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The destructive force of GREAT VR games getting mediocre or no reviews

RuneSR2
Level 16

When telling my friends and colleagues that VR is mankind's most impressive invention since the wheel, I keep hearing that many will consider buying a VR headset when great games arrive. I can then tell them about the many awesome VR games, but the problem arises when I have to show some reviews of such great VR games. Often there're no reviews or the authors of VR game reviews seem keen to do their very best bashing most VR games for not being good enough - quite contrary to my experiences.

I know Oculus took great pride getting a top-ranked VR game on Metacritic, and they succeeded with Lone Echo last year. But where do we stand this summer? - Here's today's list of the best PC games, including VR games, from Metacritic (and my friends read such lists):

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According to that list there are no games you can't play without a VR headset. The only game on the list you can play in VR is The Forest, but it works in 2D too. If the list is expanded to show all current games, Gunheart also receives 83 points like The Forest, and again you don't need a VR headset to play Gunheart. My friends easily conclude that since there're no VR-only high-ranking games on the Metacritic list, it's because current VR games are of poor quality and VR is something no one truly needs. 

I can't blame them for drawing such conclusions, and even showing 2D trailers don't help much, because you can't communicate the greatness of VR games using a 2D video.

I think it's a great problem that new and awesome VR games don't get good reviews or do not get reviewed at all. Let's take Moss - it's a VR-only game arriving a few months ago:

Moss Metacritic Score for PC: No score due to insufficient number of reviews.
Moss User Score in the Oculus Store: About 96% average. 

There're just 3 Moss reviews for PC VR on Metacritic, scoring the game at 79, 80 or 90 % - which in no way reflects user experiences. And often I see a similar trend. 

The reason behind the few Moss PC reviews are probably that many reviewers reviewed the PS4 version and then didn't want to do another review for PC VR. Thus compared to the 3 reviews for the Rift/Vive version, there're 62 reviews of the PS4 version! Interestingly many reviewers have no problem reviewing different game versions for PS4, XBox One and PC - like Battlefield 1, Fifa 18 and Rise of the Tomb Rader just to name a few titles. Why didn't Moss PC VR get a similar treatment?

This is a great problem - Moss for the Rift and Vive is not the same as the PS4 version; PS4 has no controllers matching the Rift or Vive, and the PS4 has much lower resolution (also when using high levels of super-sampling on the Rift and Vive). But the greatness of Moss PC VR was never communicated to the masses, because there're almost no published reviews of one of the greatest VR games so far - and certainly the best one thus far in 2018!

Another problem of mixing VR and 2D games on Metacritic is to compare apples and oranges, or probably more to compare grapes and watermelons 😉

To illustrate: Is Subnautica 2D the same as Subnautica VR? Is Elite Dangerous 2D the same as Elite Dangerous VR? I'd personally consider Subnautica VR about 10 times better than Subnautica 2D, even if the VR version does have some problems. So should we rate Subnautica 2D at 10 % and the VR version at 100 % ? Of course this would not be fair, but I'd have no problem rating Subnautica 2D at 65 % and the VR version at 95 %, if we really want to compare apples and oranges - and want to rate both on the same scale. 
I believe that many reviewers rate VR games just as if the games were in 2D. Comparing 2D and VR games, I'd have a hard time rating a 2D game more than 70 % - and that would be for the very best AAA 2D games, while I'd have a hard time rating any high-quality VR game below 90 %. This is due to the fact that VR games are so incredibly more visually impressive and immersive than any 2D game can be - and Touch controllers add a lot to provide a truly unique VR experience. For example I'd have no problem rating a 2D version of Marvel Powers United at maybe 60 %, and to rate the VR version at 90 %, because the immersion - the feeling of being present in the game world - is so much better in VR. 

If reviewers fail to clearly communicate how much better VR games are compared to 2D games, how are persons - who know very little about VR - going to know how much better VR games are compared to 2D games? The current bashing of Marvel Powers United is a great example of this - and it's a great destructive force limiting VR adoption when VR game reviewers constantly criticize gameplay as if a VR game wasn't different from a 2D game. A new VR game which is the best within it's genre - compared to other VR games in the same genre - is per definition the new reference and should carry a rating reflecting that position. - And such a VR game should not carry a rating that reflects a reviewers preference for 2D games in the genre. 

