With the advent of consumer VR we have been promised new gaming experiences; the kind that had been, up until now, impossible!
Yet here we have ‘Until Dawn: Rush of Blood’ giving gamers a chance to play a genre that had been placed on the scrap heap thanks to the dawn of the HD era.
‘Rush of Blood’ is an old-school on-rails shooter in the vein of ‘House of the Dead’ and it is one hell of a ride!
The game is a spinoff of ‘Until Dawn’ with the central conceit being that you are on a roller coaster and you inhale hallucinogenic gas from the masked killer from the mainline title, it is this gas that creates the horror. And be under no doubt, this game will scare you.
SuperMassive Games showed their understanding of the slasher movie in ‘Until Dawn’ and here they show an innate understanding of the classic Ghost train. This means that all the scares are heavily choreographed and most of them come from nowhere! Sure it’s cheap but, my god it is effective in VR and it is a hell of a lot of fun!
This is a game that demands very little from the player – much like its sister title; it only asks that you allow yourself to be taken along for the ride! If you can allow yourself to look beyond the very obvious limitations of the genre you will find a game that is more than capable of entertaining you in a way like you have never experienced.
‘Rush of Blood’ shows an incredible understanding of VR – it ensures that, oftentimes, scares happen within your personal space – things pop out right in front of you, enemies rush you, they come from behind you and you will physically react every time!
It is certainly a rush and it will get your pulse up!
Jumpscares are not the only string to SuperMassive’s bow though; they often mess with you by using misdirection. The title screen is an excellent example of this – you hear someone sing a creepy song and; because of the ludicrously good 360 audio, you instinctively look towards the source of the sound; as it moves around you, you turn the other way and BOOM!
‘Rush of Blood’ also plays with your senses; it will deprive you of vision in various sections as you progress through the darkness, it will overload your hearing in others and it will even throw your sense of touch by throwing rollercoaster high speed sections at you. This is all incredibly effective and it all combines to create a pervasive atmosphere that permeates through the entire game and will leave you feeling exhausted.
From a technical standpoint ‘Until Dawn: Rush of blood’ is a marvel; you will travel through houses, tunnels, and forests – the tracks all rise to magnificent heights and plummet into the ghoulish depths. Everything looks beautifully horrifying, the environments are well realised while the enemies look suitably disturbing. The stereoscopic 3D gives everything a very convincing depth you will becoming increasingly more unsettled as you travel down long dark corridors and those heights will make you wince (in a good way). There is also a tangible sense of presence here that makes everything unnerving, you will feel that you are on a moving platform going through these ghost trains. All of this is without a hint of any motion sickness that could hamper the enjoyment of the game and that is a testament to SuperMassive games and their technical mastery of VR the first time of asking.
The motion controls create a tactile shooting experience that is incredibly close to what you remember in the arcade. The tracking is completely flawless, in my 10+ hour playtime the tracking never got confused, it never wavered, it just worked. At the beginning of the game you will find it tough to juggle two guns that reload independently of one another, the enemies, the scares and the movement. After the first track or two however, you will find yourself becoming incredibly proficient at everything, you will be balancing it all expertly, reloading each gun as and when needed ensuring that you always have at least one ready to fire.
You’ll need those bullets too because this game is fast, frenetic action and it is an absolute blast to play! Enemies will jump out from everywhere; bats/birds/weapons will fly your way, environmental obstacles will need to be ducked under, and bosses will fill the entire screen. You’ll undoubtedly pull some action hero poses as hordes of enemies rush your position. It is everything you expect of an arcade on rails shooter and it is just as much fun as you remember them being. In fact it is more fun than you remember because now you are in the experience and having the time of your life as you blast the enemies back to the hell they came from.
Sure the story mode is short at around an hour or two of playtime but it is incredible condensed and very enjoyable. There are seven courses each with multiple routes and each focus on some very common fears. On top of story mode there are collectibles and leader boards and although replaying the tracks loses the fear – there is more than enough to shoot that it never ceases being fun. While it’s hardly bulging at the seams with content there is more than enough here to enjoy.
You’ll scream, you’ll shake in fear, but you’ll laugh in equal measure! For all of ‘Rush of Blood’s horror elements, it is incredibly good fun all the time – bloody good fun!
For a game that has its roots deep in gaming’s past it is presently one of the best games on PSVR!