Game Review: Solaris Offworld Combat (Physical) for PSVR

Some of you may already be aware of this game and have maybe even played it. Good on you for getting into this on other VR headsets. This game is now available for owners offer a PSVR headset. This game is a riot, but let’s dig into it a bit more so you can see that I ain’t foolin’! So put on your helmet, grab your AIM controller, and let’s get into this!

Trailer:


Physical Game Unboxing Video:

Pros:

  • Motion Sickness. Let’s start with the elephant in the room. How does this game handle motion sickness from VR? Well, I have a really hard time playing VR on almost all games. where continual movement is necessary. I start off well enough, about a few minutes in I start to get sweaty, and then a few minutes later queasiness. By the time I’m 10-15 minutes in, I’m generally done.Solaris has a few options to help dial in a more comfortable playing experience. The game lets you play sitting down if you wish, which may make some of you happy. Others prefer to stand up so that they can move with the way the character is moving, making the experience feel a bit more natural. Rest assured that you can do both in this game.

    When it comes to any VR game that you’re excited to try,  you hope that the game is so fun and you have the ambition to want to keep playing. Maybe it will be distracting enough to outweigh your internal category 5 storm. Solaris’ options are better than most, I particularly like the way the blinders work. Skewing your peripheral vision a bit more helps remove that spinning feeling that you get.

    There is also a snap turn method. Where you turn a bit at a time. It feels more like swiping through pages than spinning around. It helps keep your mind grounded a bit more. I don’t know how to explain it much better than that, you’ll have to experiment. All in all, I found the blinders a bit more useful for my type of motion sickness.

  • Controllers. You’ll be delighted to know that not all PSVR games that support Sony’s AIM controller require it. If you are someone who is not a fan of gun accessories like light guns or Wii remote attachments, you can indeed use the Dualshock controller. Now, do I believe that it is played best with a standard controller? I really think it depends, practice makes perfect. You may find that it’s strange since you have to aim using the lightbar at the PS Camera.The AIM controller has been made to have very simplistic controls in Solaris, which is great because the game itself isn’t simple. It has a lot of depth. It would only make sense that First Contact Entertainment would use the AIM controller since they essentially designed it themselves from the ground up.

    If you’re in doubt about which to use, I’d say to play three rounds of each control scheme first. Whichever one you find yourself becoming more experienced at the game with or more comfortable with ergonomically, will be your weapon of choice. There is no right playstyle for everyone, which is why they gave options.

  • Gameplay. One of the great positives of this game is the actual gameplay. If you’re someone who has played laser tag and enjoyed it, you’ll be right at home in Solaris. Or, in terms of video games, if you’ve ever played Quake Arena and had a blast, you’ll like Solaris. There are definite differences, but if I had to liken it to other existing games, that would be it.In Solaris, it’s definitely run and gun like you’ll find in Quake. It’s a defend your home base style game as the sole game mode, more on that later. Besides gunplay, you’ll also have grenades as well as firearms at your disposal. Traversal is also widened so you can run and jump and even go vertical if necessary.

    The inverse is also true though. You’ll find that the tactic of non-stop moving and shooting isn’t always useful. So, just as in laser tag, you can and should use some stealthier tactics if the opposing team is dunking on you hard. There is plenty of cover to hide behind or jump down from to get the drop on others.

    You’ll work with your teammates using voice chat to even potentially devise tactics and use each other’s eyes. The game can be played any number of ways really, depending on your group. I would just say that if you’re not leaning on your team and vise versa, you’re likely to lose the match.

    Matchmaking, by the by, is simple and fast. The game wants to get you into a match fast and back into the next one. It never wants you to leave really! I had no problem popping in my European disc and connecting with players on my North American PS4.

  • Audio. I think that the audio in Solaris Does a decent job of conveying several things while you are playing. Since it is a VR game it is definitely difficult in some games to know where you are in the scope of things if you can hear people or players or viral mental sounds behind you and around you. Balanced auditory elements are entirely necessary for a fully immersive 3-D game.I think that First Contact really delivers on the sound design and balancing the audio. It seems perfectly fine-tuned. You hear yourself and the gun at point-blank range the loudest. You’ll also find a sound confirmation for the “kill” once you take an opponent down. This is great if you’re running and gunning, maybe you can’t be sure if you got the guy.

    You can hear the sounds all around you as people run and jump and fire their weapons. Beyond that, the music is mixed in, of course. I don’t believe that the music is too loud or too quiet. And the music in this game is…fine. It becomes something that you can definitely tune out and forget about. I would gladly welcome custom soundtracks.

