Published on December 9th, 2020 | by Chris O'Connor
A Game Of Space PC Review (HTC Vive)
Summary: Take on the role of an A.I. tasked with helping save the last humans as they search for a new home.
V.R. has long had a reputation of inducing nausea in some users. Issues with refresh rates and visual quality have dealt with a lot of the root causes but locomotion remains a potential trigger. AGOS aims to be playable by even the most tender gutted gamer.
The basic premise for AGOS is earth is effectively no more, humans need to find a new planet to call home and your job is to pilot craft to collect resources and make sure that the human race can find a new home.
So let’s start with that nausea avoiding approach. The game is set in a third person view, this alone is probably the main reason why the game will be playable by even the most nausea prone players. Movement is also, generally, pretty slow so there are no sudden movements to disorient the player and given you never feel like you “are” your avatar, the sense of movement never really feels like it’s something that is happening to your own body so your brain doesn’t have to battle with the conflicting notions of visuals that say you are moving one way while your actual body says something else. But the movement system is also very important to the appeal (or frustration) of the game. Basing the movement mechanics on Newtonian physics, a lot of your movement will be micro adjustments as you have to allow for inertia. That aspect is fine but the controls themselves (which may remind those of us with 3D printers of the movement controls when placing models in a slicer) can take some getting used to and the game does not really guide you in how to use them. You can and most likely will pick up the nuance of the controls over time… but it is quite jarring to be thrown into the game with no instructions and just told to get to a set point and left to get a hang of this new movement mechanic in a near void of sensory information (I felt like my controls were back to front to start with which really didn’t help that sense of control).
Once you do get a hang of the controls, you are sent on missions to collect “resources” which essentially means you are deployed to an area of space and have to fly around, find the resources then drive through to pick them up…. that’s kind of the majority of the game right there. As you progress, you will unlock different upgrades for your ships that will help you achieve your missions and “ensure the survival of the species”. In this sense it’s kind of like American Truck Simulator or similar games in that the actual act of doing the task is the game, not so much the end goal or a build up of story. This might work for some people, for others it may get very boring very quickly. I can quite happily play American Truck Simulator for hours but, as much as I love space, AGOS just felt to devoid of anything interesting.
I think one of the problems with AGOS is that your main missions is supposedly to save humankind… but never really feel particularly connected to any humans. You spend your time in generally a vast open landscape that seems to have no bounds, there are no voices, no conversations… just the stark emptiness of space. There’s no connection and so it never really feels particularly important to keep doing what you are doing. My other big issue is having to use a Uplay account to run the game. I really don’t understand why some games force players to create new accounts and sign in every time… especially when the games aren’t played online/multiplayer.
Do I recommend the game… not really. There will be players who really get into the movement mechanics and visual approach, but for me, as much as I love the Space aesthetic, I find VR games that take me out of the first person view to seem counter intuitive (I play VR to be more immersed in my character… taking me outside the physicality of that character just seems to be the opposite of that goal). I also appreciate what was being attempted with the controls but the lack of easing players into using them doesn’t do the game any favours (though once you figure them out, the working with 360 degree movement and momentum etc is pretty cool).