Hi folks! It’s Robert here.
Having spent a good couple of weeks with PSVR, I can tell you that the experience continues to touch me on a profound level. When I first played around with the headset, I was doing it with others around me, playing multiplayer things and making it all very social. That little honeymoon period was all about showing off the exciting new gadget.
Now that I’ve had a night or two completely alone with the thing, the true potential of VR is making itself known.
Life can be hard at times, and there will be days when you are thankful for a little bit of escape. I’ve always been fearful of the notion that VR can act as any kind of escape. Fleeing from reality into technology is something that is hardwired into us as a negative act. It’s the jumping-off point for so many doom-laden science fiction novels. We are humans – we shall not find solace in machines.
But in reality, I think that VR can have a very soothing, meditative effect. It’s not so much an escape as it is a tool for mindfulness. It’s a way to turn inside, not out. And nowhere is this more apparent than through REZ: INFINITE, and particularly its outstanding AREA X bonus level.
I’ll be focusing on this one level in this short review, because many of you will already know what REZ is (an arcade shooter in a beautiful polygon soundscape) and I don’t want to cover old ground. I will not show you any images of AREA X, and I suggest that you don’t go looking for any.
AREA X is something new. It feels like an evolution of REZ and, fittingly, feels so much more human. The area itself is beautiful, and you are surrounded on all sides by pulsating light. You have free movement, to an extent, able to fly forward and pull back, your direction set to anywhere you look. Stars explode and colours ripple all around you. This is a VR game you must play standing up, because you will feel a true sense of freedom and lightness as you float through each stage.
Videogames rarely try to tap into the human desire for a spiritual journey. Of course, thatgamecompany’s masterpiece Journey did it so well, distilling its gameplay down to what became, in essence, pure meaning.
REZ’s AREA X doesn’t quite plow the same field. This, instead, is a journey of wonder and awe, ten minutes of mysticism and delight. It strikes a chord with you because, first of all – hey, human beings made this beautiful thing. And then there is the realisation that you are inside it. And soon after that, you submit to the fact that you are on your way to something wondrous, in full understanding of what a joy it is just to be alive to witness it.
AREA X alone is worth the price of REZ: INFINITE. In fact, I’d say that AREA X justifies the price of the PSVR kit itself. It is a truly singular experience, a bonus level that truly lives up the name. You came expecting a game, but here’s your bonus – a genuinely affecting, emotional ride across the shimmering potential of the human mind.
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