtual reality (VR) years ago with its own dedicated app for watching its shows. While that app is sorely in need of an update or two, it has come to light this week that Netflix has very quietly released a videogame over on Oculus Quest’s App Lab, Eden Unearthed, a tie-in to anime series Eden. While it’s great that Netflix is showing a continued interest in VR – maybe thanks to Oculus veteran Mike Verdu joining the company – the launch is an unusual one due to the content and multiple app instances.

Eden Unearthed

Eden launched back in May on the streaming service as a four-part series. Set in a future where mankind no longer walks the planet, instead, robots are the dominant lifeform, maintaining a lush green world whilst harvesting bio-fuel via apple orchards. However, a human girl named Sara appears and several robots take it upon themselves to raise her. Naturally, there are dark secrets to uncover in this idyllic utopia.

If you like anime then it’s well worth a watch but you may want to hold off playing Eden Unearthed. This is definitely one of those titles that’s more of an experience rather than a fully-fledged videogame. Sat on a bike, you can ride along pre-set routes collecting apples littered on the ground for fuel whilst occasionally coming across information points. These points fill in some of the backstory with actual clips but they also contain spoilers to the Netflix show, so it really depends on how bothered you are about this.

Once you’ve hit all those info points – it’ll probably take around five minutes to do so – there’s nothing else to do apart from riding around collecting apples. Not exactly much depth. Eden Unearthed feels more like an experiment, probably why it’s on App Lab. As you’d expect from Netflix the actual production qualities are excellent, the art style matches the show and the bike handles really well – you can easily adjust the handle placement for maximum comfort before heading off.

Eden Unearthed

Just to add to the bizarre nature of the release, there are two versions on App Lab, both free, one seemingly released months ago. There’s Eden Unearthed App Lab which seems to have gained the most media attention, this notes a release date of 20th April 2021, a month before Eden actually arrived. Or then there’s Eden Unearthed which was released on 3rd August. They are two different versions v0.7 and v0.8 respectively but there doesn’t look to be any noticeable difference between the two. What those versions do suggest is the Eden Unearthed is still in development with the possibility of expansion.

In any case, both are freely available to download for your Oculus Quest. For further updates on Netflix’s VR plans, keep reading VRFocus.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/09/netflixs-first-vr-game-eden-unearthed-raises-more-questions-than-it-answers/

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AR/VR

‘Men in Black’ Location-based VR Experience to Debut at Dreamscape in October

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Location-based VR destination Dreamscape and Sony Pictures Virtual Reality announced they’re launching a new VR experience that puts you and five other friends in the shoes of the Men in Black: First Assignment.

Called Men in Black: First Assignment, the experience is debuting at Dreamscape’s flagship location in the LA-based Westfield Century City shopping center on Friday, October 1st, 2021.

Here’s Dreamscape’s description of the experience:

Suit up, agents! Your first assignment awaits. The Zarthanian royal family needs protection from an evil Octopoid plot that could destroy the entire universe – and you’re just the team of new recruits for the job! As a freshly minted agent, you’ll have access to our secret command center, plus a helping hand (or paw) from Frank the Pug and a team of friendly aliens. The dreaded Octopoids are in hot pursuit. So throttle up your hoverbikes. You’ll need to work together to find the space portals, keep the royal family out of tentacle’s reach, and return everyone safely to Planet Zarthania!

General admission to the experience is priced at $23.50, with the full experience slated to last approximately 35 minutes from beginning to end including check-in and fitting VR gear. Dreamscape says all participants must be at least 48 inches (122 cm) tall and 10+ years old, with those under age 13 requiring an adult.

It’s likely we’ll see the MIB experience roll out to its other Dreamscape locations; the company currently operates four locations spread across California, Ohio, Texas and Dubai.

Founded in 2016, Dreamscape has been fairly lucky to have secured a reported $30.6 million Series C financing in February 2020, or just mere days before the COVID-19 pandemic put a near universal stop to all in-person activities and events. Now nearly two years later, it seems both Dreamscape and Sony feel that it’s time to pick up where they respectively left off.

Sony has previously worked to bring its historical catalogue of IP to virtual reality, both in the out-of-home sector and direct to consumers. It’s licensed films such as Groundhog Day, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Jumaniji for VR experiences.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.

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Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/men-black-vr-dreamscape-locations/

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AR/VR

‘Men in Black’ Location-based VR Experience to Debut at Dreamscape in October

Published

on

Location-based VR destination Dreamscape and Sony Pictures Virtual Reality announced they’re launching a new VR experience that puts you and five other friends in the shoes of the Men in Black: First Assignment.

Called Men in Black: First Assignment, the experience is debuting at Dreamscape’s flagship location in the LA-based Westfield Century City shopping center on Friday, October 1st, 2021.

Here’s Dreamscape’s description of the experience:

Suit up, agents! Your first assignment awaits. The Zarthanian royal family needs protection from an evil Octopoid plot that could destroy the entire universe – and you’re just the team of new recruits for the job! As a freshly minted agent, you’ll have access to our secret command center, plus a helping hand (or paw) from Frank the Pug and a team of friendly aliens. The dreaded Octopoids are in hot pursuit. So throttle up your hoverbikes. You’ll need to work together to find the space portals, keep the royal family out of tentacle’s reach, and return everyone safely to Planet Zarthania!

General admission to the experience is priced at $23.50, with the full experience slated to last approximately 35 minutes from beginning to end including check-in and fitting VR gear. Dreamscape says all participants must be at least 48 inches (122 cm) tall and 10+ years old, with those under age 13 requiring an adult.

It’s likely we’ll see the MIB experience roll out to its other Dreamscape locations; the company currently operates four locations spread across California, Ohio, Texas and Dubai.

Founded in 2016, Dreamscape has been fairly lucky to have secured a reported $30.6 million Series C financing in February 2020, or just mere days before the COVID-19 pandemic put a near universal stop to all in-person activities and events. Now nearly two years later, it seems both Dreamscape and Sony feel that it’s time to pick up where they respectively left off.

Sony has previously worked to bring its historical catalogue of IP to virtual reality, both in the out-of-home sector and direct to consumers. It’s licensed films such as Groundhog Day, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Jumaniji for VR experiences.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.

Click here to access.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/men-black-vr-dreamscape-locations/

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