It’s really exciting and intriguing when a new VR narrative adventure comes out of nowhere. A few weeks ago, a demo popped up for Eden-Tomorrow on PSN, I don’t think I’ve ever downloaded a demo so fast! After playing through it multiple times, I knew I had to get my hands on the final release; I simply loved the story, the setting, the visuals and the atmosphere.
Developed by Soul Pix and, I believe, their first full game in Virtual Reality, Eden-Tomorrow is one of the most immersive and interesting narrative adventures on PSVR this year. Following in the footsteps of brilliant VR games such as Red Matter, our unknown protagonist must fend off creatures, explore his surroundings, uncover the truth about what’s going on, and try to stay alive on this strange new world!
The story of Eden-Tomorrow is quite complex the further into the game you get. We begin within our escape pod. As a protagonist with no memory of the past events or how he came to be within this pod, things take a turn for the worst as the outer shell is ripped off during our plummet to the unknown world. Our only companion is a robotic helper drone which we name Newton – as we both seem to have lost our memories! However, it’s not long before we meet one of the local wildlife, a giant dragon-like creature who seems to want to eat us up!
After dealing with this beast and progressing a little further, we discover that we may not be the only ones upon this world as we begin to find more and more escape pods. Although, most of these seem to have the remains of century-old humans still attached to their safety harnesses – what the hell is going on? Newton recalls a memory, an image of a structure. You both have no idea what it is or why he remembers it, but you have a feeling that you need to get there in order to learn the truth. So, off you go with your trusty companion as you venture through the dangerous and hostile unknown as you seek out this mysterious structure in hope of regaining your memory and being reunited with other living humans.
Eden-Tomorrow is a very good VR title with nice, clear visuals and an immersive atmosphere. There’s no move or AIM support, the only control method you have is the DS4, yet it works perfectly. As a narrative-adventure game, you’ll not be engaged in any combat, you’ll be solving puzzles, finding collectables and audio logs, and exploring the vast new world you’ve descended upon. As such, having the use of two hands isn’t really required, yet solid controls and smooth actions are something the game aims to provide.
First up, comfort settings – you move with the left stick and rotate your body with the right, your standard controls. The game fully supports smooth turning and I never felt nauseous when controlling the protagonist, even when running later on in the game. However, you can take control of Newton, a flying ‘ghost from Destiny-like’ robot who can fly in all directions and even boost himself so he flies even faster. This mode also has no blinders but you can push up on the D-Pad and blinders will appear in the shape of his ‘eye-area’, so you get blinders but still maintain full immersion. This is optional but I actually recommend it as I felt very sick after flying around for a while.
As a side note – both Newton and our protagonist have custom blinder settings in the menu – so you can set permanent view restrictions for gameplay if you need a bit of comfort. I love that they are both setup individually, so you may only need extra support on Newton and not the human, or vice-versa.
Even though you’re free to fly around as Newton, it’s not like Detached where you have full 360 degrees movement, you’re always orientated in the correct position, so it’s not as nauseous as it could be, but it does get you a bit dizzy if you’re boosting all over the place. One other thing, which I really loved as it’s something a lot of games don’t do – you have a head! The game renders a full 3D body for your character and, even though we don’t see it, you have a head in-game! We know this because shadows you cast shows the full body with a thinking module placed upon its shoulders! If you shake, nod, or wobble your head, the in-game shadow mimics you as if it was real. This isn’t a major thing but so many VR games forget about modelling or accounting for your head!
Okay, a lot of the puzzles in Eden-Tomorrow aren’t your usual ‘puzzles’. You won’t be connecting wires, matching symbols or pressing switches. However, the main progression mechanic felt like a one-trick pony, a trick which was getting old towards the end of the game. Every so often you get to an area where you can’t progress because there is something in the way or you need to access a panel which is under a load of shite. The way you do this is, you become Netwon and fly around looking for three fuel cells. You absorb the energy and then use your newly obtained powers to remove the obstacle in your way.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s entertaining and they do change it around a bit as the items may be hidden under things, eaten by creatures, or just scattered around, but you always know what the solution will be as it’s always the same.
