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Sun, 16 Feb 2020 14:00:00 +0000

It's weird how VR can make a familiar game feel like a completely new experience. For example, I've played GTA 5 many a time before and on multiple platforms, but looking at the world of Los Santos through the twin lenses of a VR headset allowed me to spot so many little details that I'd missed on previous visits.

The best way I've found to describe this phenomenon to non-VR users is to liken it to looking through a holiday brochure at photos of a resort you're planning on visiting. The resort looks beautiful from the pictures sure, and in your mind's eye you can easily picture yourself sat there by the side of the pool, sipping on a cocktail.

But those flat images are nothing compared to the feeling of actually being there in person, to stand by that pool and to see the size of it in three dimensions. To know the depth of it by peering over the edge into the water or to spot the little weeds or odd bits of wear and tear dotted around the paths that surround it because in the photos they masked by all the scenery.

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Sun, 26 Jan 2020 14:00:00 +0000

There have been many times during the past 10 years of watching The Walking Dead TV show where I've thought to myself, "Wow. What a stupid decision, you deserve to get eaten". That's part of the fun of zombie shows though. Not the wanting people to get eaten bit, mind. I'm talking about imagining what you'd do if you were in that character's shoes. About fantasising about what you'd be willing to do in order to survive.

I've played these scenarios out many a time in video games of course. It feels like pretty much fifty percent of all flat games out there are zombie games, so I'd like to think I've got a good idea of how things would go if I got caught up in these situations. I've also played a fair few zombie games in VR too, but The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners is probably the first one of these that delivers a truly authentic and believable feeling of surviving in the aftermath of an undead uprising.

In this week's episode of Ian's VR Corner, you'll be able to see how well I get on in my very own zombie apocalypse as I play through the first hour of Saints and Sinners on the Oculus Rift S. Well, not just play. More like role play, because I've created my very own TV show called, The Walk-Ian Dead. Enjoy!

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Sun, 19 Jan 2020 14:00:00 +0000

With Christmas done and dusted, there's undoubtedly going to be quite a lot of you out there sporting brand new Oculus Quest headsets. That's excellent news of course, but your first foray into VR can be quite overwhelming, especially when it comes to choosing which games to buy first.

But that's where this week's episode of Ian's VR Corner comes into play as I thought I'd go over ten of the best Oculus Quest games that I think you need to own in order to get the most out of your new headset. In no particular order, these are titles that not only show the Quest off to the best of its abilities, but also will provide you with the most fun possible across a number of different genres.

You can check out the video version of this round-up just below these words where you can watch footage of each game featured or, if reading is more your thing, you'll find my entire list just under that.

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Sun, 12 Jan 2020 14:00:00 +0000

Forget the loot box controversy, my biggest disappointment when it came to Star Wars Battlefront 2 was the lack of a dedicated VR mode. After the excellent, but rather brief Rogue One: VR Mission was included in the PS4 version of Star Wars Battlefront, I was fully expecting a bigger and better VR campaign in the sequel.

Sadly that wasn't to be, but where EA failed, an incredibly talented VR researcher and software developer from Utah University has picked up the slack. Project Stardust: X-Wing VR is the brainchild of Dylan Stout who spent his Autumn term in 2018 developing a VR experience for a study into Virtual Reality Sickness. Over time and with the help of a few friends, this experience has slowly morphed into a fully fledged, PC VR remake of the 1983 Star Wars arcade game, which follows Luke Skywalker in his X-Wing, Red 5 as he attempts to blow up the Death Star during the Battle of Yavin.

You can watch me play through the latest build of the game, which features dogfighting in space, turret clearing over the surface of the Death Star and of course the famous Trench Run in this week's Ian's VR Corner. Oh and I also create a rather bizarre bug that slams my X-Wing into reverse at a pivotal moment. Because of course I do.

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Sun, 05 Jan 2020 14:00:00 +0000

It's probably quite an understatement to say that 2019 was a good year for VR. Oculus released some new, game-changing headsets and published some incredible AAA VR experiences. The PSVR once again played host to a full year's worth of top notch titles and of course Valve announced the existence of Half Life: Alyx, a VR exclusive Half-Life spin-off that blew the collective minds of everyone in the gaming world.

Even the normally quite chill December was an exciting time for VR, with both my favourite VR game of the year, Boneworks and Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency, the sequel to one of the most popular VR games of all time, releasing on exactly the same day.

