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The Shore VR - new Steam adventure game supporting native Oculus drivers - a diamond in the rough?

RuneSR2
Level 15

The Shore VR arrived yesterday and impressed me a lot more than I expected. Actually I did not expect much due to the game being early access - but I love being impressed. The trailer:

 

 

Get the game here:

 

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1834620/The_Shore_VR/

 

The story according to the devs: "The Shore VR is a separate version of the standard title The Shore. The game is about the mystery of the unknown, sated on a forbidden island filled terrifying world of cultists, and cosmic horrors. Based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft, the story features many of his best-known creations and more."

 

Of course this game should have been available in the Oculus Store - but Oculus no longer doing much to support PCVR developers, I guess developers are turning away from the Oculus Store. I think this really is a Rift game, because Index controls are so lacklusterly implemented that the gameplay suffers. But to my amazement the game started perfectly using my Rift CV1, so the game supports native Oculus drivers

I usually suspect games supporting native Oculus driver on Steam for being original Rift games - that is games having been in development for years targeting the Rift hmds. 

 

Interestingly I got better performance with the Index, where res 300% worked fine, but even with ss 2.5 the CV1 was challenged providing 45 fps. Ss 2.0 with the CV1 and Ultra settings worked fine - mostly 90 fps with some drops to 45 fps. To enjoy this game in all its glory you'll need a very fast gpu - that is if you do not want to lower the in-game details. 

 

In many ways this game reminds me of probably my favorite VR adventure game of all, namely The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. In The Shore VR, using the Index the image quality is extremely clear and reveals many low-res textures and other shortcomings, so using the CV1 SDE to cover up some low-res textures is a great choice. This game looks a lot more natural using oled with some SDE than LCD with total clarity. This also implies to me that this game has been in development for long, and probably was made for oled hmds.

 

I took some shots of the game using the great old Rift CV1 - with ss 2.0 and Ultra settings:

 

OculusScreenshot1641683941.JPG

You find yourself on a shore - you have no recollection of previous events - did you arrive on the sunken boat?

 

OculusScreenshot1641684444.JPG

This illustrates the gigantic view distance - much like in Ethan Carter. All is in 3D. This is why you'll need an extremely fast gpu (and cpu?) for 90 fps with high-res and Ultra settings

 

OculusScreenshot1641683979.JPG

Note the wooden planks - textures are nice/great even if not Boneworks ultramersion quality 😉 

 

OculusScreenshot1641684118.JPG

Close to the shore where the game begins, you find a deserted lighthouse

 

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A mad man's scribblings on a blackboard?

 

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- the right side of the above blackboard

 

OculusScreenshot1641684201.JPG

Polygon count is fine - objects are nicely round - this is not a game optimized for weak mobile gpus 

 

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Barrels are nicely round too 🙂 

 

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A messy desk - note the Octopus symbols indicating objects of interest

 

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I found this... 

 

OculusScreenshot1641684559.JPG

Not really sure what this is yet - the game does feel slightly like Myst, but Lovecraft-inspired and much darker/more sinister 

 

OculusScreenshot1641684524.JPG

Broken glass looks awesome

 

OculusScreenshot1641684866.JPG

This game can be used as a walking simulator - if you wish. Just walking along the shore is awesome and very relaxing - the first level covers a large area - you can walk for many minutes with no loading

 

OculusScreenshot1641685011.JPG

It's not all roses and violets - seems many died in this eerie place... Check out the water and the reflections in the water

 

OculusScreenshot1641685056.JPG

Suddenly you're walking on what appears to be ... ice? The ground surface looks awesome in-game, maybe hard to show here

 

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The water is transparent and looks - dare I say - real? 🙂

 

OculusScreenshot1641686118.JPG

Check out this transparent water 😮

 

OculusScreenshot1641685115.JPG

There's some vegetation in the game - but no real-time shadows. It is early access though

 

OculusScreenshot1641685190.JPG

The round version of 2001? 🤔 😄

 

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In a totally weird world, I guess this scene might appear kinda ... normal? 🤔

 

OculusScreenshot1641685600.JPG

Someone left a camera there ... Some divine creatures and the game developers may know why, unfortunately I do not - yet 😉 

 

OculusScreenshot1641685621.JPG

I had a strange déjà-vu sensation here, but could not find the shark 🤗

 

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Sometimes I felt like being watched 😬

 

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The game does include big things wanting to eat you - walking along the shore is not necessarily boring 😎

 

Back to the shore - just the opportunity to be present in this impressive world is enough for me to keep the game - I doubt I ever get tired of this view distance and the atmosphere:

 

OculusScreenshot1641686200.JPG

 

Note that the hmd and controllers you use for this game will greatly affect your enjoyment of the game. For now I only recommend the Rift CV1 for this game - but do give it a try with Rift-S and Quest 2 too. 

