Six months ago, Digital Lode released Espire 1: VR Operative on various VR headsets. We really enjoyed it on PC and Oculus Quest, but saw plenty of reports of troubles on PSVR.
Though we didn’t try this version at launch, reports online cited numerous bugs, downgraded visuals compared to even the Oculus Quest version of the game and in some cases even full-on crashes.
So, half a year later, how’s the PSVR version shaping up?
Last week saw the massive Assimilation Update finally reach the game on PSVR, a few weeks behind other headsets. At this point it’s clear to see why the console edition took longer to arrive; Espire needed more work on PSVR to bring it up to snuff. Here’s some gameplay from the game’s opening, running on PSVR with the new update.
Based on what I’ve played, this update seems to make some strides for the console version, bringing it up to par with other editions of the game. Visually the game now looks much closer to what you can expect from other platforms thanks to a full lighting pass on the campaign. In fact, across an hour of playing with the game, I didn’t encounter any massive bugs (or at least ones that would be unique to the PSVR version). Some Move awkwardness aside, it felt like the game I’d played the majority of on Oculus Quest.
Of course, some of Espire’s wider issues — experienced across headsets — still remain. Even after the update, enemy AI is still shaky at best. If you play through Espire taking out enemies when you see them, you’re not likely to notice, but if you get spotted there’s a decent chance a guard’s next actions will be completely nonsensical. I’d still see guards cluelessly congregate around ladders or suspect they saw something, then run off in completely the opposite direction. Digital Lode says the Assimilation Update should also improve the AI.
Overlooking that core concern will be a challenge for many, but if you can you’ll still find a wonderfully playful experience at the core of Espire. There are the foundations here to build a truly excellent sequel off of. Fingers crossed we get just that in the years to come.