What Fallout 4 and Doom are Like in VR

How Bethesda’s VR ports are shaping up.

39 Comments
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Now Playing: Fallout 4 Virtual Reality Reactions at E3 2016

After Bethesda unveiled that Fallout 4 and Doom would be ported over to VR (to work with the HTC Vive), I was delighted, but also really curious to see how the ports would hold up. While I love VR, the medium does face a lot of unique design challenges. For instance, using a joystick to move around in VR can induce motion sickness for many people. Many people are calling the issue “locomotion” and it’s caused when our eyes perceive that we’re moving, but our bodies do not. Thankfully, Bethesda seems to have a good understanding of this problem and are trying to tackle it in interesting ways.

Fallout 4

The Fallout 4 VR demo started me off at the Red Rocket truck stop, which is an early area in the game. Because the developers programmed the demo to have raiders come and attack me, the rep who gave me the demo told me not to venture too far away from the station. Considering it doesn’t use a joystick for movement, you might be wondering how I would even venture off to begin with. Like VR games like Budget Cuts and The Gallery before it, the VR version of Fallout 4 uses a teleport mechanic. With my left hand, I could hold down the Vive’s left trigger button to see a green, glowing arc shoot out of my PIP Boy, which is appropriately attached to my wrist. The arc has a limited range, however. This is most likely to prevent you from teleporting vast distances in the heat of battle with a single click. I want to say the teleportation limit is roughly 40-50 feet or so. Considering the original game didn’t feature teleportation, it will be interesting to see if Bethesda tweaks the narrative to take the new mechanic into account.

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While the standard version of the game features of ton of in-game menus for you to sift through, the only menus I came across in the demo were actually contained within the PIP Boy on my left wrist. All the leveling, inventory, and map menus are appropriately located here and you navigate the menus with the controller’s touchpad. It’s a pretty cool VR implementation that worked well, at least with the relatively short time I played with it.

Once the raiders showed up, I proceeded to teleport around the truck stop to use the environment to dodge gunfire and fire back with my pistol. Interestingly enough, there is no VATS system in the current demo, but the Bethesda rep told me the company wasn’t ruling it out. While the gunplay felt good and accurate, surprisingly, I didn’t have to reload my gun in the demo. Conversely, this also meant that I had infinite ammo.

While the demo was fun, one big gripe that I had with it was that it was hard to discern what objects you could physically pick up in the game. The rep told me that you could physically pick up everything you could normally pick up in the regular game, but this conversely means you can’t pick up most virtual objects. Having gotten used to games like Job Simulator, a title that’s built from the ground up for VR, where you can pick up nearly everything, it was a bit jarring to see my hand simply clip through a tire as I futilely try to pick it up. The rep also told me that the items that I could pick up would be highlighted in green as I got close to them, but I didn’t come across any of these objects in my limited playthrough.

Another aspect of the game that I didn’t get to see was the dialogue wheel. Since most of the UI seems to be contained within the PIP Boy, it will be interesting to see how Bethesda handles this mechanic. It might also be a weird out-of-body experience to hear someone speaking out of your own body. Hopefully we’ll learn more about how Bethesda aims to tackle these issues soon.

Doom

The VR version of Doom that Bethesda was showing off seemed much more like a tech demo than a full-on game. The demo took place with me standing atop a tall, thin pillar and had me blasting hordes of monsters in a canyon-like arena. I was expecting the monsters to attack me, but to my surprise, they all fought each other instead. With the Vive’s right controller, I switched to the pulse rifle, which allowed me to spam purple laser balls at the horde below. With my left hand, I could hold down the trigger button to bring out grenades and chuck it at incoming baddies.

After this section ended, the demo tossed me into a large room with a bunch of Doom’s various boss monsters. They were all just standing there, and they were ginormous up close in VR. I’m talking like 10-foot tall here. The point of this demo was to show the scale of these beasts. They all proceeded to scream and fought each other to the death.

Again, because the game featured no traversal mechanic, it felt more like a shooting-gallery tech demo. When I asked Bethesda if the company had any plans on expanding the experience, the reps simply said they had nothing else to show at this time. Hopefully Bethesda will continue to push the boundaries of what it can do in VR moving forward.

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Avatar image for jonaadams
jonaadams

TELEPORTING SUCKS - Seriously, there are to many whiners. If a game doesn't offer normal movement, along with the abilty turn left or right, the FPS in VR is going to suck.

Play Doom BFG with the VR mod, set the turn to the left stick, and it's amazing.