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

11 REPLIES 11

RuneSR2
Level 15

Still enjoying my beach vacation - yesterday I did find the Orca - and today I found the fish 🤗

 

OculusScreenshot1641761387.JPG

 

Of course it's still just a hunch, but sometimes I do get the feeling that there's something not right about this place 🤔

 

OculusScreenshot1641761941.JPG

 

That thing in the background looks utterly gigantic in VR. Maybe a better image here:

 

OculusScreenshot1641762026.JPG

 

Also activated some kind of trap - and something wanted to eat me:

 

OculusScreenshot1641762716.JPG

The game is vast just like Ethan Carter - the game does not hold your hand, but for many the lighthouse will be a natural place to start. 

 

I'll continue uncovering caves and the land tomorrow 🤓

 

Btw, beware of swimming in the sea - it's not safe!

 

OculusScreenshot1641761334.JPG

 

For now I've close to no idea what to do in the game - but it does perfectly communicate a feeling of being between Scylla and Charybdis - with giant angry sea gods on one side, and human desolation/despair on the other.

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

RuneSR2
Level 15

Just saw that UploadVR wrote a short piece about the game:

 

https://uploadvr.com/the-shore-vr-hands-on/

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

RuneSR2
Level 15

Seems like some dude with a Quest 2 greatly enjoyed the game - and already played it about 3.5 hours, much more than I have:

 

"I'm loving this game.
Yes, it's clearly unfinished and unpolished right now, but the environments, the soundtrack, the monsters and the general feeling of it is amazing.
I'm playing it with the Quest 2 via Airlink and right now there are some performance issues, some strange visual effects (the water in the Void causes some glitch in my right eye's display) and the gameplay it's pretty basic, but overall this is a great Lovecraft vr experience already, even if it's on Early Access.
Please, improve this issues and i'm sure every Lovecraftian fan will love this game."

Source: https://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561198068368661/recommended/1834620/

 

Personally I like this review of the VR version better, my text in bold: 

 

"Oh boy this is how every vr game should feel like you are lost to an unknown world it gives you the feeling and the urge to explore and discover something that no one else noticed before, even though this is early access i can tell where they going with this, i bet once is complete it will be one of the best vr games, i played for 4 hours and couldn't stop exploring
The models & setting. The developer is clearly very well versed at modeling characters.
After all Lovecraftian Games i ever played The Shore and The Shore VR are FINALLY THE BEST Lovecraftian Games."

Source: https://steamcommunity.com/id/foxako/recommended/1834620/

 

Admitted, the above review may be slightly too positive, but I don't think devs paid him to write that review, lol. Also users should state their rigs and hmds, much will depend on that to enjoy this game. 

 

I forgot about the music - and the music is amazing in the game. The 2D version got some heat for having too many objects making it hard to find the ones you could pick up and needed. The VR version has icons on all objects you can interact with - so finding correct objects may no longer be an issue.

 

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To make it easy to find relevant objects, these have an Octopus symbol in the VR version

 

Note that this game may not be the usual (bad/low) early access quality, because there's already a full 2D version made. The VR version isn't a 1:1 copy of the 2D version, but having a fully developed 2D version means that the VR version may be a lot more complete than other basic early access games. Still Shore VR is not done, and do carry that in mind if you want to experience the game in its current state.  

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

RuneSR2
Level 15

My 14 year old son has been vaccinated twice, and I also got the booster, but still he was positive for Covid19 last week, and now the rest of the family is too. No big deal, we've only got very light or no symptoms, but we're grounded for the next week. In this perspective it's not a bad thing being able to get out and take a long walk along the shore - there's nothing like fresh sea air! 😁

 

Thus I continued my exploring today - and found out this diving helmet has a special function:

 

OculusScreenshot1641762092.jpeg

If you touch and grab the diving helmet - you'll put it on

 

- to my amazement, I could now walk underwater - I guess you could say my beach vacation took a dive today 😄

 

