I suppose it’s technically Shooter Season thanks to Halo and Call of Duty and Battlefield. I know that a “season” should by rights consist of more than three fucking games, unless you’re Leeds United – could someone who understands sport let me know if that joke made any sense – but they alone seem to have scared every other big release out of the pre-Christmas sales period so fuck it, let’s stick some iron sights up our noses and point at peoples’ heads all day like a rude six year old in a boil clinic. And you know what’s good for shooters? Civic unrest and dysfunction of authority. And you know what’s good for video game shooters? VR. I finally got hold of an Oculus Quest 2 this week, which I’ve been particularly intrigued by since I heard it boasted a wireless headset. I’m still a great believer in VR: It gives you headaches and makes weird things happen before your eyes, it’s all the fun of severe dehydration without the chapped lips. But one thing I’ve always thought holds it back is how you need nineteen cables and the morning off to get it all set up. And then you’ve always got cables stuck in your head running down your shoulder killing your immersion, and if your wife walks in while you’re nailing VR anime broads and you spin around too quick you run the risk of hanging yourself, and that’s a niche sexual thrill at best.
But not only is Oculus Quest 2 wireless, you also don’t need to rig cameras up around the room like a very unsubtle CIA operative, you don’t need a separate computer or console to run it off and compared to its peers it’s astonishingly affordable. Which it had fucking better be considering Facebook are backing it and those motherfuckers can eat loss like it’s Thanksgiving dinner. Which might as well bring us to the two major cons of the Q2: Firstly that you can only get it in white, and someone didn’t learn the lesson from the Wii that white is only the pupal stage of game peripherals before they blossom into “unpleasantly yellowish with brown crusty bits down all the seams.” And secondly it forces you to pay obeisance to Big Tech and the mere act of buying it pencils you in for a spot against the wall when the revolution comes. Even more than VR usually does, I mean. You need a Facebook account to use it and there’s basically no way this thing isn’t stealing your retinal data for use in the upcoming sinister cyberpunk dystopia, but being falsely accused of info heisting and getting swatted by Corpo enforcement is a problem for future Yahtzee. Present Yahtzee’s been bedazzled by fancy VR tech upgrades like turning around.
At first I was still clicking the right analog stick to turn bit by bit like a roomba in a furniture storage warehouse until I managed to resequence the old instincts and learn to just, you know, fucking turn around. I also like the feature where you can at any time switch to a view of the room around you because if people come into the room while you’re playing you can touch all of their bottoms and pretend it was an accident. Controllers are fine, they don’t quite have the comfort or the satisfying heft of the Valve Index controllers, but if we’re comparing it to the VR market, the fact that it’s only a slightly more expensive option than tying a smartphone to your face with the cord from an old bathrobe can compensate for a lot. So there you go, Yahtzee’s holiday buyer’s guide: the perfect gift for the hardcore gaming corporate bootlicker in your life. And good luck getting your hands on one before Christmas now, fuckface. But the other reason I sought out the Quest 2 is because it’s currently the only way to play Resident Evil 4 VR. Crafty buggers. This little English sheepdog ain’t willing to wait for that questionably secure hotdog to fall off the kitchen counter.
I feel like in the course of ZP I’ve reviewed Resident Evil 4 like nine times with varying degrees of directness so just to give you the quick summary: Third person shooty shooty angry europeans bad dialogue campy campy ooh scary scary monster fights village castle island big tits jug ears heeelp leooon smuggety smug deadety dead. One of my favourite games of its era and I was keen to see how VR would enhance its trademark intense back-to-the-wall poo-to-the-underpants combat. Well, first of all it’s hard to get immersed from the way the action keeps switching to video player mode to show Leon sommersaulting through a window or a quick establishing shot of the area we just entered, but in fairness, how are you supposed to translate those to VR? Make the player do a sommersault? Let them look at the area themselves with their eyeballs? But then immersion is always difficult in any VR shooter with a focus on two-handed weapons. How’s this for a million dollar idea – VR hand controllers that clip together for whenever you switch to a two-handed gun so you’re not having to stand with one hand awkwardly hanging in empty air while the in-game barrel bounces up and down like a public opinion poll in an election debate.
And maybe the connecting element could telescope so you could adjust the length and do the shotgun pumping thing, and maybe the interior of it could be lined with ground beef so it doubles as a peripheral for the anime porn users. Besides that, it certainly is a different experience to play RE4 in VR because one of the central characteristics of the gameplay was the fact that Leon turned like a forklift and moved like he was moonwalking the wrong way up an escalator, so now we can move freely, shoot without stopping and turn as quickly as our ageing spines will allow, parts of it get a lot easier. The fights with big monsters are all completely trivial because they’re over there laboriously winding up an attack on the spot I briefly passed through nine minutes ago on my way to drop incendiary grenades down their exposed bum crack. But on the other hand combat gets a lot harder in the bits when you’re having to look out for old marshmallow tits Ashley “the escort quest that perforated the eardrums of a generation” Graham. Who was previously good at staying behind Leon back when he moved like a wardrobe on a dessert trolley but all his newfound mobility makes the little hamster wheel in her brain fall off its axle.
So she gets grabbed by enemies a lot because she didn’t follow me into cover and got distracted by a brightly-coloured skirting board, but between protecting her and yourself and keeping an eye on the enemies and weapon switching and those lovely immersive reloads where you unconsciously hip thrust every time you snap your revolver shut, you have yourself a pretty engaging night in VR shooter town, my friend. There’s still all those fucking quick time events that RE4 indulged back before we realised QTEs are to game design what a turd in a pencilcase is to a beef wellington, but they’ve been slowed down with an obvious sound cue to make them less annoying. The least annoying thing would’ve been to remove them altogether but it’s important we remember our mistakes, and if one of my favourite games has to be branded on the forehead with a scarlet Q for all time then I’m in favour if it’ll stop its descendants from dicking about. In brief, a good game on a decent bit of tech, but with the wireless thing cracked here are my next points for VR to work on: keep getting smaller and lighter so it doesn’t hang uncomfortably off my face like a pair of 80s sunglasses made from depleted uranium, and think about weaning yourself off the corporate dicksucking. How about we start by cutting back to five bellends a week? Yes, fine, you can deepthroat on cheat day.