I think it would be great if Oculus representatives could ask Metacritic not to mix 2D and VR games; there are plenty of VR games to support having their own category.
We need to stop comparing apples and oranges. 

Finally we could take a look on the current top three PC games on Metacritic, namely these:

Into the Breach - rated 89 %



Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire - rated 88 %


Final Fantasy XV - Windows - rated at 85 %


I do think that some of these games look impressive, but are these games way better than the latest and greatest Rift games? Personally I'd consider the following games so much better; compared to 2D games I'd happily rate Moss at 97 %, Seeking Dawn at 93 % and Marvel Powers United VR at 90 %



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"

130 REPLIES 130

MowTin
Level 11
I don't think people look at Metacritic to decide whether to get VR. They watch YouTube videos. 
The problem with PC VR is that it's much more expensive than a console if you don't already have a beefy PC. 

The other problem is a lot of people don't like dealing with PCs and I can't blame them. You have to install drivers and deal with settings and problems. 

Then you have PSVR which lacks the positional tracking and touch controls. 
i7 9700k 3090 rtx   CV1, Rift-S, Index, G2

RuneSR2
Level 16

MowTin said:

I don't think people look at Metacritic to decide whether to get VR. They watch YouTube videos. 
The problem with PC VR is that it's much more expensive than a console if you don't already have a beefy PC. 

The other problem is a lot of people don't like dealing with PCs and I can't blame them. You have to install drivers and deal with settings and problems. 

Then you have PSVR which lacks the positional tracking and touch controls. 


 Of course you may be right. My point was more that I think a lot of PC VR games are rated way too low for the quality these games represent and may give people the wrong impression of VR gaming. I was so close to cancel my Marvel Powers United VR game due to several lackluster reviews.
And then there's the problem that many PC VR games don't get reviewed at all - and thus few persons may know that these games even exist - like Red Matter or Kin (you can't even find Kin on Metacritic - sadly). Hmmm, I think we need a Kin trailer here - it's one of my favorite games on the Rift - and do remember, a 2D video can't show this amazing game!

https://youtu.be/RZnCy_bg97A

I've just copied some of my user reviews from the Oculus Store to Metacritic - got to start somewhere. I've just provided the first user PC VR review for Moss  o:) And also for Seeking Dawn and Robinson The Journey. Got to tell the world that there're real diamonds in the rough; diamonds that shine unlike anything you've ever seen in 2D  B)  

I do believe that games and apps sell the hardware - like God of War sells PS4, like Forza Horizon 3 sold the XBox One - personally I bought Oculus Rift VR because I wanted to experience Lone Echo. Great reviews are key.

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"

falken76
Level 13
Metacritic like anyone else, is going to cater to their audience.  I've shown my VR to alot of people now.  The reactions are usually universal:  "Wow!  This is amazing, I want to get this!".  But I have friends that are well off and friends that live check to check and this is exactly what happens.  The ones that do well and have money like it and a few of them went right out and bought it.  My friends that don't have a lot of disposable income were on board with computer and rift costs, but once I mention the GPU they get confused and immediately turned off at the price, especially because the 1060 6gb is stretching it for them, but they see so much talk about 1080ti's they just resign themselves to believing it is so expensive they'll never in a million years be able to afford it, then they don't care about it when I mention it.  It's out of reach for so many people due to cost and that's hurting VR more than anything. 

I go to steam for VR game reviews, and Oculus home.

I'd prefer honest reviews also, so if Marvel really sucks, I'd rather see people mention it so I don't have to find out myself and then wonder what the hell all these 5 star reviewers were smoking and where to get some because it must be potent.  Seriously though, the Marvel game has A LOT of reviews and they're mostly positive, isn't that good?  Or do you want to see them more outside the system?  I know I would so I knew people were reading about it outside of this community.

RuneSR2
Level 16

falken76 said:

 Or do you want to see them more outside the system?  I know I would so I knew people were reading about it outside of this community.