  • Weapons. In Solaris, they have a variety of weapons. There are not tons of them, because then it’d be hard to start to learn the flow of the game. You can run and gun easier with some weapons than others. So memorizing how to aim and how fast to move is vital. Too many weapons would muddy the game. First off, as mentioned before, besides guns you also have frag grenades. This is useful if the people are moving too much for a single bullet to get them or if you see more than one opposing member near each other.Weapons range from small and accessible to large and dangerous. The smallest one is what you begin with when you spawn, is a handgun. It’s a pistol that is held with both hands, I do wish we just had two of them that we could dual wield. We could get shots off faster.

    The assault rifle is an automatic weapon, so if you feel that the pistol is too slow, find you an assault rifle. Do you prefer slower but more powerful shots with a broader range? Don’t worry, this game has a shotgun for you. Hilariously enough, the game also features a missile launcher and a grenade launcher as well. Those are obviously the largest and most potent if timed correctly.

  • Visuals. The still pictures in this article do it better justice than the actual gameplay. I do believe that it looks better on PC than PSVR, but that doesn’t mean that it looks bad here. The PC version really depends on your headset and PC hardware in unison. The PSVR is obviously limited for now since it has to be until Sony releases their PSVR 2.The best way I can describe the look and tone of the game is Tron. Or it seems as though they were heavily inspired by Tron. Of course, Tron never had guns, but the aesthetic of it all. Of course, there are other inspirations. Several of the walls look as though they have markings of corporations, yet almost more stylized like graffiti ala Jet Set Radio Future. The main fit and feel of this world is Tron, Jet Set Radio Future, with cover sprinkled about like Gears of War.

Cons:

  • Leveling. Unfortunately, you will find that there is no method of leveling up in this game. It’s really just customizing your player with unlockable wearables. You’ll find that the lack of classes means it’s run and gun for everyone, no medics or anything of that nature. If you’re wondering if the game says “just stay alive until you die”; not exactly. You’ll have health and shield boosts you find around the map. If you do die, you respawn back. The game continues until the match is over. For good or for bad, the game is that way.
  • Modes. Speaking of what the game lacks in terms of depth. The last point could be remedied quite easily. They could add a mode where you’re at least ranked and can progress. Will they? Only time will tell. The game also is “missing” a single-player mode. I don’t know that it was anything more than the fact that they wanted an online only game. But seriously, just add an offline component that is still a team of us on a couch, working our way up the levels. Almost like an arcade that you continue through the stages of enemies until the end.
  • Visuals, Pt. 2. I’d love to have seen variety throughout this game. The levels all seem to just be a continuation of the previous one. Even if they are randomized, they still all just look the same. Don’t get me wrong, the look isn’t bad, but seeing the same thing over and again can grow tiresome. They don’t have to change the way that the levels are set up to remedy this issue. A simple texture swap of a few levels would go a long way.First Contact could make one an outdoor cityscape, to make it more like JSRF. They could have one that is all dark blacks and blues like Tron Legacy. They could have one that is all white, so there are no visible edges to the cover and slopes, etc. which would add a higher difficulty in combat for cover but also finding people would be harder. It is worth mentioning that yes, they do increase the number of maps as time goes by. But the bummer of it is is that it all still looks about the same. Changing the layout with different obstacles and new pieces in the world is fine, but the real fit and finish never changes too much.

    I was also bothered by the gun animation. Like, why the gun is so shaky? You don’t notice it all of the time since you’re supposed to be in the heat of the battle. But if you do move slower, you’ll notice you can see it vibrate on screen. We need an update where the weapon vibrates a lot less or not at all!

    One last point about the visuals. I’d normally say that I recommend playing on a PS4 Pro if you want the best-looking version of a game. It would run smoother, has less noticeable jaggies, and you’ll likely also feel less queasy. However, with Solaris, you will find that there is no PS4 Pro mode. So you can play this on a PS4 Pro, but you will not find many enhancements. It seems to me that they should stop releasing more maps for a moment. Give themselves a chance to iron stuff out visually.

Final Thoughts:

Solaris: Offworld Combat is a title that must honestly be played to know how good it is. It can absolutely be better though. Improving the visual imperfections and giving the levels more variety is going to be key to making this game what it should be. However, I do still recommend playing it. Taking the good with the bad isn’t all that, well, bad. This game has so much more to offer than it has in issues. The motion sickness issue is on a person by person basis. I’d recommend buying the game physically so that if you have an issue, you can return or sell the game to someone else. Buying from Sony digitally and expecting a refund is a bad idea.
Anyway, I digress. If you like quake’s fast-paced run and gun and you like the team aspect of online shooters or even laser tag, this game is totally for you!

Purchase Links:

PSVR Digital

PSVR Physical

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