Crisis on the Planet of the Apes brings the Planet of the Apes franchise into the VR dimension. Available on Steam as well as Playstation VR, here’s our review.
When I saw the initial announcement for Crisis on the Planet of the Apes, I figured it was going to be a sequel to the somewhat recent Last Frontier title. Imagine my surprise when I found out it wasn’t a second PlayLink title, but rather an unrelated title playable exclusively in VR. It’s not connected to Last Frontier’s story either, but – much like the PlayLink game – the events in Crisis do take place in the same cinematic universe.
The simian flu that plays such a crucial role in the recent movie trilogy is a big plot element in Crisis on the Planet of the Apes as well. Playing as one of the apes with an enhanced level of intelligence, you’re trying to break out of a research facility designed to find a cure to the simian flu. Born out of the despair that humans are starting to feel, apes are being treated poorly as they’re seen as the key to the survival of humankind.
The game plays out like a cinematic action adventure in which you climb, move and shoot your way towards freedom using a set of two move controllers to control the action. You don’t have full freedom of movement, instead having to rely on a teleportation system that’s been enhanced by the need to use gestures to actually move towards your goal – sprint vector style, but much simpler to use and mater than that. When engaged in combat, you can use a cover and shooting system that is thrilling and provides some of the highlights of the game.
Part of that is that the sections that don’t involve shooting can be a little hit and miss in terms of the game’s controls. Perhaps it’s our setup, but ledges and objects were regularly just out of reach – causing a break in immersion as you reach out several times in a row in order to move forward in the game. Having to move out of position in these sections also meant getting close to the Playstation Camera losing its tracking focus, so we were delighted to not run into this during the shooter sections. They’re not as good as the shooting in games like Farpoint, Superhot VR and Mortal Blitz – but function well within the cinematic confines of a game like this.
Crisis on the Planet of the Apes is a short experience – in that sense it’s definitely similar to Last Frontier. It’s been designed with the cinematic universe in mind, and plays out like a cinematic adventure all of its own. Fans of the movies will certainly get a kick out of being able to traverse a game world inside that universe, and the developers have done a good job at recreating the bleak and tense atmosphere that’s so visible in the movies. For those fans, this is definitely a game worth trying – others will most likely be a little frustrated with the control scheme and short length of the game, even though it’s got a mild price tag to go along with it. There are better action adventures in VR now, but the Apes license has been handled well.