The Assembly hands on

Now that the first wave of virtual reality games have hit the market, we’re eager to see how developers will tackle the issue of delivering more diversity to these virtual reality games. By now, we’ve had our fill of space shooters and these third person perspective games, so we’re itching to experience something and a bit deeper when it comes to the gameplay. A problem that has arisen with the proliferation of VR games is how playing some of them cause people to fill ill, in the way that motion sickness can inflict someone when there’s just too much motion happening for the senses to handle.

Well, we just got the chance to sit down and spend some intimate time with an upcoming game from the team over at nDreams, a developer/publisher that’s focusing heavily on developing games from the ground up for VR. Their upcoming game, The Assembly, is a different formula from the norm because it’s more of an interactive story game that’s meant for mature audiences. It’s been almost a week now since we’ve checked it out, but it’s an interesting game that requires you to be more attentive with what’s happening.

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Trust us, The Assembly isn’t for those who crave intense action all the time – it’s just not that kind of game. As the story goes, it centers around two main characters who are involved with this secret group called The Assembly, which conducts these experiments of people. Honestly, though, the story is probably the most crucial part of the game, mainly because it establishes its identity and what kind of game it really is. Our best description of the game is basically a VR version of murder mystery board game Clue, seeing that much of the time is spent on exploration, finding clues, solving puzzles, and trying to uncover what’s going on in the reclusive outpost where The Assembly is positioned.

Although the game is done from a first person perspective, we’re happy to report that we didn’t experience any kind of sickness during our game time – clocking in close to an hour in fact! That’s pretty impressive if you ask us, especially when many first person games we’ve checked out for VR can quickly be a test of how long before motion sickness begins to settle in. To combat potential motion sickness issues, the folks over at nDreams opted to do something a bit different when it comes to navigating in this world through the first person perspective. Essentially, we choose an area where we want to be “teleported” to, which seems to be 30 feet or so at the maximum.

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This implementation eliminates the jarring feeling that some might experience as they’re walking or navigating in VR, more so when you know that you’re just sitting in place playing the game. The left analog stick on the XBOX One controller allows us to look in free space, but moving towards a certain spot is done via its “teleportation” method. Meanwhile, the right analog stick quickly makes cuts left/right or forward/backward. You might say that this implementation isn’t fluid as you’d find on a traditional first person shooter, but given that there’s not a whole lot of action in the game, we don’t mind it at all.

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Going back to the story, it is what basically drives the entire game, relying heavily on us to explore areas for clues to certain things we’re doing. The two protagonists that we control in the game have different background stories, but you know that The Assembly has something to do with them. At one point, there’s actually a test conducted where we’re given the task to solve who killed this person at the dinner table. After listening to various testimonials and deducing clues from emails, we’re able to eliminate a bunch of people – only to uncover the culprits behind the murder.

Visually, the game relies on various cut scenes to fill in the story. The graphics in the game are okay, but we wouldn’t go far to say that they’re breathtaking or above others we’ve played through already. Most of the demo was centered around an underground lab, so we’re usually just navigating through long corridors and offices.

Slated for release on July 19th, it’ll be available for with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive – where it’ll be attached with a $29.99 cost. Later on, though, it’ll be available for the Playstation 4, following the launch of the Playstation VR.

What do you think of the Assembly? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments.


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