I’ve been playing and enjoying The Forest from Endnight Games on and off for a couple of years now. To be honest, the game both excites and terrifies me, which is why I can’t play it for too long. Not to mention some of the bugs that were present but is now luckily fixed with the game’s full release. Another thing that came along with said release is full VR support. Yes, this enticingly terrifying cannibal mutant experience has gotten just a little more real today with the release of its VR beta.
So, of course, I had to take a look at how well the developers have implemented VR into the game – not to mention how much more blood curdling those mutant screams can seem when they’re lifesize and attacking your physical (virtual) body instead of just a PC screen. Needless to say, I probably should have ordered some adult diapers before attempting this. It might have been a little easier if I had a buddy to join me, but multiplayer isn’t an option for now.
Check out my gameplay video of The Forest VR:
The Forest almost seems like it was made for VR – you know – when you look past all the current bugs and issues. The open-world environment really comes to life when you can see everything from all around. Some of the mechanics of the original game also translate well to VR, such as chopping, hunting, and fighting the mutants. However, it still needs a lot of work to become a really engaging experience. The inventory system, for example, is easy to use and works pretty much like it does in the PC version but it could be improved to create a more realistic experience instead of having a huge tarp with items floating in front of you.
That being said, it’s still a great inventory system and works well in VR. The same can be said for the building and crafting mechanics – they still work pretty much the same as they do in the PC version which is fine, but it could be better translated to feel more realistic in VR. Those are all pretty minor gripes, though, and I’d still just as happily play the game if these features stay as is. However, some mechanics, like drinking water and skinning animals definitely didn’t translate as well to virtual reality. The developers kept the old animations for these actions, which means whenever I tried drinking water, I would see my character bending down to take a sip while I ghosted back in the air.
Starving For More
Since the game is in early beta, there are some definite problems as well. During my playthroughs I kept glitching through the underside of the plane, I couldn’t pick up any food, and I sometimes couldn’t skin any of the ground-dwelling animals. Which meant starving was more of an issue than usual. The game also has some issues with player height and I felt very far off the ground for most of the game. Which wasn’t a problem for the most part – except when I tried to light the fire I’d built. I just couldn’t get the lighter close enough to actually set it alight.
Those issues are bound to be fixed as the developers go along towards full release for the VR version, though. So I’m not complaining too much at the moment. Getting a free VR update for such an expansive game is great – especially since there aren’t really any similar experiences available in VR right now. Plus if you want to play any major games in VR at the moment, such as Skyrim or Fallout, then you’re stuck with paying for the entire game again. Or, you get a limited version of the game that doesn’t really translate what you loved about the original to virtual reality – ahem Ark Park.
Which means I was overall very pleased with how The Forest VR beta turned out, and if the game receives some more polish then it will definitely be one of those must-have titles that attract a lot of new people to VR. The Forest is available now on Steam for $19.99 and the VR Beta supports both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.