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GTX650Ti

$379? BS! That was a huge lie by Nvidia! That was why Nvidia decided to call a reference card founders edition! Nvidia knows you people today are so dumbed down, They knew you would forget the partner cards were supposed to cost less! And what happens? Most partner cards are actually more expensive than the reference (Founders Edition)! And yet not one of you idiots complain or get mad! Instead you accept it simply because they are much faster cards than the last series! HEY MORONS! NEWS FLASH! NEW SERIES CARDS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE FASTER THAN THE PREVIOUS SERIES! YOU IDIOTS! WAKE UP AND STOP BEING WORSHIPING DOORMATS!

Avatar image for genjuroT
genjuroT

So you can't move in VR games. That seems like a basic function in any video game.."Hopefully Bethesda will continue to push the boundaries of what it can do in VR moving forward."... Quite literally.

Avatar image for GregoryBastards
GregoryBastards

they need to make a way in which you move in game as do in real life....but thatll probably requir a treadmill like device or an empty room at least....also gaming will then also be a physical activity...which can be a good thing and bad.

Avatar image for ecurl143
ecurl143

Locomotion sickness is actually quite common amongst players but it's greatly enhanced in VR since a good percentage of your peripheral vision is enveloped by the game world. What stops the majority of players experiencing locomotion/motion sickness is that we can easily be distracted away from a 2D monitor. We do it on a constant basis without realising it when playing games.

VR seems to be gaining a very large foothold within the video games market and I anticipate a huge explosion of games development in this area in the very near future. I hear about VR development on a daily basis, so that has me excited for the games industry again. It was getting extremely boring and stagnated, so much so, I haven't invested in current gen consoles at all.

Avatar image for heydink
heydink

@ecurl143: how can you get excited when it causes locomotion sickness easily.

It seems to make VR only feasible to a limited genre.

I was really excited with hopes of experiencing and being immersed in Battlefield 1, or CoD or Overwatch in VR. By sounds of it this will never happen. So for now I'm completely turned off from VR

Avatar image for towfiqi
towfiqi

@heydink: Do not giveup so easily mate. The sickness issue could be solved in near future:

http://www.pcmag.com/news/345344/columbia-researchers-tease-solution-for-vr-motion-sickness

Avatar image for baztyper
baztyper

@heydinkIm very excited for VR FPS don't assume everyone gets this locomotion sickness , I still don't understand how most people do because i certainly don't, good for me then aye i'l be having a blast.

I'm sure they will have teleport modes for the weak minded and free roaming modes for those that can handle it :)

Avatar image for ecurl143
ecurl143

@heydink: I'm excited on how it's moving the industry forward. The medium will only improve with time, so I'm not that worried right now. Sure, there are problems working out how to use VR for practical gaming purposes but it's only a matter of time before it's all worked out. If you're not that stoked about VR right now, just chill for a bit and see what happens.

Avatar image for heydink
heydink

@ecurl143: it's funny cause prior to e3 I was all in on VR and ready to preorder PS VR mainly cause I don't have a PC and its a simple setup.

But so far what's been showcased has totally let me down. I'd probably still buy VR when a good driving/flight game comes but it's kinda disappointing about the locomotion sickness in FPS. That was one of the genres I was most excited about getting immersed in Ye know?

Avatar image for Granpa0
Granpa0

That teleport system for navigation sounds awful. Why not let you use a controller? I wish VR, at least until we come up with a more immersive control system, just the headset with the use of the Xbox/PS4 controllers we are used to. I would love to play Fallout 4 with a VR headset but traditional controllers, instead of this awful teleportation/on-rails gimmick we keep seeing over and over in VR games.

Avatar image for heydink
heydink

@Granpa0: right same. When VR was announced and covered by media sites, that's exactly how it sounded. No mention of motion nausea if you use controller for movement, no mention of teleporting.

Guess I should've figured something was fishy when there was a complete lack of FPS being shown. But you'd think gaming websites would cover those issues but nothing.

I was super excited and on brink of preorder but now I'm not even the least bit hyped or considering to preorder.

Avatar image for heydink
heydink

It's strange I never heard about how walking with control pad could cause so much sickness that games would rather use a teleportation method. In all coverages of VR up to e3 it was all positive greatest thing ever.

I had such high hopes and couldn't wait for VR. But if I won't be playing any 'real' FPS with a gamepad to walk around, and using headset to look, I'll definitely skip. It'll turn my feelings of this being the next greatest thing to thinking it'll be a fad.

I

Avatar image for regulas
regulas

I see the hacks at Gamespot still haven't made their videos HTML5 compliant, LOL

Avatar image for GhoX
GhoX

I don't care for teleport mechanics, which is why I'll play this with my omnidirectional treadmill instead.

Avatar image for ltjohnnyrico
LTJohnnyRico

Like it !! VR is taking shape .. I was an early adopter with VR on PC and im looking forward to seeing more !!

