Farpoint: Creating reality out of the unreal

In Farpoint, you and your comrades warp to an unknown planet - a barren Martian world with endless stretches of red sand, howling wind and an array of nasty creatures to kill.
In Farpoint, you and your comrades warp to an unknown planet - a barren Martian world with endless stretches of red sand, howling wind and an array of nasty creatures to kill.PHOTO: SONY INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT

Farpoint is one of the first games to make use of the PlayStation VR Aim Controller, a trapezoid- shaped plastic gun controller for shooting games.

It comes with a joystick, direction pad, triggers and Sony's distinctive light sphere perched on the end of it for the PlayStation Camera to track.

Using the Aim Controller with Impulse Gear's Farpoint was one of the most immersive VR experiences I have had so far. It was so realistic that, as I was standing in line for the demo, I watched someone who was playing the game drop to his knees halfway, probably because his character fell or he was trying to move in the game.

In Farpoint, a catastrophe has befallen Earth, and you and your comrades warp to an unknown planet - a barren Martian world with endless stretches of red sand, howling wind and an array of nasty creatures to kill.

The 15-minute demo that I tried brought me through a variety of scenarios, from shooting up giant spiders to crawling though caves and edging along a narrow ledge jutting out of a sheer cliff face.

The beauty of it was how intuitive and believable everything felt. For right-handed players, a small joystick under the left thumb controls movement, and your right finger controls the trigger.

Tracking is one-to-one, which means that your in-game movement is mapped exactly to real life. For example, if you lower the gun and shoot from the hip, the in-game gun will reflect that and, if an enemy appears behind you, you will actually have to turn all the way around to shoot it.

The Aim Controller's tracking was impeccable, and its hepatic feedback made firing the gun feel very, very satisfying. Different guns felt different, with a machine gun producing a low, constant rumble and a shotgun giving a single sharp kick.

In the main chunk of gameplay, there were no overlays or voiceovers to break the brilliant graphics; it was just me finding my way through a wasteland and fighting off different creatures.

It felt so real that, as I crossed a canyon on a narrow rocky bridge high above the ground, I found myself walking slowly and trying to balance, terrified of falling.

And this experience - creating reality out of the unreal - is what VR is about. While Farpoint does not yet have a release date, it looks set to be one of the must-buy games for any PS VR owner.

Lisabel Ting

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2016, with the headline 'Farpoint: Creating reality out of the unreal'. Print Edition | Subscribe