OculusScreenshot1641841849.JPG

Walking on the seabed is amazing - you'll find fish and much worse stuff down here 😉 The reflections in the above water surface look stunning. Not going to say more or spoil what's really down here 🤐

 

Back on shore, found a great viewpoint on top of some cliff:

 

OculusScreenshot1641841029.JPG

Still not really sure what to do in the game - but I've now explored almost every corner of the map - took a few hours

 

This looked weird too:

 

OculusScreenshot1641840839.JPG

I guess I can do something with it - just not sure what - or how 🤔

 

Btw, found the last owner of the lighthouse:

 

OculusScreenshot1641840578.JPG

You'll find several letters in the game, providing some clues (or adding to the confusion) about what's happened in this place

 

I might have to do something with this statue...

 

OculusScreenshot1641840923.JPG

Graphics are great - using the Rift CV1, I think I'm down to 45 fps with the RTX 3090 sweating here...

 

Someone offered his arm...

 

OculusScreenshot1641841321.JPG

 

- and these wooden textures on the side of the boat just looked great, had to take a shot to share such great findings! 😇 😉

 

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You have a backpack - seems I can only carry 4 items - and there're many items to collect (and much walking). For now I have a few ideas where to place my items, so I'm gonna open my portal to The Shore in my man cave in a few minutes and try to find out how to use these 4 items:

 

OculusScreenshot1641841155.JPG

 

- and maybe especially this item:

 

OculusScreenshot1641843101.JPG

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

RuneSR2
Level 15

Even with all this game's shortcomings I'd probably rate it 9/10 today - like 9.2/10 🤔 Sure, it's unplayable or close using the Index, but my Rift CV1 and great old Touch work fine enough - or I'm habituating to the poor controls 😁 

I've solved the first puzzles and now have a good idea how to progress in the game, solving the first puzzles made me appreciate the game even more. It's basically like an old-school adventure where you find the right keys to the right locks - but nothing's wrong with that. 

 

And I don't recall other VR games with (much) more impressive environments:

 

OculusScreenshot1641851955.JPG

 

For those thinking the game's too hard, it may help to study some photos - like this one:

 

OculusScreenshot1641854925.JPG

Photo from the blackboard in the lighthouse - if you know what to look for, some hints are available here

 

- and for those cursing the lack of a map - there's one in the lighthouse:

 

OculusScreenshot1641853921.JPG

I still have places I need to visit... 

 

I've also solved the riddle below - just not sure what happened 🤔 - but solving other puzzles may lead to some close to mind-blowing experiences, not gonna tell more though 🤐

 

OculusScreenshot1641853745.JPG

In my first post in this thread there's another shot of this black ... thing - not going to tell what's different about this new shot, but might not be hard to see... Not sure what solving this puzzle did though...

 

This game only feels like early access for the controls - and it lacks optimization for normal gpus. 

 

My favorite review of the game - yes, it's the 2D version, but the VR version has similar story content:

 

Spoiler
THE SHORE: ONE OF THE BEST IF NOT, THE BEST LOVECRAFTIAN GAME EVER MADE

Honestly, this game has the perfect setting for a Lovecraftian story. Everything (well, almost) is perfect in this game. The gloomy atmosphere of dread and full loneliness, danger lurking at you especially once you reach the true "Cthulhu dimension", now the game get's even more frantic and surreal.

The pacing is perfect, the visuals are outstanding, the music is so grandiose and creepy at the same time. You really feel the COSMIC HORROR in this game! And as a fan of LOVECRAFT/COSMIC HORROR, this game nails it PERFECTLY. I played TONS of Lovecraft games and for real, THE SHORE nails it.

I won't say much of the story since that is bound in the spoiler area. The game store page got the proper synopsis.

I could go on and on so I'll just fill up the pros and cons.

PROS:
+Creepy atmosphere
+Dreadful story
+AMAZING ART STYLE AND VISUALS (sure, the rocks seem low poly but who cares really!)
+Grandiose soundtrack.
+Monsters variety.
+Tense chase sequences.
+Proper UltraWide monitor support (not perfect though).


CONS:
-The interaction pointer is quite off the middle screen in UltraWide Monitor. Always had to turn the view to the left for proper interaction. Seems minimal but that is not the case. Later in the game, you get chased by monsters and without proper interaction, you can get hit and killed easily. Annoying really!
-Many invisible walls. The game is mostly linear but has SOME exploration required.
-Monsters blocking your way of movement during chase sequences.
-Short playtime (between 2 and 4 hours at most). That is debatable since I did find the playtime appropriate for this title. I do recommend playing this in one sitting for maximum impact.
-The replay value is quite minimal in The Shore. Once you finish the game and found all achievements, you don't have anything else to do.


