Lone Echo is incredible the VR game I've been waiting for

Ever since I saw the first trailers of lone echo I was facinated by it's unique locomotion techinique great graphics and interesting human and an AI robot in space story. Made by "Ready at Dawn" who made some of the best PSP games like Daxter and the god of war psp games (also The Order 1886 which looked amazing but was very very boring to play) Lone Echo and it's multiplayer component Echo Arena looked like they were going to be the first big professional vr game.

It came out the other week unfortunately it's an Oculus rift exclusive. So I twiddled my thumbs thought about waiting till they eventually make a vive version some 6-12 months down the line if at all. Briefly considered getting a Rift while they are "cheap" but 3 vr headsets seems overkill even for me.

So I decided to risk getting it on the oculus store and then using the ReVive tool which allows you to play most Rift exclusive games on the Vive assumiong they don't lock it down again or add some extra drm or what ever. It seemed worth a punt since ReVive is free and the game is only 40 dollars.

For the most part it worked pretty well I get the odd stuttering as the frame rate drops and the system can't keep up I'm not sure it may be a problem in the rift -> revive -> vive setup or maybe the game is just too demanding for a 980gtx but with it set to low it's playable mostly smooth with very occational judders.

In the game you play a robot AI called Echo 1 or sometimes Jack who is a worker on a spacestation out in Saturn orbit with a single human crew when things go a bit off the rails. The main innovation they added is the locomotion system where to propel yourself you grab a surface with your hands and then either move hand over hand or shove and push yourself in the desired direction. It's a bit like moving yourself around in a pool with just your arms on the side. You also have some limited thrusters you can use that are in your wrists so you can fly superman style around.

It works amazingly well you get a sense of freedom of moving around these huge environments without having to teleport or shift locations it really works well. It also doesn't make me motion sick I guess because you are moving your body and the motions of your character are tied together with your actions and the game world physics so the brain is tricked.

In addition to the locomotion it simulates your hands and arms in the game so you can see where your arms are and most of the UI is intergrated into your arms with buttons on either side of your wrist to activate certain tools and a sort of wrist computer to give you information and objective stuff.

The gameplay is a combination of puzzle solving (using combinations of your scanner and your laser cutting beam as well as button and switch puzzles) the odd physical action piece (moving through a massive laser beam filled conveyor to free up jammed machines) and a few timeing puzzles. Nothing very new but done with a good deal of polish and fun. There are also simple dialog bits with the human crew member Olivia where you select from different options and learn more about the enviroment and the story.

The graphics are really good lots of clean space stations metal and plastic the asteroid fields and mining systems the primary colours used in the space equipment and other labour robots. It looks great.

All in all it's a wonderful vr experience with great graphics a good story with a really innovative locomotion system and it's a full length game not one of these five minute tech demos. Well worth picking up.

Comments

OH MY. The rebuild of my garage can't come fast enough.

brainwipe's picture

I am going to have dust off the old rift and give it a go, thanks for the recommendation.

Bigger Rob's picture

Full length stuff in vr does have it's issues I've been having to do a section then when I start feeling worn out stop and take a rest. I guess it's because it involves a lot of standing up waving arms around and occasionally punching walls or ceiling or furniture.

Still really enjoying it thought :D

Evilmatt's picture

Finished the game off this weekend really enjoyed it there were some really emotional moments towards the end which I won't spoil although I felt the ending as a little unsatisfying. I'd like to see some more complex puzzles a lot of the ones they had were fairly simple.

There were some interesting consequences to the physical movement system things like if you are trying to pull or push something with one hand it of course acted on your body as well so pulling the power recharge handle with one hand caused it to pull out then spring back pulling you with it. You had to hold yourself still with one hand to do things like twist or push things into sockets etc otherwise the force acted on you as well which is nice and realistic.

It could have done with a better save system the checkpoints were no obvious and it had no explicit inbuilt save system so when I would come back to it I would find I had to repeat sections of the game.

The physical endurance part of it is interesting I'm not sure it would be comfortable to run through it in one sitting. The physical discomfort due to standing and walking about and waving your arms around does tell after a while plus the headset weight and the general ... moistness of the headset after a while makes it hard to play for more than a short period. Its a counterpoint to having long form vr experiences the physicality of it means there are limits to how long it's comfortable to play for. In terms of motion sickness I didn't get any despite jetting around the locomotion system seems to work well for that connecting the brains impression of motion to physical activity and I'm someone who is very prone to motion sickness in cars planes trains boats and sometimes games with exaggerated fps head bobbing are enough to nauseate me for this game there was nothing sometimes a little off feeling when I first started but then quickly acclimatizing.

All in all a great new VR game that shows you can do a full length game in the VR's and have it work and showed a really cool locomotion system that works well and means you don't need teleporting.

Evilmatt's picture