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This week, Yahtzee reviews The Inpatient and Doom VFR.

Transcript Edit

So I thought it was about time we had a revisit - or rather, a "ve-risit" - to the world of VR; PS VR, that is, which stands for "PlayStation VR", and not, as one might expect, "Pukey Sickness Vomit Receptacle". I'm told the motion sickness thing is just a matter of getting used to it, though, so you might want to get some time in on VR now so after the machines take over, the Matrix doesn't generate more stomach chutney than power. And of the commercial headsets on the market, I do prefer the PlayStation VR. It's more comfortable to wear with glasses and easier to set up; I only need to balance one motion-capturing device on the piles of empty cider bottles that surround my comfy chair.

A new game came out for it this week called The Inpatient, which, in contrast to the last VR game we did, Wilson's Heart, which was about a dude in a haunted asylum where monster shit's going down, is a game about a dude in a haunted asylum where monster shit's going down. Well, let's be fair: for its faults, Wilson's Heart had puzzles, had some combat, and in brief, stuff happening, whereas in The Inpatient, um... hm. Well, it's got some very lovely corridors you'll have plenty of chances to get acquainted with. The Inpatient is a prequel of sorts to Until Dawn, that branching-paths slasher movie game from a while back, and so it takes a few moments to remind us at length that our choices will have consequences; for example, if we choose to get bored and stop playing, that will have the consequence of a slightly more enriching afternoon.

We're a patient in an asylum who's locked in their cell when the monsters throw a housewarming party and ends up trapped in there for weeks with nothing to snack on but mildew and an increasingly unhinged roommate. We have a couple of nightmares during this sequence that call upon us to walk down a hallway while occasionally, a scary thing suddenly appears and makes a noise like it's screaming while hitting the inside of a trash can with a cricket bat. I mean, come on, guys! Surely, the budget could stretch far enough that you didn't have to steal jump-scares from Newgrounds "Escape the Room" horror games. But then, of course, we get to the part of the game after we get out of the cell, which consists largely of following characters very slowly down dark corridors, and then I was like, "Fucking hell! All is forgiven, jump-scares! Come back and liven this the fuck up!"

I'm just going to spoil a lot of The Inpatient, because, trust me, missing out on this one is not going to haunt you to your dying days. The thrust of this and Until Dawn's premise is that if you eat human flesh, you turn into a wendigo, right, and the main diversion of the plot is whether you turn into a wendigo or your roommate does. Now, in the former, our roommate is absent - presumably 'cos we scoffed down their entire body with French fries and ranch - but I don't get why the roommate becomes a wendigo in the other scenario, because we're self-evidently not eaten; I don't remember looking down at any point and seeing that one of my legs was chewed off. Just a little plot hole, but there's so little plot, one hole turns it into a fucking engagement ring. It all culminates in the fantastic ending, where we get to the cable car to escape the mountain asylum and one character turns to whoever’s turning into a wendigo and goes, "Hey, you're turning into a wendigo! Yes, figured as much; bit of a pisser, isn't it? Well, how about all of us who are not wendigos sit in the cable car, and you can stay here and start it for us?" "All right; fair enough."

That was the fucking final boss, was it?! The explosive climax that I walked slowly down a whole five or six corridors for?! Eat shit, The Inpatient! VR games really need to grow out of making, open-quotes, "experiences" rather than games. They almost make me feel the way I feel after riding one of those simulator rides at the theme park; I can't believe I spent my allowance on that. So with that in mind, let's talk about another VR game I played this week which, controversially, was a game, and not just a walking simulator with no concept of personal space: Doom VFR, which, knowing Doom, probably stands for "Virtual Fucking Reality". I know they were going for badass, but when you say it out loud, it kind of sounds like you're sick of the whole concept. "Virtual fucking reality!"

Anyway, Doom VFR presents itself as a side story to the recent Doom, where we play a random dude who was in the Mars facility when the demons took over, but seemed to have already been partly zombified, because he has a weird habit of holding his hands out in front of him the whole time, like a sleepwalker with a sensitive priapism. Fortunately, the demons swiftly bite it off, along with a large percentage of his body, but our hero was smart enough to back up his personality on the solid state drive that morning, so he ends up in a robot body, somehow. So because VR tends to favor shorter games, so you don't play it for eight hours and get miniature TVs permanently fused to your eyeballs, what follows is a sort of CliffsNotes version of Doom 2016, where we teleport around to some choice locations from the game, pursue some nondescript button-pressing objective, and more importantly, rip off enough demon todgers to at least partially satisfy your mum.

So this is Doom designed for VR; it's presumably possible to play original Doom with VR, but you'd either need a concrete inner ear or a tarpaulin to sit on. In VFR, instead of the usual FPS free movement, we get around by teleporting and quick-dashing from spot to spot, and bite my nipples off and call me Billy No-Tits if it doesn't bloody work pretty well! In fact, I think this is the first VR game I've played that's pulled off the high-octane shooty action and didn't even make me feel sick; it made my head hurt, but, you know, Mum always warned you that would happen if you sat too close to the TV, so what the fuck did you expect would result from strapping the TV to your fucking face?

My expectations were low, 'cos from every description I read, it sounded like they were just going to turn Doom into a pop-up shooting gallery like a ferocious wolf being forced to mate with a ridiculously ambitious Corgi, but rest assured, absolutely none of Doom's trademark frenetic challenge is lost. Teleport across the room, shotgun two Imps in the face, let them all gather 'round for a space marine nipple salad, then teleport back out and rocket the place where you just were. Ha, ha. It's just good, old, plain, unqualified fun.

That said, the fun spikes highest when you are engaged in pitched battle and warping around a big, open arena, but at other times, you have to move down narrow corridors, and in that case, you feel a little bit silly teleporting your way along six feet at a time like a little hoppy murder bunny. And turning around is a bit of an arse; freely rotating yourself is still bad for motion sickness, or perhaps I mean, "extremely good for motion sickness". So we're still having to rotate in something like 30-degree increments, which is all very well when your game consists of walking very slowly down corridors, fretting over whether you should have had all that human flesh for breakfast; not so much when you've just teleported away from a heated debate with several Cacodemons and would like to turn back around and deliver a double-barreled counterargument.

Besides that, some of my criticisms of vanilla Doom still apply: gets a bit too easy towards the end when all the ridiculously powerful guns get introduced and are now just lying around everywhere like there was an earthquake at an American high school locker room. But it doesn't really hurt the game, so that's it! Doom VFR, possibly a leap forward for VR action games; The Inpatient, possibly a leap forward into a ditch full of very uninteresting rocks.

Addenda Edit

  • Virtual calamity: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • I had a friend who said he wanted to be cannibalised, but in the end he was only half in Ernest
  • Embrace the futuristic world of strapping things to your head
Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2018
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2 · Hellblade · Agents of Mayhem · Sonic Mania · Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle · Destiny 2 · Metroid: Samus Returns
Q4 Knack 2 and SteamWorld Dig 2 · Cuphead · Hob and A Hat in Time · Middle-earth: Shadow of War · The Evil Within 2 · Super Mario Odyssey · Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus · Assassin's Creed Origins · Sonic Forces · Star Wars Battlefront II · Hand of Fate 2 · South Park: The Fractured but Whole
2018
Q1 Top 5 of 2017 · Okami HD · PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds · Fortnite and Dusk · Doki Doki Literature Club! · The Inpatient and Doom VFR · Monster Hunter World