PlayStation VR’s most immersive game to date
PlayStation VR has been producing excellent shooter games as of late, notably last month’s Starblood Arena, and now Farpoint. While the former focuses on arena-based space combat, the latter is PS VR’s first full-length boots-on-the-ground shooter experience.
Coinciding with the game’s release is Sony’s Aim Controller, a new peripheral built specifically to maximize immersion in VR shooters. You can get both the game and controller in a special PlayStation VR Aim Controller Farpoint Bundle available now.
Having spent more than 20 hours already with the Aim Controller, it’s without question the optimal way to experience Farpoint. In fact, the controller is so revolutionary I can easily see it being the future of the first-person shooter genre. It’s light and ergonomic to hold, but moreover it gives you a sense of immersion and presence unlike anything before.
To learn about the features of this controller and see how it works, check out my video below. As well, read on further for even more thoughts on the controller and game!
Platform(s): PlayStation VR (PS4)
An unknown alien world
The opening sequence of Farpoint is, in a word, breathtaking. It begins with you, an unnamed space shuttle pilot, on route to pick up scientists studying a wormhole near Jupiter. Without warning a massive, blinding rupture occurs sending you crashing down onto a strange new alien world.
Now separated from your colleagues, you must venture out in attempt to reunite with the scientists and escape this planet. Doing so entails discovering holographic logs, which you can scan to reveal clues to their whereabouts. It’s a neat storytelling device, and particularly vivid, too, considering you’re presented with life-size holograms in full 360-degree VR.
You’re at the centre of the story
There are times, as well, when you’re given the opportunity to watch flashback cutscenes of the scientist struggling for survival. For most of these, you’re experiencing the events in first-person from the eyes of a scientist.
Again, because these moments are in immersive VR they’re especially lifelike and convincing. Characters look directly at you when they speak, and you can see raw expressions on their faces in incredible clarity. While I usually don’t expect much from FPS stories, Farpoint tells a surprisingly human story filled with emotional highs and lows.
Aim Controller gives you precise control
Truth be told, while you can play Farpoint with a standard DualShock Controller, it’s substantially better with the Aim Controller. Holding the Aim gives you an incredible sense of realism and it feels extremely natural to point and shoot.
Used in tandem with the PlayStation Camera, the Aim tracks your movements in 3D space with 1:1 precision. Shift your hands left or right, and in-game you’ll see your character move their gun exactly as you do. Standard FPS tactics like tilt shooting and blind-firing are all performed intuitively using the controller with no extra buttons needed. It’s absolutely stunning how accurate the experience is, and without a doubt the closest I’ve ever felt to “being there.”
From a pure build perspective, the Aim Controller also passes with flying colours. It’s futuristic and sleek, and has a much better build quality than the PlayStation Move Sharp Shooter peripheral for PS3. It’s also extremely light to hold, and Sony did a phenomenal job evenly distributing its weight around the body.
Moreover, the Aim possesses every single button you’d find on a DualShock 4, including unexpected ones like the touch pad. In includes dual analog sticks (clickable), a D-pad, L1/L2/R1 buttons with R2 being the trigger, and Options/Share buttons too. Built into the hand grips are rumble motors that create realistic vibrations for on-the-fly haptic feedback.
Best of all, I love that it’s one complete unit with no component parts. Back in the PS3/Wii era, shooting peripherals were mostly plastic cases where you slotted in Move Controllers or Wii Remotes.
In contrast, the Aim has everything you need built right into its elegant frame. Not only does make handling the device much easier, but charging the battery requires just one micro-USB connection. On that note, the battery life is superb and lasted several hours before needing a new charge.
A variety of weapons
Putting the Aim Controller and PS VR headset to test in Farpoint was a thrilling experience. Being inside a vast, 360-degree VR alien world with a realistic-feeling shooting device in-hand felt like total immersion.
Your starter weapon in the game is an Assault Rifle that has a holographic sight for precision firing. Often times I found myself closing one eye and using the Aim’s sights to shoot with pinpoint accuracy. This particular weapon is heat-based with a cooldown system and unlimited ammo, so you don’t have to fiddle around finding ammo.
Later on several other weapons become available, including a close-range Shotgun, an awesome Precision Rifle, and some alien weaponry. Changing weapons is as simple as bringing the Aim Controller up to your shoulder to swap out. Keep in mind though that much like Halo: Combat Evolved, you’re only able to hold two weapons at a time. This means from time-to-time you’ll need to make some hard weapon choices.
Blasting hostile aliens
Being a shooting game, naturally it’s not long before you encounter hostile indigenous lifeforms on this alien world. These start out as small, nimble arachnids (thoroughly creepy in VR) but eventually you’ll come face-to-face with much larger versions. Some lob explosive blobs at you, while others dash towards you underground then spit acid in your face. Then there are the supremely large spiders that literally made me jump out of my seat during early encounters.
Roughly mid-way through the game you’ll meet an entirely new species of alien life, these ones more intelligent and dangerous. They range from jetpack-wearing snipers and clever foot soldiers who know how to effectively use cover. These aliens also control hulking machines, like the bipedal Juggernauts that are very reminiscent of Star War’s AT-AT Walkers. I enjoyed the smooth introduction of new enemies over the adventure, but it’s too bad it takes so long before the more cunning alien lifeforms show up.
Co-op missions and Challenge Mode
While the campaign is on the short side (about 6 hours), the game offers some nice extras to keep you coming back. For starters, you have two-player co-op missions you can play online with friends. They’re essentially Horde mode-type experiences where successive waves of enemies will come to attack you. Despite having another player involved, these co-op missions are not necessarily easier as more enemies get added. It’s best to stick close together too, as it’s possible to revive fallen partners.
If single-player is more your style, Farpoint also includes a Challenge Mode with leaderboard ranking. Challenge Mode remixes campaigns levels with new enemy layouts, and more frequent attacks. Your run has a timer that continuously counts down, though you can extend your time by reaching checkpoints. As well, a new scoring system is introduced, including a multiplier for successive kills, which you lose by taking damage.
I had a great time playing dozens of Co-op and Challenge rounds, and thought they did a great job of extending the gameplay. With that said, it’s too bad there’s no Versus mode included as the potential there seems very high.
Farpoint is an amazing VR shooter game that I’d easily recommend to all fans of the genre. When played with the PlayStation VR Aim Controller, the experience gets heightened to a whole new level. The accessory feels great in your hands, and it’s 1:1 accuracy has to be experienced to believe. In many ways, Farpoint represents the future of the entire FPS genre. It really is that groundbreaking.
+ Human story full of emotion
+ Completely immersive experience
+ Aim Controller is well-designed and very comfortable
+ Aim Controller significantly enhances your feeling of presence
+ Excellent progression of new enemies
+ Co-op and Challenge modes extend game time
– Campaign is on the short side
– No Versus mode
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.4/5 (88%)
Get Aim Controller Farpoint Bundle for PSVR
Get Farpoint for PSVR