Avatar image for corvus_dove
Corvus_Dove

Teleport mechanics turn an FPS interface into a shooting gallery game. I would rather have motion sickness than return to the days of the SegaCD/3DO/CDi style "shooter ", and that's how VR teleport mechanics feel.

Avatar image for corvus_dove
Corvus_Dove

Telenor mechanics turn an FPS interface into a shooting gallery game. I would rather have motion sickness than return to the days of the SegaCD/3DO/CDi style "shooter ", and that's how VR teleport mechanics feel.

Avatar image for streamline
streamline

I didn't know that using a controller causes locomotion sickness. What a shame. I just want an immersive 3D screen and don't care for the overall body movement.

Avatar image for deactivated-58183aaaa31d8

Teleport mechanics are one of the worst things I've seen with VR so far. If the main game uses it count me the **** out.

Avatar image for thereal25
thereal25

@dexda: Yup, it sounds terrible. Maybe it's got something to do with the Vive. I wonder how occulus holds up.

Avatar image for pelvist
pelvist

@thereal25: Why would it be specific to any headset? Its merely down to limited play area, if you can only walk in a 5x5 meter play area how are you supposed to traverse a map thats hundreds of kilometers in scale?

The teleport mechanic is actually quite good in most VR games and is the best way of getting around large game worlds without the effects of motion sickness.

Avatar image for snake8877
snake8877

@pelvist: but its quite bad, i know it "works" but traversal its the BIG thing to crack if VR is gonna be a sucess , i dont have a problem with the first games having that, but from 2017 onward it needs to be resolved

Avatar image for PCsama
PCsama

dying hard to sell VR thing.. pass

Avatar image for xdeathclawx
XDeathClawX

@PCsama: It's sell

There's something for everyone and this ain't for you fo bye :)

Avatar image for thageorgian
ThaGeorgian

Sounds like garbage experiences and a waste of money.

Avatar image for xdeathclawx
XDeathClawX

@thageorgian: Sounds like someone who's never used VR.

Avatar image for datriax
datriax

"What Fallout 4 and Doom are Like in VR"

I'm gonna go out on a limb here, and assume that they are like.... Fallout 4 and Doom respectively? Do we really need these stupid articles pretending VR is this revolutionary system? It's a different visual interface. Oh boy. It doesn't turn games into entirely different games because of this.

Avatar image for deactivated-58183aaaa31d8

@datriax: Apparently it does because Fallout VR uses a teleport mechanic here. That will change everything about the game.

Avatar image for jimmythang
jimmythang

@datriax: VR is not just a different visual interface. It has its own strengths (and it's own weaknesses). If pulled off correctly, it can make you physically and mentally feel like your body and mind have been transported to a different dimension. It can actually make you feel like you are living and breathing the wasteland with it encompassing all your senses around you. I assure you, VR is not something like 3d TVs, which I hated. It has the potential to be transformative.

Staff
Avatar image for deactivated-58183aaaa31d8

@jimmythang: Yeah living and breathing......despite not being able to touch, smell or taste anything in the world and still having crap like screen door effects to contend with.

Avatar image for jimmythang
jimmythang

@dexda: No, you can't smell or taste in VR, but in good VR demos, it engages your eyes, allows you to walk around, and you can also reach out and grab things in a real three-dimensional space as well (with haptic feedback vibrations that add tactility). It also uses stereoscopic 3D, so it doesn't simply look like a 360 "google streetview" thing, but there's also depth to objects in the virtual space. Often at times, it really does induce a sense of presence, and you often forget that you're simply standing in your living room and not standing atop a mountain top.

P.S., Also, the screen door effect isn't too bad with the consumer versions of the Rift and Vive (though, of course, there is always room for improvement)

Staff
Avatar image for deactivated-58183aaaa31d8

@jimmythang: It still isn't good enough to convince me I am in the game. The second my dog barks or the phone rings that will be it.

Once the initial honey moon period of VR is over the magic will fade and the hinderances will become annoying.

I mean in this Fallout port you move around using teleportation. How can that fool your brain when you don't even teleport around in real life?

Avatar image for baztyper
baztyper

People can have there teleport controls if they can't handle the nausea/motion sickness but....

For those who don't get the nausea/motion sickness, i think they should still have the option to free roam with touchpad movement or just stay seated using WASD keyboard movement.

Would be a bit stupid just having the teleport system alone and compulsory.

Avatar image for pelvist
pelvist

@baztyper: I think they will likely end up doing that, just like Minecraft in VR.

Avatar image for heydink
heydink

Ahh so disappointing. Doubt I'll invest in VR anytime soon.