From Other Suns Is A Promising Mix of FTL And Star Trek
Gunfire Games' latest showcases a level of depth uncommon in VR shooters.
One of the exciting periods in the lifecycle of a proven gaming platform is shortly after the first year of its launch. That's when the second wave of titles come out, games that were not rushed to be part of an often crowded launch library. What you often get in the second year are more substantial experiences and, in the case of VR platforms like Oculus, games that don't feel like tech demos. Such is the case with From Other Suns, an Oculus-exclusive cooperative first-person shooter influenced by Faster Than Light. After spending close to an hour with the game, I am confident that this roguelike will have longer legs than your typical VR shooter.
When I wasn't caught up taking out homicidal robots, I was managing a ship with my two crew mates. We pored over our star maps, teleported to new missions, assessed our loot, and traded weapons we picked up during successful assignments. All the while, we're trying to make it back to Earth, racing against aliens who managed to ride our coattails when we were out experimenting with a warp drive.
On paper, having all these components in a single game sounds ambitious, but developer Gunfire Games' effectively blended these features into the closest thing I've experienced to an ideal Star Trek game. The only differences is that From Other Suns lacks planetary exploration and you're expected to be way more aggressive with your weapons. And while your first few playthroughs are expected to last only a few hours, the rewards from your progress feed into both weapon and ship enhancements, allowing you to survive longer in future sessions.
Although the ship management and weapon loot components are compelling selling points, it's the actual missions and shooting that stuck with me the most. Whether your trio is holding a tight formation or dividing and conquering, you can't deny the sense of immersion and having spatial awareness at any given time, especially during a firefight. The procedurally generated maps mixed with the unpredictable appearances of enemy robots ensure that planning and preparation can only take you so far. And last but not least, From Other Suns' control stick-enabled locomotion (ie. classic shooter movement) made for a refreshing change from the many dozen VR shooters where short-distance teleportation is the only way you get around.
From Other Suns is due out on November 14, 2017 exclusively for Oculus.
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