Saturday , 18 May 2024
PCVR GamesReviews

Propagation: Paradise Hotel Review

Propagation: Paradise Hotel is not the first Propagation game to hit Virtual Reality, with the original playing out as more of a wave shooter with jump scares. But, this time WanadevStudio have taken a new approach, bringing a fully fledged single player survival horror in Paradise Hotel. I have now worked my way around this infested hotel, the question is; was it worth the stay?

STORY

In the game your are put into the shoes of Emily, a young bartender, who seems to be one of two survivors in a hotel where a strange illness have turned it’s guests into savage creatures. Starting in the kitchen of the hotel with a security guard called Owen, you hear something on the radio. Emily is relieved to hear her sister Ashley’s voice, who is going to the roof the meet a rescue team – but can you survive and make it to Ashley?

GAMEPLAY

As previously mentioned Paradise Hotel, has taken the approach of being a fully fledged single player and story driven survival horror. Which over my time playing it, it really gave me the feeling of stepping into the original Resident Evil, back when I was younger – and also bringing the feeling of dread it got back then as well.

What they have done well with the survival element (like the old classics) is made it so you can actually run of things like bullets and what I found most important batteries for your torch. Meaning you are not going to have a load of ammo to rely on, so you need to pick your moments to fight and moments to just run.

However, not having batteries for your torch is going to bring the most panic and feeling of dread than anything else in the game. The hotel being in its run down and abandoned state means lighting is not at a premium. Meaning it does get dark without your torch and no VR horror game has ever given me butterflies like this has – walking through a pitch black hallway not knowing if a zombie is on the ground or just around corner is terrifying.

Noise is going to play a big part in the gameplay on this, making more noise by running around and shooting your guns is going to attract the zombies – and one you have walked by before might suddenly grab you. But, one aspect that had me panicking at times was a great use of doors, let a door slam and this will alert any nearby zombies. The amount of times I walked through a door and hearing it creaking closed behind me threw me into a full on panic trying to stop it slamming.

Outside of what is lurking around the hotel as you explore, the game does included other staples of the survival horror genre. Be this exploring to try and find the items needed to progress or well thought out puzzles to keep you thinking and on your toes.

Adding all of this together, plus a mix of zombie types including bigger boss like enemies, it offering rewards for searching around the hotel and not just going straight for the objective, and plenty of nervous moments and you have everything you need to make a great survival horror – and believe me the team at WanadevStudio have done just that.

PRESENTATION

In order to make all the above really work, what a game like this needs is a great use of visuals and sound to sell the horror experience – and we have not been let down. For me the realistic and fantastic looking visuals really give an edge to the horror and builds those nerves, as you don’t know if the corpse on the floor is going to suddenly get up or grab you. With the use of dimly lit hallways and rooms, that might suddenly light up with a flash of lightening in the storm, the lighting offered from your torch or being stuck exploring in the dark, you really will be anxious as you explore. All while looking fantastic, with PCVR allowing everything come together visually to bring the horror element to life.

Then you are also getting a great use of sound to go with the visuals, with the environmental sounds, a clever use of music and all the little noises be it the squeaks of rats, distant groans or even little whispers being thrown in just to mess with you. This adds to the anxiety even more, as you are just waiting for the next encounter or scare to happen.

The only thing that threw the immersion off a little bit was a lot of the items placed around the hotel were not grabbable unless they are items you need. Which is something I instantly try to do in Virtual Reality, like picking up a empty glass on the bedside table and things, and although I knew this wasn’t possible I still found myself trying this with a lot of the items I came across.

COMFORT/CONTROLS

WanadevStudio have made sure the game can be played by anyone with including a button press crouch and adjustable belt, meaning the game can be played seated or standing. It also brings most comfort options, with the only noticeably missing one for me being the option to use vignettes if you need these to play with smooth locomotion – although teleport is available if you do need these.

A lot of your items like your guns, the torch, health spray and ammo are placed around your belt – meaning the main things you are going to use are instantly grabbable. Where your inventory is assigned to a button press and will include your map, mission/quest items and re-usable items like your power drill and bolt cutters.

LONGEVITY

The game takes just over three-hours to complete, but in this time I did not find all of the collectibles that are around the hotel. Where some people might see this as short for a game, I really think the games pacing was set correctly and I have had more fun in these three-hours than I have in games that last longer. Giving the length I also see myself going back in and experiencing all the horrors again on a higher difficulty in the future.

REVIEWED USING DPVR E4

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.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Propagation: Paradise Hotel took me back to playing survival horror games like the original Resident Evil, and the team at WanadevStudio have got the mix of all the elements that make a great survival horror game perfect. With the visuals and sounds coming together perfectly to make the player anxious of what might just be lurking in the dark or around the next corner – and for me this made me the most scared I have been in a VR horror game. The only downfall for some players might be the length of the game, but for me this was the perfect length for the pacing of the game. If you are a fan of VR horror for me this is a must buy.

GAME DETAILS

Release Date: May 4th 2023
Developer: WanadevStudio
Publisher: WanadevStudio
Price: US $19.99 / CA $25.99 / €19.99 / £16.75

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