Well I’m a huge horror movie fan so when I received Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul by VRWERX to review on my PSVR I think excited was an understatement. I could barely contain myself, the excitement for me was like being a kid at Christmas. So, let’s not keep you waiting any longer for how my nerves fared in this my latest horror outing.
Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul has a lot of potential. You have a haunted house to explore. There’s a creepy cellar there for you too. Things move and dart about in the shadows through your peripherals. This game can make you jump and trust me it will make you jump and probably scare you have to death. Unfortunately, this is where Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul stops being everything you want it to be. VRWERX bully you into using your move controllers with no support for the trusty DualShock 4. Now don’t get me wrong, some games are great with the move controllers. Straight away I think of Until Dawn: Rush Of Blood, one of my favourite VR games to date. Unfortunately for me the horror theme, the VR headset and the move controllers are all they have in common with each other.
This game frustrated me more than it scared me unfortunately. I’m glad this wasn’t my first ever VR game. If it was, it certainly would have been my last and I would have ditched my headset forever. The tracking on the move controllers is substandard to say the least. I set up in my usual play space ready to rock and roll and was very rudely awakened when this game starts up, as a massive bright white light flash in your eyes every time, which leaves you blinded for a moment. Once I regained my vision I was met with the usual warning screens you expect to see. Things like beware of your surroundings and to take regular breaks and the likes. BUT this is thrown straight in your face so you feel like your inches away from these warnings and you want to move backwards to at least read what it says. Once you eventually battle to get past this screen you are launched straight into the tutorial.
There you are stood in a small room being told how to move forwards and backwards. Fine, great I mastered that with no issues. After that it shows you how to turn left and right, sure enough a piece of cake I thought, except for one flaw which to me personally is a horrible nasty flaw. The screen goes black for a second each time you turn left or right. This is off-putting to begin with but the tutorial gets worse. The next step of the tutorial teaches you how to pick things up, add them to you inventory etc. Picking things up is fundamental to realism in VR games like this I think. I spent over an hour trying to pick up a torch. First of all, this was impossible as the torch actually moved forward and backwards as you moved so you never actually got close enough to pick it up. Eventually I gave up for the night.
The following day I woke up to find the game had been patched. YES, I cheered. I got straight back onto the game, got blinded by the white light flash. Went cross-eyed from the warning screen being so close. I didn’t care in the slightest, I was finally going to play Paranormal Activity, the excitement had returned. THUMP I was knocked straight back to my proverbial knees again. They had stopped the torch from moving now, but the tracking on my hands were appalling. It looked like one of my hands had a glow stick and I was dancing to techno music, the other hand I couldn’t see it at all. I walked backwards and there it was, my other hand, at some strange angle which in real life my arm would have been broken. After many restarts and recalibration of my move controllers just in case it was my fault I went back to the game. Eventually I picked the torch up, this was a fluke more than anything. My hands kept disappearing while trying to pick something up off the floor and when you stretched in any direction your hands would vanish or have a fit. My camera could see me clearly and outstretched everything was fine, it could see everything. Then I realised it was the game.
I persevered with this game eventually making headway through the house, occasionally I jumped quite startled at what I’d seen or heard. Unfortunately, Paranormal Activity had sucked the life out of the game for me.
Graphically I actually liked Paranormal Activity. Everything looks sharp and clear. The 3D works well in this game giving a real sense of depth. Shadows and lighting are perfect 99% of the time with the occasional glitch. But you are talking rare cases. The graphics are powered by Unreal Engine 4, which has been utilised well here and that’s something VRWERX can be proud of.
The sounds in the game are also superb here. The atmosphere feels like it can be cut with a knife. Every sound through your 3D headphones has perfect placement. Straight away you know where the sound has come from and this is awesome. VRWERX again have chalked up a win for Paranormal Activity.
Hmmmm. Are you sadomasochistic? I mean REALLY??? The only way Paranormal Activity will stay in your games collection and be a game you play regular is when they open their eyes to DualShock support, and they fix the massive tracking bugs within the game and the movement system.
This is an easy one for me. Some will probably say I expected to much from the Paranormal Activity franchise. Don’t get this game unless you really want to experience my pain. I can’t stress this enough. The only horror in this game is the game itself. Wait till the game has been patched and fixed to a standard where it is actually playable.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.