Preview: Seeking Dawn – An Ambitious FPS That Needs Finesse
It's aiming to impress but is it trying to do too much?
Ever since the release of headsets like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive in early 2016 one of the biggest gripes players have had with virtual reality (VR) content is the actual duration. Tech demos were prevalent as developers found their feet and what the market wanted. Thankfully over a year later that situation is improving with ever larger virtual worlds appearing. Coming out of nowhere a few weeks ago was Seeking Dawn by Multiverse Entertainment, a huge first-person shooter (FPS) adventure that aims to provide hours and hours worth of gameplay. At this stage – with a release scheduled for the summer – it might just be trying to achieve way too much.
Showcased during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2017 with HTC Vive, Seeking Dawn is a sci-fi FPS much like standard videogames such as Halo or Crysis, going for enormously rich sprawling environments filled with enemies. For the demo two players teamed up to tackle an early part of the videogame, with impressive cinematic visuals giving a little story intro before you get to control the character.
Starting in a military compound you’re given the basic layout of controls, finding out that Multiverse Entertainment has decided to go for the riskier option of full touchpad movement rather than the safer bet of teleportation. This is a bold move – especially as there didn’t seem to be any options to switch – as not everybody can handle those full movement controls. Whilst movement was fairly accurate there were times later on in combat when it did being to feel rather twitchy, and strafing left or right, or trying to go backwards to reposition on an enemy wasn’t as anywhere near fluid enough to quickly flank or duck behind cover.
While the final videogame will likely have lots of weapons – as well as survival elements such as crafting, cooking, sickness, hunger and oxygen which weren’t available – for the demo the studio gave a duel loadout to try. In one hand an assault rifle, while in the other was a two function shield system, whereby you could hold it as a standard shield to shoot round, or drop a barrier on the ground for you or a team mate to take cover behind.
This sounds great in principle with plenty of VR titles like Space Pirate Trainer offering some sort of shield option for when things get really tough and having two guns no longer becomes a viable option. In Seeking Dawn however there never really seemed to be a moment where you could truly make use of it. When the first battle commences it’s just an onslaught of enemies, and even with a team mate the 10 – 15 minutes of game time allowed was just nowhere near enough to fully get to grips with the combat, with enemies almost attacking from all sides.
While intense it certainly shown what seemed to be intelligent AI hostiles, ranging from standard gun wielding soldiers to smaller floor dwelling creatures that would scurry through the grass to catch you unawares.
The design and proposition of Seeking Dawn is certainly impressive, there’s a lot going on and the short demo barely even scratched the surface of what Multiverse Entertainment are trying to do. If the title wants to be a great experience for VR users then it does need some polish – and hopefully more movement options – but it does seem to be going in the right direction. Definitely keep an eye out for further coverage as Seeking Dawn could well become a surprise hit.