Inspired by the likes of Tie Fighter and Wing Commander, End Space aims to recreate the sensation of those classic space dogfighters in a modern VR environment. Previously available on Gear VR (and Cardboard), we playtested the Playstation VR version of the game.
The ambition behind the game is a bold one, especially when you consider that developer Orange Bridge is just a two-man team. Despite this limitation, they managed to build a story-driven campaign into End Space – where others would have been tempted to cut corners and just create a sci-fi dogfighter. The writing is pretty decent too – with a plot that involves standard sci-fi tropes like an uprising and a shift in power that concerns a large section of the galaxy.
The delivery of the single player story is, of course, not quite the same as you’d expect from a Wing Commander game. There’s no Hollywood talent here and limited voice acting – perhaps the team will move towards that direction if End Space proves successful. At least you’re getting a single player campaign here with a story that will last you a few hours, which is a ton better than what the Star Wars VR mission had and what can be found in Eve: Valkyrie. The latter is of course not focused on story (despite an interesting beginning), but either way it’s great to finally see such an experience on Playstation VR again – so far it’s been Space Rift and nothing else.
Controlling your space ship in combat is easy if you’re played any of the other space combat games in VR before. You pilot your ship using a regular gamepad, and use your head movement to track and target enemy ships. Your thumbsticks controls your ship’s direction and angle, while your triggers take care of firing your guns and missiles. It’s fairly straightforward, but there’s also a tutorial that teaches you the basics if you’re a relative newcomer to the genre.
The combat is, indeed, like what you’d expect based on the titles that inspired End Space. If you fondly remember those, or enjoy games like Space Rift or Eve: Valkyrie (and you could do without multiplayer) then you’ll definitely enjoy End Space as well. What’s impressive about End Space’s in-game combat is that it’s also gorgeous to look at. I was a little worried when I found out that End Space was originally a mobile VR title, but the development team has gone out of their way to push the visual presentation of their game to a higher level.
If you own a Playstation 4 Pro, then the game will look even better, thanks to higher quality textures, models and additional visual effects. I would even say that End Space’s in-game graphics come close to rivaling those in Eve: Valkyrie, which is incredibly impressive when you consider how small the team at Orange Bridge is. Sure, Eve: Valkyrie is a bit more polished, especially when you’re not in the middle of combat, but that’s a full price AAA game.
Of course the in-game dogfighting is what’s it’s all about, and that part of End Space is excellent. It’s a no-frills approach in terms of game content and story presentation, but it’s been polished well beyond what you’d normally expect from a two-man development team. Definitely recommended if you’re looking to scratch that sci-fi space shooter itch in VR.