Epic Games showed off Robo Recall as part of the VR game demo showcase here in San Jose this week at Connect 3, the annual Oculus developer conference. The demo showcase mostly features games that use the Oculus Touch controllers.
Robo Recall is an FPS, and it is one of my favorites so far this week. It converts many of the VR game mechanics from last year’s Bullet Train concept VR experience, which managed to steal the 2015 conference with its notion of teleportation and slow-motion bullets that you could dodge, catch, or even throw back at your enemies, all using the Touch controllers.
Unlike Bullet Train, this is meant to be a full-fledged game. Like so many of the games and experiences we were privy to this week, however, it won’t be ready for a while. Epic said it would be ready in Q1 2017 and it will be free.
The basics here: You have guns, and you shoot robots and spider robots and even big monster robots. You also have pistols, shotguns, and laser cannons.
Like with Bullet Train, you can use your guns to bash or backhand robots, and you can grab and toss bullets back at the robots. There are robots that show up with damaged limbs, and you can grab the robot by its mechanical lever and rip off the offending limbs. You can even bash the robot with its own ripped-off limbs. Discovering some of these elements happens a bit by accident at times, and it's exciting every time you do.
There are robots that shoot out laser beams, which you must duck. There’s a monster robot that you can weaken by shooting it in the knees and then jump on top and essentially remote control it to kill all of the other robots with its powerful weapons.
Teleportation is a major contributor here, along with several of the other games we've tried. Not only can you teleport for locomotion, but you can also teleport at particular angles. The game also teleports weapons to you.
This is all just great fun. I only played one part of one level, and there’s a great deal more complexity to explore, I was told. Nevertheless, just being able to shoot and move without discomfort, and to rip things apart, is fun enough for me.
There were a few things in Robo Recall that we saw in a great many games so far this week. The Touch controller, for one, works very well, especially for controlling guns. Successful aiming seemed to merely involve pointing in the general direction of the enemy and squeezing the trigger. In other words, precision aiming isn’t necessarily required . . .either that, or I’m really good. This is true for some of the games we tried, but not all of them.
Also, while you can see your hands and the weapons in them, you have no arms, no legs, and really no other body parts, which can be a little disconcerting at times. Guns are on your holster, which is where your hips are, but the holster is suspended in mid-air. Fortunately, the action was enough to take my mind off this discontinuity.