OVERALL:
THIS GAME IS MADE BY ONE DEVELOPER (with the help of others too but you get my point) and wow, Ares Dragonis is so **bleep** talented. I so wish you make more games like this and heck, that is the kind of MOVIE I'd love to watch. The world needs more LOVECRAFT content!

As for this game, I loved pretty much everything about it. I was left speechless whenever surrounded by big cosmic horror sh!t happening!


DEDICATED TO ARES DRAGONIS
If you ever add another big update, please offer some chapter support or at least, consider that for your next project! Would love to select a specific chapter to showcase my friends.

RECOMMENDATION:
I AM IMPRESSED! I loved it and you gotta play this especially if you love Lovecraftian games/story.
DO NOT EXPECT SOME POW POW RUN AND GUN HERE.
THIS IS AN HORROR GAME, TRUE TO ITS FORM.

SUPPORT THIS DEVELOPER! MORE GAMES LIKE THIS DESERVE TO EXIST!
EVEN AT FULL PRICE, GET THIS!


RANT
FOR ALL THE HATERS OF THIS GAME, YOU GUYS ARE SMALL MINDED CREATURES. YOU DO NOT APPRECIATE THE TRUE ART ASPECT OF SUCH A PROJECT AND TO KNOW THAT ONLY ONE PERSON MOSTLY DID EVERYTHING IS SUCH AN ACCOMPLISHMENT. I KNOW THIS GAME IS NOT "PERFECT" BUT HECK, IT IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN SO MANY BROKEN RELEASED AAA GAME OF TODAY!

STOP THUMBING DOWN GOOD PROJECTS LIKE THIS! AND NO, I HAVE NO CONNECTIONS AT ALL WITH ARES DRAGONIS... EVEN THOUGH I'D LOVE TO!


 

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"


@RuneSR2 wrote:

To enjoy this game in all its glory you'll need a very fast gpu


 

Hmm, hardly seems the case considering how bad the images look. Truthfully, those are some really bad assets. And the puzzle element of the game seems incredibly mediocre. Just running around grabbing keys to unlock? This is a far cry from legendary experiences like Myst and Riven.

 

For VR, there are far superior puzzle games such as Xing, Nevermind, and Form. The environments and images in those three games are vastly superior to what is shown in this Shore VR title. And users don't need a high-end GPU to enjoy these better titles.

 

A very fast gpu would be wasted on something like Shore VR to be honest, since it has overly simplistic visual assets and environments. PCVR isn't doing too well if these are the types of games being released 😕

 

Note that this title only has 5 reviews on Steam, 2 of which are negative. I tend to prefer reviews and impressions that are more objective, and less inclined to intentionally oversell a PCVR game for the sake of exaggerating what PCVR is offering these days.

 

From a Steam Review:

I love "point and click" games and Lovercraft setting and i though this game was like Call of Cthulu style and in some part it but it's too slow, there's no clue on what to do and where to go, is like a free roaming game where you do "things" and sometimes, almost without a reason, huge mosters appear and you have to fight them.


The setting is great but the graphics is too simple and it's a negative point for a PCVR game.

Interaction with items is less than basic, you can only grab key items and you cannot interact with anything in the environment. Is like looking a living picture where you can only walk around, take this item from here and bring it to there, then something happen and... nothing, you just have to look for another object to brong from here to there.

It has a great potential, but it's look like a pre-alfa game and not an early access. The price is not in line with the contents of this game. Maybe i will give another chance whene it will be out of the early access. For now, i suggest to play the flat version.

RuneSR2
Level 15

Continued my beach vacation today - I'll probably rate the game 10/10 now. Seems to work just great with the Rift CV1 and Touch, I think I'm able to complete the game and that all main puzzles are intact.

 

I found out that to place items in the backpack, do not grab the backpack and try to add an item. Instead just take the item and put your hand on the back of your left shoulder. Now the item will automatically be placed in the backpack. 

 

I lost some items yesterday (after reloading a saved game some items were gone, but others were not), but I had used the lost items, and it seems they then don't matter.

