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Preview: EVE: Valkyrie

EVE Fanfest is considered the home of EVE: Valkyrie, following a debut at the event in 2013 and the subsequent reveal of the first the Unreal Engine 4 edition of the videogame last year. A brand new build of EVE: Valkyrie was presented to the press this year, featuring a host of new additions including ships, gameplay modes and added functionality.

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New details on EVE: Valkyrie‘s key character, Raan, aside, the big news comes in the form of an entirely redesigned flight model. The speed of the videogame has been slowed significantly since the build shown here at EVE Fanfest back in 2014, and while this may sound like a detraction it actually enhances the gameplay. Players can now get up-and-close to their enemies, visibly aiming at specific point on an opponent’s ship as opposed to simply targeting an abstract marker in the distance. There is still an opportunity for long-range combat of course – given that one of the previously revealed specialist ship classes is a sniper – but with the Wraith and Heavy units closer is always better.

The Wraith performs much like in previous builds of EVE: Valkyrie: machine gun for long-to-mid range combat and missiles for high damage when in close. The machine gun fires directly in front of your craft while the missile locks by turning your head and looking directly at an enemy vessel. The lock can consist of up to five missiles which can help to circumvent a player’s flares or other avoidance techniques, however each additional missile takes longer to lock than the previous.

The Heavy is a slower, robust ship with only one direct assault weapon: a high velocity gun that fires in the centre of the player’s view with high impact damage. However, the Heavy is also equipped with a shield that when fired through can momentarily stun an enemy craft, making them an easy target. Using the Heavy as a frontline attack and stunning enemies to allow Wraiths to gain quick and easy missile locks is an obvious tactic, and one which will no doubt work well for beginners.

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EVE: Valkyrie still features team deathmatch, but the gameplay mode on show in this latest build was new for EVE Fanfest 2015: currently called ‘Control’. In this mode players are still able to add to their team score with kills, but a more aggressive alternative is to attack one of the three control points throughout the map. Getting in close and deploying a drone will reduce the shield of the control point and eventually take it for our own, increasing your point total significantly.

Another new feature added to this build was team speak. This may sound like a simple addition – and it is – but in practice it significantly alters the experience. No longer are you a solitary fighter surrounded by faceless blue and red icons; you are part of a team pushing against an enemy force attempting to achieve the same goal. Team speak works exactly as you’d expect – hold a button, speak to your teammates – but in it’s simplicity it’s a great addition.

‘Progress’ is the keyword for EVE: Valkyrie at EVE Fanfest this year, and this new build is a perfect example of that. It’s the same videogame that VRFocus reported on a year ago, and yet in near-every respect it feels more comfortable in VR and more enjoyable as videogame. Another build of EVE: Valkyrie was also made available to press at EVE Fanfest 2015, playable on the Crescent Bay prototype hardware, and VRFocus will bring you a hands-on preview of that version very soon.