Apex Construct release on PSVR sets a new standard for PSVR games as a whole! Yes, it has the usual turn and teleport mechanics to get around. But the game world, the story and the immersion mean that every PSVR game to follow will be measured against Apex Construct from now on.
Developer Fast Travel Games has a sure-fire hit on their hands in here. Trying to put Apex Construct into a genre is difficult. It is a first person, exploration, puzzle, action, mystery game full of suspense and intrigue.
The game begins with a disembodied voice, introducing himself as Fathr, explaining that you were dead. Whilst your spirit was floating in the void the world was split by some mysterious force. Fathr managed to bring you back from the void but another AI called Mothr wants you dead.
You see the split fractured the world and killed all the humans. You are the last human alive. Mothr has repopulated the world with violent robots and Fathr needs your help to put a stop to Mothr and restore the world.
Although, whilst Fathr was plucking your spirit out of the void something went wrong with the transfer and you lost your left hand. Not to worry though, Fathr has kindly provided you with a cybernetic hand.
All is not as it seems though. As you progress through the early levels of the game you come to find there have been at least 49 others before you. The more you explore in the game you find clues here and there that make you doubt everything Fathr is telling you. Who can you trust? Why are you here? What exactly happened?
Apex Construct uses movement controls that have become the standard for PSVR games. Square and circle on the right-hand move controller spin you round in 45° increments. Whilst holding square on the left- hand move controller brings up a beam of light that you can aim your teleport with.
Probably two of the biggest control mechanics in Apec Construct are the bow and the inventory. The bow works wonderfully. Aim with your left hand, notch the arrow and pull back with your right then release to let fly. Also holding the trigger button on the left controller will activate an energy shield from your bow to block incoming projectiles.
With a little bit of practice, you soon get into the swing of blocking and firing between incoming shots. The bow is upgradable in-between levels and a massive part of the game is not only picking the right arrow for the job. But also being able to switch fluently and quickly between arrow types.
One thing that really impressed me in Apex Construct was the inventory system. By pressing triangle on the left-hand move control you bring up your inventory where you can literally pick things up and put in or out of the inventory slots. When you put something in your inventory, such as a health drink, it becomes a miniature 3D version of itself. I don’t know why but I was really impressed by this.
The only thing to really let the controls down in Apex Construct is the outdated PS Move controllers. Everything works great until you come to typing into keyboards. Whilst you can tell the developers have made a conscious decision to make the keyboards big and chunky to allow you to type. Somehow the move controllers still struggle.
This isn’t a criticism of the game. I genuinely feel they have done the best they could with the technology on offer. This just merely points out that PSVR needs updated controllers.
The first thing you will notice about Apex Construct is its deeply disturbing and chilling overtones. Almost instantly you don’t trust Fathr. You have no idea who Mothr is, strongly suspect you have been lied to and the mistrust only develops further as you progress.
You may choose to follow the path set out to you by Fathr in the levels. Doing so will take you from one puzzle to the next and help you achieve your objectives. If however like me you decide to explore you will soon come to scratch a sinister if not malevolent agenda lurking beneath the game’s story.
The swift and natural controls. The ease at which you can block and return fire. The intuitive inventory. Coupled with the games eerie soundtrack and fractured story make for one of the best PSVR experiences I have ever had.
The world in Apex construct is a beautiful, stunning and yet post-apocalyptic place. Almost watercolour in its vista’s the beauty is there to be appreciated. Especially more so when you step from the colourful outside to the drab, grey facilities and oversized computers.
The ambient sounds throughout the different areas really add to the immersion too. Whether it is faint birdsong in the trees outside or the gentle yet intrusive hum of electricity inside the facility. Every aspect blends fantastically.
Walking by a soft gentle yet eerily empty bus stop can feel peaceful. Then suddenly a quick change in music and you have your shield up spinning around looking for enemies.
Apex Construct really raises the bar for PSVR and VR games in general. This hasn’t been scaled up to VR or ported in any way. Not only was Apex Construct developed graphically for VR but you can tell that every single design element from the artwork to the story has been designed specifically for VR.
What that means is rather than a VR experience we have truly a Virtual Reality game. Not only will Apex Construct fully immerse you in its world. It will baffle you, puzzle you and make you question who you can and can’t trust.
If the future of PSVR is more games like Apex Construct then we are in for an extremley immersive and troubling future.
Overall Score – 9/10
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