Last week, I got an early look at first-person zombie-survival game Dying Light, which arrives on PC and consoles in January. This wasn't your run-of-the-mill demo, however — Techland, the studio behind the game, let me play on an Oculus Rift connected to a maxed out gaming rig.
It's hard to describe what the Oculus Rift does for your sense of immersion. Once you're in, it feels like you're there, which makes things like jumping from rooftop to rooftop far more intimidating than they traditionally would be because the part of your lizard brain that fears heights kicks in and says you're in danger. It also makes combat more intense — your body lurches with every attack you make, as if you're actually shifting your weight into each swing of your crowbar.
Unfortunately, I made the mistake of playing on an empty stomach. Anyone who's spent time with virtual reality knows that nausea can still be an issue with today's headsets, so while the game ran well on the ~$600 graphics card in Techland's gaming PC, there was still enough of a lag between some of my movements and the reaction in the game that I eventually got uncomfortable and had to take a breather.
Some people might read that and be turned off from playing in VR at all. It might be the sheer novelty of the experience talking, but I don't mind a bit. When Dying Light launches in early 2015, I plan on spending at least some of my time in the game's tropical paradise/nightmare with an Oculus Rift dev kit strapped to my face.
Video produced by Yashad Kulkarni.