Something about going back in time and exploring the prehistoric world has fascinated me since I was a child. Dinosaurs have long been one of my favorite history subjects, and to see them walking around Earth in their natural habitats living their daily lives would have been a sight to see. It’s no wonder that Robinson The Journey instantly resonated with me as a potential PlayStation VR killer app. This game was going to allow me to live out one of my ultimate fantasies, but does it actually succeed in delivering the feeling of being on Earth millions of years ago? Read on for our full review of Robinson The Journey.
Title: Robinson The Journey
Available On: PlayStation VR
Reviewed On: PlayStation VR
Release Date: November 8, 2016
Copy provided by the Publisher for the sake of this review
The setting is not Earth, but it is very much an Earth-like planet. The story is as follows. The ship you are traveling on, the Esmeralda, has crashed on a foreign planet, Tyson III. You’re playing as a boy named Robin, who escaped the Esmeralda aboard an escape pod, and has been living life in solitude for a year. Robinson The Journey is the story of what happens to Robin, his AI unit companion HIGS, and his new dinosaur friend Laika, as they search for answers to what happened on board the Esmeralda and fight for their survival against a ton of threats.
Throughout the six hours or so you’ll spend on Tyson III, you’ll be exploring an alien planet, encountering life forms unbeknownst to you, and solving basic puzzles in order to proceed to the next areas and keep the story moving along. Robinson The Journey is not an overly difficult game, and is more about the experience and journey on Tyson III. There are plenty of species and alien life forms to scan and learn all about, as well as different paths to travel down in order to completely explore Tyson III. Perhaps the feature I enjoyed most during my time with the game was the relationship that was formed between Robin and HIGS, as well as Laika, the baby Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Without a doubt, this is the best looking PlayStation VR game that money can buy right now. Crytek really did something special here with the graphics, as at times, you really do feel as if you are there, fixing machines and playing hide and seek with a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex. It’s still plainly obvious it’s a virtual reality game as the text can be hard to read at times, and getting too close to objects will show the flaws in the design. But for a game released within the first two months of the hardware, this is definitely one of the titles to use in order to show off the type of graphics VR can currently pump out, and where the future is going to take us over the next several years.
Robinson’s control scheme is very much like a few of the other games and experiences that exist on PlayStation VR right now. You can change the locomotion so that it’s completely free, which makes it feel like you’re playing any other video game outside of virtual reality. Or, you can leave it how it’s set, which has the camera moving in set degrees every time you press the analog stick. I much prefer the camera to have a free range of motion, and I was doing fairly well for about the first hour and a half to two hours. After that, I started feeling very motion sick and my head was spinning. I had to take a break at that point, and I’ll admit, it was tough to go back and ultimately finish the game since I knew how it was going to make me feel.
As I’ve said before in other reviews and discussions, camera movement and player movement is the absolute biggest hurdle that game developers need to overcome in order to create truly immersive virtual reality games free of motion sickness. Once locomotion has been tackled and is no longer an issue, VR games are really going to take off and be something special. But until then, every time we review a game, whether it’s on PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or whatever else may come along, how the game makes you feel is going to remain one of the biggest talking points. Everyone is unique and how something makes me feel may not always make you feel the same way. But it has to be mentioned as a word of precaution.
Robinson The Journey is a prime example of where VR technology is going to take us as gamers in the coming years. Unfortunately, controls within a 3D environment are holding back games like Robinson from being great and instead are relegating them to being average at best. That being said, Robinson The Journey is perhaps the best showpiece for gaming on PlayStation VR currently available on the market, and for those that can stomach the controls and motion, it should absolutely be experienced at least one time through.