 Yes, I think it's so important to get great reviews outside the system if we want more people to adopt VR - but the reviews I found outside the system were frankly depressing. RoadToVR rated the game 5 out of ten:

https://www.roadtovr.com/marvel-powers-united-vr-review-oculus-rift/

Upload VR called the game "A Mighty Missed Opportunity" - rating 6.5/10:

https://uploadvr.com/marvel-powers-united-vr-review/

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None of these reviews mentioned that it only requires a GTX 1060 to run the game (even 970 may work) - that you've got more impressive arms than in Lone Echo - and that it just may be the best VR co-op so far (ok, singleplayer may be lacking, but Marvel Powers United VR was never focused on singleplayer). 

Personally I think many official reviews of VR games (=outside the system = the reviews my non-VR friends read) are way too harsh. Chronos has a metascore of 77 %, Robinson 68 %, Edge of Nowhere 71 %, Arizona Sunshine 81 % - fine scores if these were pancake games, but they're not. I'd rate all of these games beyond 90 % (with the latest patches including Touch support).

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"

RedRizla
Level 16
It's just going to take time for VR to catch on. I can't predict how many years, but look how long it took computers to catch on. How many years did people used to say that PC gaming is dying again? Well surprise, surprise, it's hasn't died and I believe it's become even more popular. The thing that's really holding VR back at the moment is the cost of a PC to run it. That will change in time though as things like Graphics card become cheaper. Look how many headsets PSVR sold because people already had a playstation to run it. Not every PC gamer has a Geforce 1080 to run VR great, but Geforce 1080 will be as cheep as chips in a few years times..

falken76
Level 13

RuneSR2 said:


falken76 said:

 Or do you want to see them more outside the system?  I know I would so I knew people were reading about it outside of this community.


 Yes, I think it's so important to get great reviews outside the system if we want more people to adopt VR - but the reviews I found outside the system were frankly depressing. RoadToVR rated the game 5 out of ten:

https://www.roadtovr.com/marvel-powers-united-vr-review-oculus-rift/

Upload VR called the game "A Mighty Missed Opportunity" - rating 6.5/10:

https://uploadvr.com/marvel-powers-united-vr-review/




Maybe they really thought the game actually sucked.  It looks repetitive and boring as all hell to me, I'm sure I would feel those ratings are more accurate than the 5 star ratings on Oculus Home.  Even the Oculus reviews largely say "It's repetitive and gets old, this game needs more content" but still rates 5 stars.  That's the general message I keep reading over and over again.  So to me it looks like Oculus Home reviews aren't harsh enough to be considered honest most of the time and external sites are either closer to accurate or too harsh.

Zenbane
Level 16
I think a better way to convince friends/family to invest in VR is to go beyond gaming. Show them things like Medium or a VR Movie Theatre. Show them the "learning" experiences and educational classroom software.

I attended a live concert with front row seats in Oculus GO. None of the video games on Metacritic can touch that greatness!
🙂

MowTin
Level 11
The obstacles for PCVR buyers:

  • Cost. A good video card costs as much as a console.
  • Complications. Computers are complicated for most people. Installing drivers and dealing with issues.
  • Pixelation. Flat games have better resolution. 
  • Room. You need space for a PC and VR space. 
  • AAA Games. There is not much AAA game content like the $100+ million blockbuster games. 
VR will only take off once a console is all you need. I'm guessing the PS6 with foveated rendering, positional tracking and wireless HMD. 

I don't think reviews are a big factor. And I'm not sure VR games deserve better ratting because they're up against games with $100 million budgets and 5 year dev cycles. 

Can you imagine what Marvel United would be with a $100 mil budget and 5 years of dev time? 
i7 9700k 3090 rtx   CV1, Rift-S, Index, G2

Digikid1
Level 12
Also depends on what genre the individual user is into. For example I love to play STBC....and hate games like Skyrim and Fallout. My friends can scream and rant about Skyrim to me and I would just tell them that I just don’t care about that genre. And vice versa. 

I dont trust review sites that much. I only trust my gut instinct. If I look at a trailer and my gut is telling me to stay away or to wait for a 50% sale then I follow it. I do use YouTube or Twitch to view a gameplay vid rather than a review though. They tend to do a hell of a lot better of making a decision for than a review.