I was really looking forward to Green Hell VR when it was announced, but I decided to hold off playing until it came out on PSVR2, because my performance on the PCVR demo put me off that release of the game. Now the PSVR2 version is available, I have spent days in a green hell, but what did I think?
Jake and Mia make a trip to an Amazonian forest to regain contact with one the native tribes. You are soon separated and everything starts to go wrong, now as Jake it is your job find Mia in the forest. However, does it become a simple survival mission? Or does it become something a lot more sinister?
Green Hell VR does not set any big innovations in the survival game genre, and brings with it what you would expect. If you have played any survival games in the past you will instantly understand the core mechanics of the game. You have placed in a strange and hostile environment, its now your job to find the required resources to craft items and structures, keep your self fed and healthy, as you move through the forest to locate the next location in order to push the story forward.
However, one thing Green Hell brings into the mix is the danger of the disease and infections you might get from animals, plants or drinking untreated water around the Amazonian setting. These will lead you to needing to find what around you can help you heal and recover from these ailments – don’t do this quick enough and it can lead to illness or even death.
Don’t worry you get a notebook, meaning when you discover new resources, the new items you can craft with be added to your notebook – and what is needed to make them. This will also note the positive and negatives of anything you eat, but you have to take the risk of eating them first.
With it bringing all these gameplay elements over from the original flat-screen release, the main big difference is the VR integration, which adds a lot to the immersion in the game. With every physical action in the game being carried out by you, including checking yourself for injuries and applying bandages to your cuts and scrapes.
They have added a number of difficulties for the game, for those who want an easier experience when you don’t need to monitor your vitals, face dangerous predators or the tribe. Each difficulty will add more challenges to what you need to be wary off, but I would recommend skipping the lowest level at least as this removes nearly all the threats in the game. The games doesn’t just come with the story mode, but this is a good place to start as you will learn a lot of the basics in this mode. Outside of the story mode there is survival mode, which will ditch the story completely and just focus on surviving, and challenges mode that will give you a goal and comes with leader-boards.
Overall the visuals do a good job, with the details in the forest coming together to create a setting dense with flowers, plants and trees, that sway with the air flow in the forest. With a day and night cycle showing a great use of lighting, and rain adding a realistic wet-look shine to the environment. However, the visual affects take a little hit by everything in the distance being at a lower resolution that you would expect on the PlayStation 5. This left me questioning why they didn’t use the eye-tracking for foviated rendering, rather than being able to look at items to select what you were picking up (that wasn’t that easy to use).
The environment is brought to life by the audio design, with the noises of the animals, weather and rustling of the trees and bushes around you. With the noises keeping you on edge at all times, was that rustling behind you a predator looking to attack? Where the hell is the rattle snake you can hear? Showing how well it is put together. But, as with the visuals it does come with some issues around the spacial audio, meaning sometimes noises might be louder that expected or at times fading rapidly within a few steps.
The team at Incuvo have included all the comfort settings to make the game accessible to anyone. The game can be played seated or standing, with snap or smooth-turning, full locomotion or teleport and a vignette for those use one. However, I really feel the game is only going to give that true feeling of exploration using full locomotion, and feel you might feel a bit of disconnection using teleport with what the gameplay is all about.
My playthrough of the story mode on the second hardest difficulty took me around thirteen-hours, and upon competing it I got the trophy for a bad ending, so there is still a good ending to unlock. However, before that I am tempted to challenge myself in the survival mode. Meaning depending on how you take the games core mechanics you are probably going to find many hours will be spent in Green Hell VR.
REVIEWED USING PLAYSTATION VR 2
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a review code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a press code does not affect my judgement of the product.
Green Hell VR on PlayStation VR 2 is not exactly the version I was expecting on the platform but, if you go into the game knowing what to expect (the Quest version with better visuals) you will have plenty of fun. The story modes offers a decent amount of gameplay hours, and mixes all the elements together evenly to make a great survival game experience. Don’t get me wrong, the game is not perfect in anyway, but you can learn to look over the issues it throws your way, and offers a very acceptable survival game, with all the extra immersion of exploring this Amazonian forest in Virtual Reality.
Release Date: August 15 2023
Price: US $29.99 / CA $39.99 / €29,99 / £24.99