Now, if you've been paying attention to Ian's VR Corner in 2019, you'll know I had to skip Budget Cuts 2 in order to cover Boneworks before I went on holiday for Christmas. I'm putting that right this week though and you can watch me blunder my way through sections from the first 90 minutes of Budget Cuts 2 in this week's episode of Ian's VR Corner, which you'll find directly below these words. There's so much robot murder...

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Sun, 22 Dec 2019 14:00:00 +0000

Welcome one and all to this year's exciting instalment of the Ian's VR Corner Top Ten list where I'll be going over my ten favourite PSVR games of 2019. As per usual, the following list is completely my opinion and it only features games that I myself have played, so if I've missed out one of your favourites, chances are it's either because I thought it was a bit bobbins, or that I just didn't have time to give it a go. Either way, please do share the love for your favourite PSVR games of 2019 in the comments below and hopefully, together, we can inspire others to try them out too.

You can check out the video version of this list just below these words where you can watch footage of each game featured or, if reading is more your thing, you'll find my entire top ten list just under that.

10 - Ghost Giant

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Sun, 15 Dec 2019 14:00:00 +0000

Until I played Boneworks, I never knew how much fun the simple act of gripping and holding something was (get your mind out of the gutter, you!). Holding and gripping things is something we do every day; from this morning's coffee cup to the mobile phone you might be reading this article on. Gripping and holding objects is second nature to most of us and as such it's not really something that the average person would stop their day to think about.

When it comes to VR games though, the act of gripping and holding objects is often simplified compared to real life. Normally, the item will teleport to your hands when you reach out to grab it and then it'll sit there, locked into the exact place the game's designers wants it to be. Not so with Boneworks though. Items will still fly to your hands Force Pull style if you reach at them from a distance but after that? Well things change in a way that makes Boneworks one of the most realistic feeling VR games I've ever played.

You see, Boneworks has this really clever way of using both the grip and trigger buttons on your controller to allow you to hold things either tightly or loosely. This means it's possible to slide your fingers up and down the handle of a sledgehammer to find the optimal swing point to deliver a cracking blow, or to twist a hammer around in your fist so you can use either the blunt end or claw to attack your foes. It's such a simple thing, but it feels like a game-changer in VR.

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Sun, 08 Dec 2019 14:00:00 +0000

Like an unexpected blue shell from Mario Kart, Death Lap seems to have come from out of nowhere and crashed onto the front page Oculus store. Unlike the blue shell though, the impact of this one feels a bit limp and after playing it for over an hour, I'm less than impressed with the vehicular mayhem on offer.

You can watch me try out both the Rift S and Quest versions of Death Lap in this week's episode of Ian's VR Corner, which you'll find just below these words. The Rift S footage is present from the start but you can skip to the 13 minute mark if you just want to watch Quest gameplay.

The first thing that struck me about the Rift S version of Death Lap was just how budget it all looked. Everything felt underwhelming, from the amateur actor performing the intro video in his Poundland 'bandit' costume, through to the bland and simple textures and limp sound effects. Granted I'd just come from playing mega-budget, gorgeous games like Stormland and Asgard's Wrath and yes, Death Lap does only command a budget price, but still, there were points where it felt like I was playing a cheesy PS1 game rather than the cutting edge VR combat racer it wants to be.

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Sun, 24 Nov 2019 14:00:00 +0000

Watching the trailers for Espire 1: VR Operative before its release conjured up exciting images of a VR version of Splinter Cell or Metal Gear Solid, just with a generic robot replacing the usual gruff protagonist. There was climbing, sneaking, shooting and even a dash of slow-mo in there for added Matrix inspired coolness.

Basically, Espire 1 looked like it had all the makings of an excellent, immersive, VR action experience and in a way, it does. It's just a shame then that it's also rather janky at points, with some unfair AI and a collection of bugs threatening to spoil what should have been a real showcase for VR gaming.

With all that said, I had quite a good time during my first hour with Espire 1 and you can watch my shambolic efforts at stealth in this week's episode of Ian's VR Corner.

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Sun, 17 Nov 2019 14:00:00 +0000

The control schemes for VR games have come a leaps and bounds since the launch of the PSVR in 2016. Hell, just a couple of days ago I was praising the Rift exclusive, Stormland for pushing boundaries and creating a unique feeling of freedom with its smooth and speedy locomotion.

This is probably why I found Golem to be so intensely disappointing. Going from flinging myself around a huge virtual world like a sci-fi Spider-Man to what felt like wading through treacle using a bizarre, unnatural and imprecise method of locomotion was something that gave me serious Kinect flashbacks.

