Ready Player One: Oasis Beta - Review

I went and saw Ready Player One in theaters for the second time, this time with my brother who had not seen it yet. I got a chance to look for more of of the references and such, but I still got into the story. It got me into a VR mood so I got onto my Vive when I got back to the house. Funny enough, when I got home I saw that RPO: Oasis Beta had finally been released on Steam. It's a free game, no micro-transactions, just free.

The first thing I jumped into was Planet Gauntlet, which is a game based the old school co-op game Gauntlet, which I have played a lot and also love the more recent versions like Dark Legacy on the PS2. You're forced to the role of the archer which may bum some people out. One of the biggest negatives for me was that the only locomotion type offered is teleport and the way it's handled was not the best since you can't see the exact point that you will teleport to and it is slow. As a slight negative, the bow and arrow mechanic were now the bets I've seen, but they were not the worst. Levels were randomly generated, so fans of rouge-likes will really enjoy it. My favorite part of this one was how you collect money in that you hold your hand out, palm faced up, and the coins float to your hand, just like in the movie version.

I then jumped into the Blocks game, which was a Pong style game. It was actually really fun and one of the best versions of that game type I've played. Some interesting mechanics with slowing the ball down and it looks like it may support multi-player soon. It was a little glitchy; I'd complete the tutorial but the first level wouldn't unlock until I backed out and re-entered. Same with level 2. I beat the boss of level 1 but then no level 2 unlock yet. Fix those glitches and add in the multi-player and this could easily be a standalone $15 game.

Battle for the OASIS was the weakest of the bunch. If there was one genre that we do not need more of in VR, it would be standing wave shooters. While there are some cool ones out there like Space Pirate Trainer, Serious Sam: The Last Hope, The Brookheaven Experiment, and others, this doesn't come close. Weapons were very week and there was really no need to use anything other than the default pistols (they had the best damage output, massive amount of ammo, lasers that made headshots a breeze, and a short reload time) and the enemy AI offered up zero challenge or diversity in the gameplay. I'll say that the boss fight at the end was pretty cool and reminded me of something from Time Crisis, but having to go through the rest of it to get to the boss fight isn't worth it. At least they offered a level select if you just want to get straight to that.

Rise of the Gunters is the best game in Oasis Beta. It's made by the same developers that made Gunheart, and it draws a lot from Gunheart. Similar weapons, UI, and movement system (you can use teleport or smooth locomotion), but it differs in that it's far more arcadey than Gunheart. It throws a ton of enemies at you. I have a 1080 Ti and left the game on the default settings (which were Ultra) and my frame-rate did drop below 90fps quite a few times (though it's hard to tell with all the chaos). It's broken up into three levels and each one has its own theme to it. Level one is a simple battleground, level two offers up a little bit of verticality as well as a Centipede like worm that flies though the level that you can shoot down for lots of bonuses, and the final level that cranks the verticality up to 11 and just throws a lot of various enemies at you. 

For a free game collection, there's a lot of content here and it's fairly well polished. Rise of the Gunters is one of the best free shooters out there. and could easily be a standalone shooter. It's not going to beat out Rec Room for best free game on VR, but it's still something that every VR user should check out.