Preta – Vendetta Rising is another title previously exclusive to PC VR players that has now been released for Playstation VR. How does this action RPG play?
Inspired by other action RPGs in terms of gameplay and mood, Preta – Vendetta Rising looks quite a bit like the dungeon-based gameplay of Diablo mixed with the third person hack and slash gameplay of Dark Souls. The combat isn’t as unforgiving as Dark Souls and even a bit simplified when compared to Diablo, but you probably get the general idea.
The word “Preta” refers to the dangers you’ll be facing, and it’s a Sanskrit name for the flesh-eating creatures that are out for blood. Formerly living beings, a deadly plague transforms them into these Preta and those who are unaffected are increasingly in danger. That’s where you come in, fighting as a mercenary to help save the land of Akirion from this plague as you take on missions, craft weapons, develop you skill/tech tree and collect loot.
Preta – Vendetta Rising claims to have a 50 hour single player campaign (I’m about 20 hours in at this point), making it one of the largest campaign-driven games available for Playstation VR today. It rivals Skyrim in this regard, though it’s priced at about a third of the price of Skyrim. That’s excellent value for money, although you can tell that Preta was designed by a smaller team as well.
With the exception of games like Skyrim and Diablo, a lot of (hack and slash) action RPGs don’t feature exceptionally well developed stories arcs, and Preta is no exception. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but it does make it harder to keep a momentum going with a game of this impressive length. In addition, Preta seems to have suffered a bit in its translation process – we playtested in English, with the development team coming from Spain. It’s not enough to be bothersome, but enough to be noticeable.
Visually Preta is very impressive for a title from a smaller studio. It allows for both first person and third person modes so it caters to fans of both, but I would have preferred just having a third person mode and having a game optimized for that mode of gameplay. This isn’t in terms of performance, but games like Moss and Bound have shown how great the perspective of a “watcher” can work in VR. Perhaps this would have allowed for more detail or trickery with clever uses of perspective in Preta as well, also bringing the experience closer to Diablo III, but instead you’re bound to a regular third person perspective. The game world itself is relatively empty (compared to Moss, for instance), but the environments are large and the characters and animations look excellent.
As is the case in many action RPGs, you have a choice between three different characters – and you can alternate between them while playing as well. There’s a melee-focused warrior – which I always end up picking as my initial choice, whatever the game – and there are characters focused more on speed and (ranged) magic. Besides some basic and character-specific attacks, skills and weapons, you also have the ability to just go button-mashing and you’ll find out this is a fairly successful strategy for a little while.
Play like this for a while though, and you’ll eventually hit a wall through a spike in difficulty that forces you to grind for missions and loot to help you power up and progress further. It’s a pretty standard feature in action RPGs, but it’s never been my favorite way of padding a game’s length and Preta’s campaign would have been plenty long without the mandatory grinding sessions as well. Even if you play a very skilled game with diverse battle strategies where you make great use of your character’s unique qualities, you’ll still end up grinding from time to time.
Luckily, combat is fun – with combos and special skills that you can unleash whenever your timer fills up again. Switching between characters also means switching between combat styles – unless you play with a brawler you’ll want to stay out of harm’s way, even if you have a couple of AI characters helping you.
One last thing is that while the PC version of Preta can be played without a VR headset as well, you’ll need one if you want to play it on your Playstation 4. In a way, I felt this was a shame, because I see a ton of potential for local multiplayer and dropping in and out of VR with a game of this length. I don’t know enough about the technical limitations with Playstation 4 and its VR headset, but perhaps we’ll see something like that in the future – either through an update for this game or in another game. Until then, Preta – Vendetta Rising is a fun action RPG that benefits from this genre being underrepresented on Playstation VR right now. At its price point, this is definitely a good first game to start with.