Sunday , 23 June 2024
PSVR2 GamesReviews

Paper Beast Enhanced Edition Review

Paper Beast is a game that often comes up in my conversation around games you should play in Virtual Reality, that people overlook. The team at Pixel Reef have now brought an Enhanced Edition to PSVR2, making use of the PS5 power and the new HMD.

STORY

Although this is my fifth time playing through the game since it’s initial release on the original PSVR, I am still no better off in understanding the story it is trying to tell. Although I am a fan of game that tells it’s story without the need of spoken narrative, I always felt Paper Beast could of benefited from it – even in a nature documentary style.

I thought I would investigate and see what the games store page says the story is, and this is described with the following;

Somewhere deep down in the vast memory of a data server, an ecosystem has emerged. Decades of lost code and forgotten algorithms have accumulated in the eddies and flows of the internet. A small bubble of life has blossomed. Paper Beast is born.

GAMEPLAY

The whole element of the gameplay in Paper Beast is exploration and solving puzzles. But it is how Paper Beast does this that makes the game so special. In each area of the game you are going to be joined by wildlife that as the title suggests is going to be made out off paper. The aim of each area is to aid these animals and get them to the point needed to continue your story and of course this means navigating objects, predators and environmental elements to help them out.

All of these puzzles are based around either physics, altering the terrain or a bit of both. In order to get through these puzzles you might need to explore to find something to help with the puzzles, for example; a fire block to melt some ice. Then where you are trying to help out the paper animals in each area, these are also needed to do the aforementioned terrain editing for the puzzles – be it worms helping you move dirt or turtles that shake out sand.

One thing I found and liked with Paper Beast is each puzzle felt unique. However, these are not going to be complex and I found I was only stumped a couple of the puzzles. Meaning you will find it quite easy to keep moving through the scenes, but, this is good for the experience of what the game is offering as each scene is not overly vast – so not being stuck in the one area for a long time is a good thing.

Upon completion of the story mode, you will get sandbox mode, which will allow you to build your own little worlds in Paper Beast. With this latest release on PSVR2 bringing an expanded version of this mode, giving you an increased number of creatures and plants to grow in your own world.

PRESENTATION

What grabbed my interest the most in the first reveal of Paper Beast was the visual style shown off in the trailer, and getting into the world in person did not let me down. Even the opening scene had me in awe, as you start in what looks like a tent, remove the fabric from around you and see this big Paper Beast above you. Then from there on it’s hard not to stop and take in both the designs of the creatures and the beauty of the settings in each scene – even though there all very vast and open the world and the paper animals just come together perfectly. There’s many parts of the world design I could speak about, but it really is something you need to experience for yourself.

Then there are some beautiful touches you see and just think wow, one idea you get from this game is this is some sort of simulation you are in. Then as parts open like a tear in the scenery you will see numbers and letters come pouring out, you will see numbers in the sky made of clouds and even on closer inspection of the turtles, you will see the sand they shake out is all made up numbers. It’s little touches like this that shows the amount of thought the team at Pixel Reef have put into the art and design of their title.

With the Enhanced Edition on PlayStation VR2 the visuals have never looked so impressive, not only does it get 4K support, but also HDR, which allows for superior image quality. With the power of PlayStation 5 being utalised in the latest release it has brought more detailed textures, which is very clear with the flow of the water and sand in the game and the lighting feels more realistic with the introduction of light shafts.

When it comes to audio, the team have done a fantastic job of bringing the feeling of scene to life. This is done by using more cheerful background music for the lighter scenes and either just the environmental sounds or more intense music for the darker scene. This is mixed together with each sound for the creatures, that also sound quite musical – like some of the bugs sounding like maracas. What the team have done is matched the sounds the visuals and this helps bring each scene and the world to life while keeping that artistic design in place.

COMFORT/CONTROLS

The game can be played seated, standing or room-scale, but I found I played it seated for comfort as there is no real benefit of the other two. The Enhanced Edition has seen the team introduce smooth-locomotion, and with this comes the ability to turn on vignettes for those who require them. It has kept teleport as an option as well, so if this is better for your comfort in VR it is still available.

TRACKED CONTROLLERS

GAMEPAD

LONGEVITY

The story mode in Paper Beast took me around three to four hours to complete, and once it is complete you can choose to replay any of the scenes from the main menu. The aforementioned Sandbox mode, gives you a reason to return to the missions, as finding collectibles in the story mode will unlock all the elements in the sandbox. Meaning if you take to Sandbox mode and building you own world in Paper Beast, it will certainly add more time onto the game.

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 judgment of the product.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Although I have played through Paper Beast numerous times before, and I still haven’t really picked up on the story it is telling, I have enjoyed it every time I have played it – and this time was no different. The games charm comes in the unique puzzles, that all feel different and bring out the beauty in the design of the world. Add to these puzzles all of the fantastic little touches and details and even to this day it still makes for unique VR experience, that looks even more breathtaking in the Enhanced Edition. If you haven’t played it yet, don’t overlook this title it really is a treat and if you have, the updates make it worth playing again for the small upgrade cost.

GAME DETAILS

Release Date: September 27th 2023
Developer: Pixel Reef
Publisher: Pixel Reef
Price: US $24.99 / CA $33.49 / €24,99 / £19.99
* upgrade path available if owned on PSVR

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