If films like Harry Potter, and videogames such as Dark Souls are anything to go by, the general public love fantasy entertainment filled with wizards, goblins, potions and fire breathing dragons. Which is exactly the theme inXile Entertainment has chosen for its first virtual reality (VR) experience The Mage’s Tale.
An action role-playing game (RPG), The Mage’s Tale is a classic story of a sorcerer’s apprentice who’s learning to master the mystical arts. This is cut short however, when your master gets kidnapped, so you must go on a quest to save him and learn on the fly.
inXile Entertainment is using its previous RPG experience to create a fully fleshed out experience for Oculus Touch users, rather than just a short tech demo. Set to feature massive sprawling dungeons, the teasing demo the studio is currently showcasing does a very good job of highlighting the teams understanding of VR.
As with most VR titles at the moment The Mage’s Tale utilises teleportation as its main movement mechanic, giving players reasonable freedom to wander wherever they like. This works well enough, with certain areas providing a hopscotch style fixed point areas to navigate. Additionally though, there’s further movement features with incrimental sidestepping available to strafe out the way of incoming projectiles, and 45-degree rotation to ensure players don’t need to spin round and lose tracking.
As a wizard The Mage’s Tale is all about throwing projectiles, from fire balls and arcs of lightning to crazy bouncing triple shot, rainbow balls of death. You can haphazardly throw them if you think you’re a good shot, but it’s much easier to use the gaze-based lock-on system to inflict damage.
To make the spells you’ll need to brew up some potions and its here that inXile Entertainment has added a wealth of options, enabling an almost unlimited amount of combinations to be created. Why have a simple fireball when you could make one that ricochets of multiple objects, multiplies itself, and so much more. You’ll just need to keep an eye out on your travels for useful items.
If you haven’t guessed already from looking at the screenshots, The Mage’s Tale isn’t an ugly title. Some VR videogames don’t always look as good as developers initially make out, with sharpness being a consistent issue. There’s no such issue here, with the studio having created impressively detailed environments that are atmospheric and just beg to be explored.
At this stage inXile Entertainment has a pretty solid experience on its hands. The basic ground work is there for a rich, exciting fantasy adventure, that mixes up wizard battles with an insane amount of crafting options for those interested in testing out their alchemy skills. For Oculus Touch owners, The Mage’s Tale is certainly one to keep on the radar.