Meta4 Interactive’s VR exclusive take on the Transformers franchise is finally here. Here’s our look at Transformers – Beyond Reality, which is out now on PlayStation VR.
As fans of the franchise since the cartoons of the 1980s, it was a test of our patience to wait for Transformers in VR – the release was delayed earlier, but the game has now finally hit digital storefronts. There was enough to be excited about though, because if there’s anything that VR can do really well it’s to deliver a sense of scale, and we really wanted to finally stand next to one of these mechanical hulks.
We were pleasantly surprised to be dusting off the PSVR for this one though, and developers seem eager to wait for PSVR 2 and we hadn’t seen a major IP on the headset for quite a while. We were a bit leery as to how the aging headset would handle a game of this scope though, especially because Meta4 isn’t a first party developer with Sony’s backing or anything like that. It looks they went for a few safer options to ensure that the game worked though – making it an on-rails shooter and going with a cartoon-like look and feel that echoes the classic cartoons more than it does the recent live action movies.
There’s a brief tutorial to help you get familiar with the game’s controls, but it’s a fairly typical arcade style shooter like House of the Dead or the VR classic Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. Shoot with your main hand, use additional weapons or shields with the other. There’s extra stuff here like the ability to grab an ultra weapon every now and then, but other than the need to occasionally dodge out of the way of danger this is what you’d expect from a game in this genre, with six stages and a handful of difficulty levels to play at.
Story-wise, it’s the usual struggle between the Autobots and Megatron’s Decepticons, and you’re helping out the former. Succeed or fail, you’ll also collect Energon, which you can then spend on upgrades. As the levels are all of a decent length, you’re looking at about two hours of gameplay, which isn’t too shabby for an arcade shooter of this type. Replay value is limited though, unless you’re a massive fan of the source material and just want to see some of your favorite characters up close again.
Those characters are probably the star attraction here, as it’s awesome to see Optimus Prime and Megatron go head to head and later take their fight to Cybertron. “Seeing” is the key word here though, as there’s usually very little interaction between you and the bots, who mainly provide “ooh” and “aah” moments in the background. Great fan service, but we wish the robots were a more integral part of the gameplay, especially for non-fans just looking for a great VR shooter.
Speaking of fan service, the developers definitely also seem to be fans of the original cartoon look and feel, and made sure that decent voice acting and some over the top dialogue is part of the game experience here. It’s great stuff for G1 fans, but there’s a weird audio issue where the voices don’t just get softer when not looking directly at the in-game audio source, but completely vanish. Something we hope a quick patch will fix in the near future.
Rather than “playing with Transformers in VR”, this feels more like a generic VR shooter with a Transformers template slapped on it. Fans of the source material won’t want to miss out on it though, because even though the action feels a tad generic it’s fun to see these iconic characters come to life in virtual reality. At its affordable price point, the lack of replay value is easy to forgive.