You can watch me swear my way through the first 90 minutes of Golem in this week's Ian's VR Corner, which you'll find just below these words. In it you'll be able to watch my disbelief as I experience the 'lean your body to move' locomotion method for the first time, something that made me feel sick in VR for the first time since July of 2018 when I experienced the pitch and yaw of Detached.

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Wed, 13 Nov 2019 15:29:00 +0000

For the first 15 minutes or so, Stormland feels like your standard, story-driven VR experience. Movement speed is slow, there are basic environmental puzzles to solve and your route through the game is linear and littered with points where you just have to stand around and listen to someone talk. Sounds more like Yawnland at the moment, am I right?

But then, something wonderful happens. After climbing aboard a transport platform your avatar, a voiceless robotic gardener named Vesper, is flown high up into the sky. Here, surrounded by a sea of undulating clouds are a series of floating islands, just ripe for exploration. It's here that you first attach the Slipstream Thruster to your arm, a device that allows you to rocket across the top of the clouds like Superman on roller skates and it's at this point that the game really opens up, giving you a sense of freedom that's rare in most VR titles.

Surfing on the clouds isn't the only way to get around though, the further you progress the more upgrades and enhancements you'll find for Vesper. The most useful of which allows you to grab hold of surfaces from up to 5 feet away. Then with a flick of the wrist you can launch yourself skyward and scale huge structures in a matter of moments.

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Sun, 10 Nov 2019 14:00:00 +0000

Beat Saber is a fantastic game because it's easy for anyone to pick up and play and it makes you feel like a Jedi. Pistol Whip, the new game from Cloudhead Games for PC VR headsets follows a very similar formula. It's also a rhythm action game that's very easy for anyone to pick up and play but this one makes you feel like you're John Wick, kicking ass inside the Matrix.

If you want to get a taste of what it looks, sounds and feels like to play, you can watch me sweating my way through three or four of the game's ten levels in this week's episode of Ian's VR Corner. As per usual, you can find that just below these words.

Thanks to the way the Oculus store works, I bought one copy of Pistol Whip that I'm able to play on both my Quest and the Rift S that I'm currently loaning. Handset tracking on both worked perfectly and to my untrained eyes there wasn't a huge amount of difference in the visuals.

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Sun, 27 Oct 2019 14:00:00 +0000

You can stop telling me off in the comments now, VR-friends because I've finally done it. At long last I've played Lone Echo and you were all completely right, it really is fantastic!

Press play on this week's episode of Ian's VR Corner (which you can find just below these words) to watch my jaw drop repeatedly over the first hour or so of Lone Echo on the Rift S.

It's been over two years since Lone Echo came out but even now it's still riding high in the Top Selling section of the Oculus store. There's good reason for this of course, the quality of this title is at times breathtaking, with the kind of AAA polish that easily makes this one of the best looking, most immersive VR games I've ever played.

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Sun, 13 Oct 2019 13:05:00 +0100

By Odin's beard! I've just stepped out playing the first 90 minutes or so of Asgard's Wrath on Oculus Rift S and if this isn't shaping up to be one of the best VR games ever made, I don't know what is!

If you own an Oculus Rift headset this could be your Loki day because Asgard's Wrath is absolutely gorgeous and a true feast for the eyes. Don't believe me? You can watch my jaw drop multiple times as I play through the opening hour and a half of the game in this week's episode of Ian's VR Corner, which you'll find just below these words.

One of the first things I noticed about Asgard's Wrath was how big it was, and I'm not just talking about the 40+ hour game length. The file size was a whopping 121GB so if your internet isn't up to scratch you'll probably have to spend an age downlOdin it (sorry I'll stop the puns now).

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Sun, 06 Oct 2019 14:00:00 +0100

There was thunderous applause at Oculus Connect 6 when Mark Zuckerberg took to the stage for his keynote speech and announced the Oculus Link. This exciting update for the Oculus Quest launches in November and is set to be a game-changer for Facebook's portable VR headset as it'll allow Quest owners to play PC VR games on their headset.

I was right there in the audience when this happened and as soon as the doors to the main hall opened, I rushed inside to try the Link out for myself. The Link wasn't the only thing I played however, I also went hands-on with as many upcoming VR games as possible and I've got to say, the future for VR is looking bright!

In this week's Ian's VR Corner, which you can watch below, I chat about my time in San Jose and give you my first impressions of the 6 best Oculus games that I played at the show. Not only that, but I also chat about my impressions of OC6 as a whole, show you some behind the scenes footage of the show floor and let you know exactly what I thought about my hands-on time with the Oculus Link.

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