Review: Rez Infinite
Oculus Rift and HTC Vive owners finally get a chance to see what all the fuss is about.
During the 2015 PlayStation Experience, Enhance Games’ President and CEO Tetsuya Mizuguchi took to the stage of the show to announce Rez Infinite, updating the 2001 classic Rez for Sega Dreamcast. At the time of the original launch not everyone understood what the videogame was about, while others saw it as ahead of its time. Then along came virtual reality (VR) and the developer decided to inject new life into a title that’s over a decade old, creating Rez Infinite for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR, saying “With Rez Infinite, I feel like that time has finally come.” The videogame was available at launch for PlayStation VR and now it’s come to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. So should VR PC players be excited?
Your first thought before playing Rez Infinite might be how well a title that’s now 16 years old holds up to current technology, especially VR. Such was the minimalist styling and design that in reality it looks just fine. Rez was never about flashy 3D graphics as developers at the time created evermore elaborate worlds. It was the synergy between highly stylized imagery, audio and a simple gameplay mechanics that won it legions of fans.
So what do you get in this improved version? Well the original five levels are still there, reworked to look better than ever – whether you’re playing on a monitor or a VR headset (which you should be). These levels are completely on-rails, with you looking at your avatar as it flies along. Enhance Games has taken into account the various controller options available to players, so the title supports the HTC Vive motion controllers, Oculus Touch, Oculus Remote and a normal PC gamepad. The reticule can be controlled by any of these on their own, head movements or both, depending on preference. While you might find it easier using one, in fact having both turned on doesn’t cause an issue at all, seamlessly transitioning from one to the other as the situation requires.
To be honest, while these first levels are an engrossing mix of some beautifully choreographed visuals and music – as long as you like electronic tunes – they do feel somewhat constrained. With most of the attacks coming from in front – occasionally from side to side – at pace, you’re given very little time to look around and fully make use of the VR headset you’re wearing.
Not to worry though as the studio created Area X, specifically for VR. And it’s here that VR truly shines. You’re now given a completely free roaming area to play in, controlling forward direction and stopping with a press of a button, while turning is completely in the hands of the headset – the reticule can still be moved independently with motion controllers. Even though the area was designed as an experimental level, it’s by far the most fun and exhilarating of those available. Area X takes the sensory assault of the original levels and turns them up to eleven, creating an enchanting, almost mesmerizing experience that’ll leave you wanting more.
Yes, Rez Infinite is somewhat short, with an initial playthough possibly taking around a couple of hours, but you’ll enjoy (or should enjoy) every minute of it. So much so you’ll probably keep replaying it, improving your score, evolving your character and just taking in the whole spectacle. In answer to the first paragraph’s question about whether Oculus Rift and HTC Vive owners should be excited about Rez Infinite’s release, this is one VR videogame that should be in your library.