Published on April 23rd, 2022 | by Chris O'Connor
Vox Machinae Quest 2 Review
Summary: The long awaited release of Vox Machinae! No longer just a teaser demo on Oculus DK2!
This is a game that has history for me. I remember quite clearly when I first played the demo version on the Oculus Quest DK2… it is the first game I can remember feeling true immersion in. The fact that I was only using keyboard (if I remember correctly) at the time didn’t matter because the game took place in a seated position and that instantly made my actual real world sitting position match the game world I was experiencing which really tricked my mind at the time.
Now, years later, that impressive demo has been developed into a full game with single player and multiplayer components and with the Quest 2 and it’s controllers, it’s just as immersive, if not more so because the quest controllers suit the mech controls meaning your tactile sensation of holding the controllers fits (close enough) to the visual cues in game. The ability to interact with various parts of the cockpit also adds to that immersion… both in seeing your arm/hand move around but also in the way you can configure where your screens are and you can throttle forward or back etc… it helps you feel engaged with the virtual world.
But what is the game about. Well if it isn’t already obvious (from me mentioning mechs if nothing else), you essentially take on the role of a mech pilot. Originally just helping with mining operations, things soon take a turn and an unknown threat starts attacking your fellow workers. You step up and defend your fellow workers, your companies mining operations and attempt to uncover who this mysterious attacker is.
There’s a lot more here than that first demo (which essentially just took you through a pilot training simulation). You now have crew mates, story elements and on ship interactions between missions. There’s a slightly cartoony touch to the characters but not overly so… and the story isn’t super deep but it’s enough to keep things going and there are some humours moments along the way too (especially with the robot in engineering). But this is really about the mechs.
My first introduction to mech based combat games (at least that I can remember) was Mechwarrior in around 1989. I remember that with great fondness for the fact that you could target parts of your opponent and had control over your mechs. That’s why when I first got my hands on the demo of Vox Machinae all those years ago, I got an extra thrill because it felt like I had gone back in time to that first Mechwarrior game… but I was now experiencing it more directly from inside the cockpit. Now that the full game is out and you have those familiar elements of being able to choose your mech and change the loadout… it really is a thrill. If I’m being blunt I’d say that Vox Machinae doesn’t quite tick all the boxes… but it comes pretty close and given the size of the development team it’s a damn impressive game. I really look forward to what they can do with it moving forward and what else they might put out.
If you like mech combat and the idea of piloting a massive metal fighting machine… grab a copy because it remains some of the best immersion I’ve had in VR to date and I suspect it might be for you too (certainly for new comers to VR… sit them down and put them in the pilot seat and wait for the Keanuesque “Whoa!”). Even if it’s not on special it’s a pretty good price for the fun you can have.