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VR Discovery: The Best of Virtual Reality at E3 2019

After spending a chunk of our time in LA watching gameplay reveals and getting hands-on with some of the best upcoming VR games, here are our favourites.

  • Ben LyonsBen Lyons

Another E3 has been and gone, leaving countless new announcements in its wake. We've seen everything from AAAs to indies, celebrity cameos to long-awaited sequels, even major titles being ported into cars. All in all, it's been a fairly great year for the show, however, if there was one genre that seemingly received less attention than others, it would have to be virtual reality. To remedy this a little, we've compiled a list of what we believe to be some of the best VR games coming out of E3 2019.

After the Fall - Vertigo Games: To start off everything, we're looking at the next title from developer Vertigo Games. Their next project, After the Fall, features a great deal of inspiration and honed mechanics from Arizona Sunshine, the previous VR experience from the studio. In After the Fall, players will find themselves in a 2005 iced-over Los Angeles, twenty years after an outbreak caused by designer drugs ravaged the world leaving behind a terrifying enemy known as the Snowbreed. As one of the few fortunate immune survivors and humanity's last hope, you must take back the city from the hordes.

After the Fall is set to launch sometime in 2020, on Oculus Rift and Quest through Steam.

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Stormland - Insomniac: The next upcoming title from Insomniac Games will be Stormland, an adventure that puts players in the shoes of an android whose body has been wrecked by a powerful tempest. You must journey through a changing cloudscape, using unique gliding and climbing mechanics as you work to repair yourself and save what remains of your friends, in a world filled with titanium sentries and monolithic guardians. Stormland is unlike most VR experiences out there as it's not about simply gunning things down - it's not about intense gameplay but more about taking a VR adventure designed around maximum immersion in a world unlike any other.

Stormland is set for release on Oculus platforms in 2019, although no exact date has been announced as of yet.

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Asgard's Wrath - Sanzaru Games: The next release coming from Sanzaru Games, developer of the Sonic Boom series, is Asgard's Wrath, which will take players on a journey through Norse mythology, challenging you to battle as a mortal and rise as a god. Taking up the mantle of lore inspired heroes of old, you will travel to and from distant, magical lands influencing the inhabitants to do your bidding. Asgard's Wrath is peculiar as it can be played both through the eyes of a mortal in first-person, but also from the perspective of a god, in a top-down fashion. Whatever the case, this title is slated to have a 30-hour campaign, providing more than enough time to hone your skills as both an immortal and a loyal worshipper.

Asgard's Wrath is set for a 2019 release but is yet to announce an official date, as for platforms, expect to see it on the Oculus Rift and Quest.

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Espire 1: VR Operative - Digital Lode: Our next focus is a title describing itself as Goldeneye 007 meets Metal Gear Solid. Developed by Digital Lode, Espire 1: VR Operative is a stealth experience which puts players in the shoes of an Espire Agent, an elite drone operative of the future. Due to the style of the game, skilled players will be able to manoeuvre throughout each level without breaking stealth. However, if you are a little trigger happy like us, you can treat each level as a firing range, running and gunning to your heart's content, although this will make you more liable to take damage and ultimately experience failure. As well as shooting, Espire 1 will allow players to climb walls and ladders by grabbing and pulling themselves up like they aren't bound by physical upper body strength.

Unlike lots of the announced VR titles from E3 this year, Espire 1: VR Operative is set to launch in August 2019 on Oculus Quest and Rift, PSVR, HTC Vive, Valve Index and Windows Mixed Reality, making it accessible to basically all VR fans.

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Phantom: Covert Ops - nDreams: Developed by nDreams, this is a game where players will take up the mantle of a covert operative who is infiltrating enemy lines by using a river and a kayak, where stealth is your best friend and taking a rowdier approach almost certainly signifies an impending death. This title, which is played sitting down, requires players to work the controllers as though they are manipulating a kayak, using smooth circular motions and, whilst this may seem easy, it will likely end up in catastrophe. If stealth is broken, players are equipped with several firearms, although don't expect to fight off an army, since you are bound to the kayak indefinitely.

Phantom is supposed to launch in 2019 but there's no exact date. However, you can expect to see it on the Oculus Rift and Quest systems.

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Fujii - Funktronic Labs: After all this talk of combat centred games, it's only fair we take a moment to relax, this time in the charming world of Fujii. Developed by Funktronic Labs, this bizarre adventure is a musical hike through lush, chromatic VR wilderness, acting as a respite for weary travellers. This title is about outdoor exploration and creative gardening, as you work to bring a dormant landscape back to life by restoring the native flora through the use of light, water and harmony.

Fujii will launch on 27 June 2019 on the Oculus Rift and Quest, Steam VR and the Valve Index.

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Pistol Whip - Cloudhead Games: This title can be described as the perfect mixture of Superhot and Beat Sabre, bringing smooth fluid mechanics together with a rhythmic baseline. Pistol Whip, developed by Cloudhead Games, challenges players to power through levels as fast as possible, worming their way through bullet hell whilst also returning a shower of lead with perfect hyper-accurate precision. Players can look to take each stage beat by beat, before syncing their actions to a tune, turning the world into a gloriously colourful, immersive, sensory trip.

Pistol Whip currently doesn't have a release window, although it is supposed to be coming soon to all major VR platforms.

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The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets - Fast Travel Games: The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets will take players back to a world of childlike wonder as you explore charmingly crafted worlds whilst you try to solve the mystery of the stolen pets with the help of your grandfather's voice. Developed by Fast Travel Games, players will discover secrets and solve intriguing puzzles using their hands as they experience diverse worlds filled with interactions and colourful life. Delving deeper into the mystery, you may even relearn a thing or two about yourself, things that you forgot decades ago.

Set for a 2019 release window, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets will launch on PSVR, Steam VR, Oculus and HTC platforms and Windows Mixed Reality.

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Disciples of Dawn - Stonepunk Studios: What do we know about Disciples of Dawn aside from its seemingly heavy influence on atmosphere, lore and mystery? Not a great deal. This title developed by Stonepunk Studios - the team behind Primordian - may seem dark and dreary but it is shrouded in a deep enigma of which we are itching to find a resolution for. Why is the land encapsulated by darkness? Why do all the people keep disappearing? What is the darkness? All these questions leave us with a burning desire to start an investigation when the game launches.

Disciples of Dawn currently does not have a release window but is supposed to be coming soon. As for platforms, look to find it on Oculus and HTC systems.

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Garden of the Sea - Neat Corporation: Sometimes you just want to feed a strange space penguin an onion, at least that's just one of the amazing mechanics Garden of the Sea offers. Developed by Neat Corporation, this title is a relaxing experience which allows players to create a virtual garden of their own, packed with unusual creatures and oddities. Players can look to stay on their island, socialising with the locals or travelling across the seas, finding new resources and materials to bring back home and craft new items. The world is literally yours to shape.

For interested players, Garden of the Sea is currently in Steam Early Access for Steam VR. As for a complete and official launch date, that is yet to be announced.

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Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency - Neat Corporation: The sequel to 2018's Rambo-esque robot rampage, Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency, is being developed by Neat Corporation and looks to both expand and conclude the adventure we started over a year ago. Dive headfirst into unknown territory and take matters into your own hands, fending off new enemies with a host of fresh equipment and weapons, whilst also experiencing the iconic dark tongue-in-cheek humour the series is known for.

Set for a 2019 release, Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency is coming to Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and the Valve Index.

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That just about sums up our voyage of VR discovery from this year's E3, apart from the small matter of Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot, but we liked that one so much we decided to write a whole preview, and you can find our thoughts on that elsewhere on the site.