In the last few months, Bethesda has proved how committed they are when it comes to supporting as many platforms as possible. Skyrim and Doom were first ported to the Nintendo Switch, and now both games have also been converted to suit the realm of virtual reality. Well, kind of. Unlike The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Doom VFR is not the same as the 2016 game. Here you won't be playing with the silent Doom Guy, but rather as a worker from the Mars space station who dies as soon as demonic invasion kicks off. Now, in ghostly form, he has to take control of some battle armour and kick some demonic behind.
Although in a different context, the experience itself is not dissimilar to the one from 2016. You will continue to wade through corridors in search of coloured keys as demons repeatedly burst from portals. What changes is the transition to virtual reality, which immediately had us impressed due to the quality of the visuals. We are not sure if it retains the same level of detail as the original version, but it is undeniable that Doom VFR looks great, something that can't be said of other adaptations. The detail in the environments and enemies is fantastic, even with the depth offered by virtual reality, and we didn't notice any dropped frames either. However, you should know that we played on a PS4 Pro, so we're not sure how it holds up on a regular PS4.
The biggest difference, however, comes via the new controls. Basically, there are three ways to play Doom VFR: with two Move controllers, PS Aim, or DualShock 4. Of the three, the classic controller felt like the best option for us, perhaps due to the frenetic nature of Doom's gameplay. Even in its current state, compared to the base game, Doom VFR still requires plenty of movement and you need to pay attention in each and every direction, something that's not particularly easy to achieve in virtual reality. Still, even with DualShock 4, you can choose from several options and adjust the gameplay experience to suit your preferences.
By default, Doom VFR works with a mixture of teleportation and locked turns at fixed angles. Instead of moving the character normally with the left analog, you will use a teleporter - assigned to L2 - which will take you to where you are pointing. And how do you point? With your head, basically. The mechanics of movement are also associated with the execution kills. When the demons are stunned, as in the 2016 Doom, you can execute them using a gruesome move, but here you must use the teleportation mechanic. You basically point the teleportation to the stunned monster, and activate it, destroying the opponent in the process. Using this initial control scheme you can turn the camera using the directional buttons, which will turn the camera horizontally and at fixed angles. It's a scheme that helps prevent potential nausea, but the level of accuracy it allows is quite limited.
For anyone feeling brave, there is also a scheme of more traditional controls, with motion set to the left analog stick, and camera movement to the right (although only horizontally, your head will still control vertical movement). This is a scheme very close to the traditional controls, but we need to warn you that it is also the one that can most easily lead to nausea. We played about an hour in this way, and after that session we suffered from dizziness and headaches. Fortunately, there are several types of settings available, which allow you to change the speed of the turns, the fixed angles if you choose that system, and other similar options.
Now the big question: is Doom VFR any good? Well, it's reasonable ... but after the initial impact created by the shift into virtual reality, we ended up wishing that the experience was closer to that of the original. Doom of 2016 plays like a dream, and the gameplay is precisely its strength. It's an extremely frantic and exciting first-person shooter, but since Doom VFR sacrifices that to accommodate virtual reality, the experience suffers in the process. If you're a fan of Doom and virtual reality, it is definitely worth considering for £20/€30, but it's far from being mandatory, unlike the original before it.
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