Preview: Detached

Can wandering alone through space be fun? Detached seems to think so.

Ever since Anshar Studios revealed its first-person space experience Detached back in January, the project has looked like an exciting project. Released screenshots have shown grandiose space settings and teased innovative combat. So at Gamescom 2016 VRFocus managed to sit down with Detached for some time to wander through the stars.

The demo used the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD), and showcased the single-player side of Detached. The videogame also features a PvP mode for one-on-one space combat, but that won’t be covered in this preview as the single-player experience was the best way to understand and become fluid with the control scheme.

Detached screenshot

At inception Detached had a far wider and deeper storyline to it, but the developers have cut back on it somewhat. Essentially there’s been a conflict between two corporations at a mining facility, and the war has resulted in you being the last surviving member of your faction. Equipped with a space suit that requires constant oxygen and fuel top-ups you have to survive in the harsh blackness of space, solving a mixture of puzzles as you go.

Starting in one of the space stations you’re instantly given a tutorial on the basic movement mechanics. These can sound convoluted to begin with but within minutes they should be easy to grasp and become intuitive with time. For example the left stick handles all your strafing needs, while the right stick handles where you’re looking. The triggers control forward and backward momentum, while the bumpers bring you to a dead stop. While all that is fine the final set of controls might not suit everybody. Clicking in either stick will spin you vertically in that particular direction. In theory this sounds like a vomit inducting mechanic as your body suddenly doesn’t know which way is up. But for some reason nothing happened, no simulator sickness, no stomach churning moment, nothing.

Once controls were in hand it was time to explore, the puzzles were fairly rudimentary. The door is locked and you need to find a power core or something to proceed. The difficulty increased by having to do certain areas quickly before the electricity switched back on or a fan did, testing those newly learnt flight skills.

But at times you don’t want to do anything but look at the spectacle that Anshar Wars has created. In the PvP mode the action is going to be too frantic to appreciate the bleak abyss of space, and the asteroids, planets and space stations that inhabit it.

Detached screenshot

Heading across the void to other space stations can be quite slow progress, but looking in the right areas will reward you with a boost to improve things somewhat. And its outside that the biggest puzzle was found. Dotted around the map are transmitters which need to be disabled, these needed to be shot in sequence with some handy lock-on missiles built into the suit. The only problem was getting there quick enough. To aid completion speedup tunnels are dotted around the area switch you have to fly though, giving a massive burst of speed. This was fine until hitting a small rock that sent the character into a vicious spin. Normally if this happens in virtual reality (VR) that’s it, headset off, and your brain feels like its been in a washing machine. But again no issue, after several seconds of spin then hitting the gamepads bumper to stop all was well.

From what’s been shown so far of Detached the videogame is shaping up very nicely. The controls, look and feel of Detached are excellent, but there is a slight lack of stuff to do in single-player. If the PvP side can inject some much needed action into the proceedings then this is a title to definitely keep your eye on.

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