Preview: Feral Rites Brings Brawling to VR

Following the release of Edge of Nowhere as an Oculus Rift exclusive earlier this year, Insomniac Games are coming back with another videogame built specifically for virtual reality (VR) this month. Feral Rites is a brawler that, much like Edge of Nowhere, follows a very traditional genre formula with aims of adapting the template for the brand new medium.

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A scrolling beat-‘em-up akin to Streets of Rage or Final Fight but eschewing the modernization presented by the likes of Devil May Cry or God of War, Feral Rites instead opts to follow the likes of Fighting Force and The Warriors, Feral Rites is traditional genre gameplay transplanted into a 3D world, with the modernisation coming from the choice of medium opposed to innovating within the gameplay design.

Of course, it could be argued that choosing to bring a much maligned genre to VR in the first place is an attempt at innovating, especially given Feral Rites’ back-to-basics approach. However, in the version VRFocus played there was little to suggest that Feral Rites could be anything more than a port into VR rather than genuinely progressing the genre. Multiple paths and a slowly unlocking upgrade system are all well and good, but far from defining additions.

Edge of Nowhere suffered from a similar presentation early on in its gestation, and has since proved worthy of bringing third-person action/adventure gameplay to VR. Feral Rites could well follow the same path as it’s true that the combat system at its heart is – although basic – pleasingly solid. Normal attacks, combo maneuvers and specials are complimented by the transformation ability. The player’s hidden power is control over their inner beast, able to transform into a small selection of feral creatures each with unique talents to overcome the many obstacles and combat challenges in Feral Rites.

The videogame also promises a number of customization features, from collecting gear to upgrading traits. However, in VRFocus’ time with the videogame it felt as though these elements may be heavily structured – thus limiting the ‘customisation’ aspect of the videogame and leaning more closely towards a regulated progression system – however it will take further significant gameplay time with Feral Rites to truly explore the opportunities here.

Luckily, VRFocus will get that opportunity very soon as Feral Rites has been confirmed for release exclusively on the Oculus Rift next week. You can expect a detailed review alongside the launch of Feral Rites, as well as further updates concerning Insomniac Games’ other VR projects.

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