Note: This review is based on the PlayStation VR version of Loading Human: Chapter 1.
My swanky apartment is trashed, there are empty liquor bottles scattered about, and I have what looks like about a week's growth of beard. The 2180s don't look so different than the present.
An artificial voice from my assistant Lucy reminds me I have work to do. Something went wrong with the plan — where's my partner Alice, and why haven't I departed on my interstellar voyage?
Living a story
My dying father is being held in the Lazarus, his invention that uses nanotechnology to reproduce his failing cells. Alice, the only other living person at the base in Antarctica, is supposed to be a love interest, but you'll see how that plays out.
The subject of the story is compelling — your father's Lazarus invention requires a source of energy known as the Quintessence, which can only be attained by traveling to deep space in another one of your father's inventions, a spaceship powered with a dark matter engine. Elements of Greek mythology and Christianity are evident here, which I love in a story.
Unfortunately, the execution of the story is lacking. Listening to characters speak is not exactly exciting, and you'll be spending most of your time wandering around at a snail's pace trying to figure out where some piece of a puzzle is hidden. This breaks up the story, and by the time you're listening to dialogue again, you've lost motivation.
This game is primarily a point-and-click adventure, and it has, as you'd expect, puzzles to solve. Instead of these puzzles taking advantage of VR motion tracking to deliver something fun and challenging, you'll find yourself walking around trying to figure out where this or that is located before you can carry on.
One puzzle you'll encounter near the start of the game involves you finding coordinates. It took me about 10 minutes of picking up random items that had no apparent use to see if they were what I was looking for before finally finding a tablet in another room. Putting something in another room doesn't make it a puzzle — it makes it a frustration.
Another puzzle will have you pulling leaves from the greenhouse and grinding them into tea. When the tea is made, you'll be forced to guess what other ingredients went into the tea and how it was heated. This seems like a way to drag out the time it takes to get through the game rather than actually contributing to anything worthwhile.
Using the Move controllers
Loading Human lets you use both Move controllers for locomotion. It's actually pretty simple to figure out, and you'll be moving around with only some frustration here and there. Point one controller forward and hold down the T button to walk forward, use the other controller to turn left and right. The tracking does bug out once in awhile, and dropping something on the ground requires you to crouch down and try to pick up the item again — all very slowly.
The slow movement is designed to cut down on motion sickness, but traveling more than a few steps at a time really feels like a test of patience. I want to get on with my space adventure! Playing with the DualShock 4 controller cuts down on some of the motion tracking problems, but doesn't rev up the pace at all. There was also a point while playing with the DS4 controller where I was forced to grab the controls of a ship. The problem: it was impossible without the Move controllers. I had to exit to the main menu so I could choose the Move controller option.
This is a game that will take you at most four or five hours to get through, but feels like a lot longer — not in a good way. Instead of looking forward to the next puzzle, you'll be hoping it's the last one you ever have to figure out, and you'll be wishing the dialogue would move along faster. Keep in mind this game costs about $40 and has two more pieces coming later to complete the story.
Bottom line? The story isn't terrible, but the execution is. By the end of the first chapter, I realized I didn't care what might happen in the next one.
- Story subject is compelling
- Forgettable characters
- Very slow pace
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