Welcome back everyone to one of the first in a hopefully long line of reviews on VR gear and games for Draxis Games! So let’s just get right into this. You’ll be seeing a lot more reviews on games both new and old on a variety of platforms. Due to my health issues I won’t be getting out as much to the comic store so we’ll still give you some reviews when we can but many of those will most likely be on the older comics you can find on ComiXology to download and read. So since I’m stuck at home more than the average person due to Covid I will be focusing on video games a lot more since these are things that can be downloaded. Now the great thing is that for the past two years I’ve been saving up and paying off credit cards so I could get an Oculus Quest. I had been prepared to do such since last November but thanks to Christmas and then Covid-19 things were sold out until just recently. Even when they sent me a letter saying they were back in stock supply from Oculus itself was sold out again within hours. Somehow though I managed to order one from Bestbuy before they sold out so now I get to let you know about the world of Virtual Reality!
So a little back story on this. I have always wanted to try VR. I may not be a great gamer but I am an avid gamer so I always want to try the newest and latest. One big thing with gaming is that it helps me fight my depression and anything that can do that is a good thing in my book. Now since the end of January beginning of February, my family has been in lockdown even before my state of Florida put in any stay at home orders due to Covid. With me having Cancer and high Blood Pressure and Asthma and Diabetes all of which made me more susceptible to getting COVID and dying from it if I did get it, we haven’t been taking any chances here. The thing is going out to the stores every so often was one way I used to help fend off my depression since it would take my mind off things to get out, see friends that run the local comic shops ect. Once that was stopped, gaming became more important than ever to me since I can’t go and just break down in tears every day in front of my autistic son. Also, we’re always looking for new ways to teach our son since we homeschool him. So when we had a chance to get an Oculus Quest I jumped on it because I knew I could cast it to the computer so he could see what I was doing on it so we could do virtual field trips hopefully.
So a few weeks ago I finally got the Oculus Quest and I’ve been using it almost every night. So far I don’t have a lot on it because well money is not abundant in my household, but we have been able to get a few cheaper and free things to try out. In the next week or two, I’ll be reviewing these first few games as well as sharing some videos of me playing them and reviews of the games while playing them. Anyway back to the hardware itself. The one big thing with the Quest that drew me to it instead of a lot of the other VR systems out there was that it was cheaper but even more importantly for me it is a stand-alone system. What this means is you don’t need to be tethered to a computer which means no extra expensive purchases, no wires to trip you and with it’s built in guardian field no need to be setting up barrier sensors (though I’m not sure if that is even a thing anymore but I know it used to be if I’m not mistaken). My biggest complaint right off the bat setting up the quest is that it is front heavy with the battery and literally everything upfront in the visor but that’s normal with VR and also easy enough to get around if you buy an extra external battery pack and way to strap it onto the headset in the back to balance things out. Straps ready made for battery packs are easy to find online and not that expensive so that’s not a big thing at all and makes it much more comfortable.
The setup of the Quest was super easy. You download an application for your smartphone or tablet and do a couple of setup things in it, link it to a Facebook account and BAM you’re all set to go. Easy Peasy.
The hand controls for the system are pretty intuitive if you’ve ever used a PS4 or XBox One or 360 controller the only big difference is that your hands can move independently. My only complaint on the controllers is that the straps for your wrists, while they have sliders to cinch them tight, don’t have a way to lock them on the strap so they can loosen easily. This was easily solved too as the Etsy shop I got my battery holder from also sold straps that work more like the Nintendo Wii wrist straps in that their sliders actually click down and lock into place. This puts my mind a little more at ease that I’m not going to go and throw my controller across the room when playing Beat Saber. It’s very easy to switch out the straps too so there’s no reason not to shell out the $11 bucks or so it took to replace them with something better.
Now on to graphics of the Quest. From what I’ve heard the graphics are not as good as the VR systems that hook into your PC, however, I have not had a chance to use any VR other than the Quest so I really can’t compare the quality of the graphics. What I can say however is that what I have seen in the Quest to me as a new VR user is amazing! Just to test things when I first got onto the Quest I went through the Oculus TV and picked a random nature video which was an undersea documentary about the Coral Reefs. Before I even got into this though just the room you start off in just about blew me away. The picture was sharp and moved smoothly as I turned to look all around myself. I will admit that while my eyes have been weird lately where if I’m reading my iPad I need to go without glasses but my Computer and TV I need my glasses for so I wasn’t sure which would be best in VR. Without glasses was fine but with glasses was better for me. I think this is because even though it is a 2d screen the way it displays it tricks your brain into seeing it all in 3d without special glasses so your eyes are still trying to focus like it’s looking further than they really are. There is a definite feeling of depth to the scenes. So when I went to the undersea documentary and saw this diver swimming in front of me I was amazed, totally blown away. Then you see this huge manta ray swimming and doing a backflip and next thing you know you’re able to look straight down its throat since it had its mouth wide open to feed. You could easily swear the thing could just swallow you if it came your direction. That’s how clear this looks and how 3d.
So now back to the controllers for just a second since I just thought of this. When I played the Beat Saber demo, I found out that the controllers have some vibration functions just like the console controllers have. I wasn’t sure about this till I got those VR lightsabers in my hands and crossed the blades. Sparks flew and I felt the humming vibration in my hands. So I can’t help it. Whenever I play beat Saber I have to cross the blades just for that. Yes I know I’m amused by simple things.
To finish up with my first thoughts review on the Quest, this is the one place I have a problem with the Quest. The software. There are two things one is just a small gripe that I’m sure will get better with time and the other is a larger gripe I have is one that can be fixed but that’s going to be up to Oculus and Facebook to fix. The smaller gripe is that for something that’s been around for as long as the Quest has I expected it to have more games. There are several games I really wanted to try like Eve Valkyrie, Five Nights At Freddy’s Help Wanted and No Man’s Sky VR version. None of those are on the Quest though. On top of this due to it being a stand-alone system and not tethered to a computer some games it does have like Beat Saber doesn’t have all of the same features. For instance, the Quest version of Beat Saber doesn’t have the custom level designer. I understand why but it’s kinda annoying since there are ways to link your Quest to the computer through USB. My bigger problem was that certain things can’t be cast to your computer/television. Now I understand why they wouldn’t want some things streamed to Facebook like the concerts and such but certain things don’t make much sense. I wanted to stream the shuttle launch for my son as part of his homeschooling, but Oculus Venues doesn’t cast, at all. Which again I can understand why you may not allow that to stream because they have concerts…but they also have live cams for shuttle launches and aquariums and I don’t see why things like that which are educational can’t be cast to your TV so your whole family can enjoy the same thing. Even Beat Saber which can’t be streamed can still be cast. So yeah that doesnt make a lot of sense to me and I find it to be very annoying and disappointing.
But all in all, I really enjoy the VR and will be using it a lot more I am sure. I’ll be working on some blogs for all of the games we’ve played so far on the quest in the next few weeks. So keep an eye out for those. If you have some specific games you would like to see us do a review on we will take requests from our backers on Patreon. To become a backer, just follow the link HERE! If you want to be sure we do your request your can always do a one-time donation for the amount of the game you want to have reviewed and we will list you as the producer in all blogs and videos for that game as well as linking to any website/contact you would like us to (as long as it’s family friendly content of course!) We also have a Facebook group called All Things Geek that you can join HERE
If you’ve played the Oculus Quest or any other VR system let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.