Solaris: Offworld Combat Review

Wow! The Oculus Quest has many amazing titles already available for it, but the first big VR game announced for this device is Solaris: Offworld Combat – an FPS (First Person Shooter) set on Mars. I’m not much of an FPS person (I prefer survival) so I was ready to dismiss this significantly, but I decided to give it a chance and see why so many people were excited about this game.

The game opens up with the protagonist choosing their name and gender. It’s nice that they took the time to include customization options like this, though admittedly it felt strange that none of my teammates had names or genders during the match “because everyone plays as one character.” This didn’t really contribute negatively nor positively to my experience.

Now I have to admit, this isn’t how any FPS I’ve ever played has worked. It was a bit disorienting because you can physically walk around in the real world and it will immediately correspond to your character in-game. I found this distracting for two reasons: First, because when looking down at your feet, you’ll see the same shoes that are on your avatar – which felt weird because I could move around in real life but not change my virtual clothes or body type unless going through menus. Second, if you look up from the ground/your hands/what have you – it’s kind of hard to tell what’s going on because all of a sudden there is no skybox anymore (as far as your eyes can see). I felt a little bit out of place in the world, though it wasn’t too bad once I had adjusted to this style.

Combat was just as I expected: fairly normal FPS gameplay with an added twist that you could move around the map by physically moving (walking or running depending on which you prefer). You can aim down sights, shoot rockets, and use teleporters like any other game – but again, it feels strange because when you’re turning around in real life there is no corresponding movement in-game. Looking up at your gun quickly reveals this to be true. If you want to really get into the action and feel like you are there – make sure no one is watching over your shoulder! The Oculus Guardian system (which prevents people from bumping into things) is especially useful here, preventing you from actually moving like you would in real life. If someone flicks your temple while you’re actively ducking for cover, the jolt really sucks! That’s what makes it great though; this game will make you feel like you are there! Except when looking around and seeing no skybox…

As far as graphics go – the game performs well on the Quest. The buildings look fantastic, even up close. The textures are also pretty good; I could make out individual pixels but it wasn’t distracting at all. There were a few times where I got stuck inside an object or wall, having to back out of VR and resume from a checkpoint. The frame rate was pretty steady throughout my experience, though some lag did occur when another person joined the room.

Overall I had a lot of fun with this game! It’s a great FPS that is uniquely designed to take advantage of the Oculus Quest, allowing you to move around in real life and see everything correspond perfectly on-screen. You can do more than just shoot opponents or run from them – you can activate traps, teleport opponents across stages, and even strap yourself onto speeding vehicles if you want something more fast-paced. This game does have some minor flaws but nothing too serious; after all it’s only been out for two days! I cannot wait to see how this game evolves as updates are released (especially since there is already a huge list on the official website).

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