Following last year's launch of the Oculus Rift and the subsequent release of Oculus Touch controllers, 2017 is looking to be a big year for owners of the headset. With a huge range of innovative titles in the pipeline and new hardware also on the way, virtual reality experiences will continue getting better than ever.
As a part of its GDC offerings, we got the opportunity to get hands-on with some of Oculus' biggest upcoming releases. Each sporting their own unique take on motion controls, these titles are among the second wave of experiences to hit the platform.
From the titles on offer, it's instantly clear that the approach to Touch differs wildly between developers. While some use the controllers as traditional hand-replacements, we're also seeing applications in real-time strategy experiences and musical environments. Here's a closer look at the games coming to Oculus Rift in 2017.
Mage's Tale is a new dungeon-crawler RPG from inXile Entertainment – a studio previously known for producing some truly deep and unique universes. Like its previous work on The Bard's Tale and Torment: Tides of Numenera, the game's humor makes for a quirky but memorable role-playing experience.
Taking full advantage of Oculus Touch, Mage's Tale offers a fully immersive role-playing experience built from the ground up alongside the Oculus Rift. The depth and comedy of Mage's Tale go hand-in-hand, encouraging the player to experiment in the game's world and uncover the hundreds of surprises littered throughout the world. Although some of these puzzles may be required to progress forward, various small additions solely build on the game's laid-back persona.
This depth also extends to crafting, allowing players to forge their own spells with unique traits and cosmetic bonuses. With an in-game lab full of potions and ingredients, players can cook up their own creations with the traits and abilities suited to their play style.
Following the Oculus Rift's highly-regarded free-play experience, Bullet Train, Robo Recall is the next entry in Epic Games' virtual reality line-up. While Bullet Train's unique mechanics made for a fast-paced tech demo, Robo Recall refines these concepts into a full VR title.
Set in an advanced world where robots are integrated into society, players take on the role of an agent dealing with the robots once they inevitably go rogue. After a widespread pandemic of hostile bots throws the world into chaos, these agents are deployed to 'recall' the machines ruling the streets.
With a huge range of weapons and dynamic combat mechanics, Robo Recall is shaping up to be an outstanding shooter experience. Helped hugely by its fluid gameplay and great application of Oculus Touch, the game looks to be one of this year's biggest titles for the Oculus Rift.
Rock Band VR
Rock Band has made its way to virtual reality, taking a whole new, more immersive direction during its transition to the Oculus Rift. Taking advantage of the Touch controllers and a third-party guitar accessory, Rock Band VR makes for an immersive musical experience from a first-person perspective.
Unlike the scripted approach to previous games, Rock Band VR allows players to take a more freestyle approach to their music endeavors. Although the placement of scores still has a heavy bearing on gameplay, a less dictated approach to songs makes for significantly increased player freedom.
During the move to virtual reality, Rock Band has also shifted its approach to be a solely single-player experience. While a range of instruments with friends was a major component of the core Rock Band formula, Rock Band VR introduced a deep narrative based on your role as a guitarist.
Blade and Soul: Table Arena
Korean MMO, Blade and Soul, is also making its way to virtual reality, in the form of a turn-based RTS built for Oculus Rift. Presented in a hero-based format, the game brings together influences from MOBAs and digital card games to make for a fast-paced top-down experience.
Although top-down titles sometimes struggle to justify their motion control integration, Blade and Soul's approach removes the barrier between the board and the player. With a distinct formula that stands out from similar virtual reality titles, the game is a pleasant surprise to see among Oculus' virtual reality offerings of 2017.
Killing Floor: Incursions
Killing Floor: Incursions brings the series' brutal hordes to VR, offering fast-paced action from a whole new perspective. Although gameplay diverges from the roots of the main games, the core values of Killing Floor are still present during the transition to virtual reality.
During our hands-on session with the game, we got the opportunity to experience online cooperative play with a second player. The same heavy reliance on teamwork is still present here, with communication essential to survive the hordes and complete puzzles.
When paired with Killing Floor's ruthless combat and dismemberment, the game makes for a heart-racing shooter experience.
Have any questions about the above games? Are you looking forward to any Oculus titles in 2017? Make sure to let us know in the comments section!
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