But, this isn’t the only thing you’ll be doing, so don’t worry. Eden-Tomorrow contains a few other simple puzzle segments such as balancing across beams, shimmying, aligning satellites and building pathways. Okay, there isn’t a lot of variety and the puzzles are more ‘actions’ than actual puzzles, but some of them may stump you for a while as you try and find the next thing you need to do in order to move on. However, these elements aren’t the stand out feature of the game, for me, that was the…
Eden-Tomorrow has a very interesting story and a lot of care has gone into creating such a well-crafted narrative experience. As you venture into the unknown, you’ll come across primitive art on walls and statues, audio logs left behind from previous survivors, uncover new information on various alien artefacts, and gain plenty of exposition from Newton as his memory slowly returns. Speaking of which, you also go through a phase of recalling your memory as you begin to relive flashbacks and uncover the truth behind what had happened before the escape pod.
The pacing of the narrative and the amount of story thrown in there felt perfect for me. If you’re not learning about what’s happened before, you’re trying to move forward past some rather questionably designed creatures or you’re trying to find fuel cells so you can move on and escape the hostile beings.
Speaking of the ‘strange’ creatures… We all know about H.R Giger right?! He had an obsession with drawing phallic designs in his sick and twisted artworks. Well, I think the 3D designer for the creatures may have had some inspiration from Giger! I’m not saying this was done on purpose, but the sandworms resemble angry penises with mouths and later on, we see some massive giraffe-like creatures who also have floppy dongs for a face! I imagine it’s not what the designers were going for when they designed them, as they all look very detailed and quite scary in VR, but I couldn’t get it out of my head that they looked like they had wang-faces! *See below*
Visually, Eden-Tomorrow is a great looking game in VR. It’s not the clearest or sharpest game I’ve played, but the texture quality and the 3D modelling is really nice. For a surprisingly long VR game, at around six hours I think it was, the developers have done a great job with the various environments and keeping the game fresh and interesting as you play. The sci-fi theme really shines through with the futuristic, yet realistic, tech, along with the alien beings and various otherworldly creatures. As soon as you first emerge from the pod and you have a face-to-face with Mr. Dragon Breath, you’ll fall in love with the game.
The 3D Spacial sounds from the PSVR headphone jack also adds to the experience; you’ll hear things coming from behind and above you before you even see them! The music is subtle but very fitting with the situation and the voice acting is all well done. Well, Newton sounds a little ‘off’ – he just sounds a bit young. But, the lines are delivered well and the whole experience is very believable and exciting.
I had zero issues with Eden-Tomorrow, in regards to the technical side, everything simply worked as intended. The only issue I had with the VR was when I made myself physically sick and couldn’t return to VR for two days because I was zipping all over the place as Newton trying to find energy cores. But, that was my fault as I should have enabled the blinders.
One thing I need to bring up – as a lot of games are doing this recently. The store-front says the game has English and German subtitles yet in-game there are no subtitles. It doesn’t affect me but those who are hard of hearing may buy the game thinking they have the option of turning them on. But, unless I’m not looking in the right place, I couldn’t find any subtitles at all, meaning if you have trouble hearing then you won’t be able to fully follow the story.
With an emphasis on exploration, narrative, and discovery, Eden-Tomorrow is a great VR experience everyone should try out. Even though the game is light on puzzles and repeats the same gameplay mechanics throughout, the story holds the repetitive gameplay at bay and pads it out just enough so that you don’t feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over again. The narrative will have you guessing what’s going to happen next and what’s going on, although you’ll most likely be wrong like I was!
Although Eden-Tomorrow is a beautiful game, there are horrific creatures who would love to see you dead. As such, tread carefully as you may very well be the last human alive in this unknown world.
If you do wish to try Eden-Tomorrow out for free, you can grab a demo of the game HERE – The demo gives you a taste of the first 20 minutes or so. My one complaint, progress doesn’t carry over to the main game, so you’ll have to replay this again if you pick up the game afterwards.
- - Very cool story and atmosphere
- - 'Interesting' designs of the various creatures you'll encounter
- - On-the-fly blinders when flying around
- - Great soundtrack and well done voice acting, although Newton is a bit young
- - You have a head!
- - Collecting energy capsules can get a bit repetitive as the core 'progression blocker'
- - No subtitles, even though the store-font says there is some
- - Newton is sometimes as annoying as Navi with the 'help' he gives, yet he wasn't much help in the part I needed a hint