 

Got a new portal open today 😎

 

OculusScreenshot1642022371.JPG

 

Not going to spoil much - but here's a sneak peak into another dimension 😎

 

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It's bigger than this - I'm just looking at the portal I just came from 🙂 

 

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall is an awesome game, even if it has many shortcoming, and Tempestfall with its gigantic monuments easily made me feel very small. The Shore VR might even do that better - you can feel really small in this game. I entered this place today:

 

OculusScreenshot1642023155.JPG

Can't show the real size in 2D, in VR these monuments are gigantic in size

 

Found ... something...

 

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OculusScreenshot1642022752.JPG

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That's a nice cube-ish thing... Really wanted to take it ... But the saying "let sleeping dogs lie" totally felt made for this kind of situation 🤔 🤣

 

Of course I couldn't help it - it took the cube and ran! 

 

OculusScreenshot1642023355.JPG

 

Btw - it's not all shore - I went for a short walk in the jungle today 🙂

 

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Pretty high polygon count for the trees and leaves 

 

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One giant monument in the background

 

Tomorrow I'm going to a new dimension - I might be close to completing the game 🤔 Steam says I've played 5.1 hours, but I think it's more like 8-10... 

 

OculusScreenshot1642023904.JPG

 

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"


@RuneSR2 wrote:

Continued my beach vacation today - I'll probably rate the game 10/10 now. Seems to work just great with the Rift CV1 and Touch


The game is more 5/10 as a standard puzzler, and 3 or 4 out of 10 with its VR implementation. I don't think anyone with a love of puzzle/adventure games would enjoy this experience - and likely refund it after the first few minutes.

 

Also, playing it on the Rift is a drastically downgraded experience due to the Glare, SDE, and Blur. The Rift CV1, as great as it was for its time, is massively outdated. Your GPU gets no benefit when hidden behind the Rift CV1. You should consider upgrading to the Quest 2 so that you can see the true glory of letting your GPU shine with real clarity. The results may even cause you to use the Quest 2 over the Index as your main PCVR device; a choice that other ex-Index owners have made as well.

 

That aside, regarding the game... even the flat version has some major flaws, such as noted by the following review. Also note that the inherent flaws of the game carry over to the VR version, which make it a very low rated experience in its current state.

 

TL;DR Nice atmosphere and enticing visuals overrun by tedious design choices, simple mistakes and fanfiction writing

Exploration game with endless invisible walls. Story is no more complex than "I lost my daughter, I'm gonna go through a Lovecraft haunted house to get her back" and at no point did I care about the protagonist or his daughter. Lore conveyed through several message-in-a-bottles is a cool idea, but riddled with spelling errors. Notes also often have watermarks of the monsters you encounter and are assumedly drawings by the note's author, but are clearly just images of the actual models of the creatures.

Once you leave the titular Shore the nice atmosphere and excusable errors are replaced with constant teleporting between rooms accompanied by the disembodied narration of a kid trying to deepen his voice on Xbox Live. Run away from a monster that is either faster than you or laughable, fade to black, next room. Complete a puzzle that consists of "put object on pedestal, hold left click on thing using the artifact", fade to black, next room. This seems to only serve to pad the run time.

As previously mentioned, the Lovecraft mythos is reduced to a haunted house of characters from stories. This seems like a new developer that is clearly passionate about the mythos and wants to include every character possible, but they have lost the meaning of the work along the way. The infinitely large forces of nature that existed formlessly and incomprehensibly by men now screech and pose like Godzilla before riding away into the sunset on an obelisk.

The positive aspects are really strong, but are dragged down so badly I couldn't come to finish it. Apologies for my harshness, I understand this is a new developer and their effort is commendable, but I believe this kind of harsh but fair (I hope) critique is important for artists and will only benefit you in the long run.

RuneSR2
Level 15

Btw, just noticed a young lady - WandaWeb - playing the game - and she found it awesome. But of course this is an awesome game - so that's not really interesting - what's interesting is that she spent 3.5 hours playing the game and didn't get that far:

 

 

 

At least it sort of confirms that you do get a lot of content for the bucks. Also the game is 10% off (= just $17) until Jan 17:

 

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1834620/The_Shore_VR/

 

Hmm, I paid the full price at launch and could refund and buy it again to get a few bucks? 🤔 😄 Not going to do that, devs earned my support!

 

Do be careful not to get help solving puzzles - getting help solving puzzle easily cuts this experience short. To me it's much more fun and rewarding finding the solutions yourself - and usually, when you start to understand the game, it's not that hard. 2c.

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"