Image: CM Games
Into The Radius combines supernatural survival shooter gameplay with careful maintenance of weapons and gear.
Nothing is the same in the remote Soviet mining town of Pechorsk. Instead of people, ghost-like creatures roam a surreal exclusion zone full of uprooted trees and floating structures. Your task while playing Into the Radius VR: survive in this chaos.
With its story mode, the CM Games game is aimed at single players. After the end of the early access phase, I entered the VR battle for survival. What makes the game special and maybe even particularly good?
Spooky VR Survival Shooter
As the last apparent survivor of a mysterious accident, I explore the weird zone while taking care of my health. The bubbling spatiotemporal anomalies can knock me down badly if I don’t detect their partially bright pulses in time.
As per the 1987 story, my only contact with the outside world is a creaky computer. At my secure base, I pick up differently prioritized missions of the United Nations Pechorsk Special Committee (UNPSC). If you want, I can carry out several active missions in parallel.
With the money I earn, I buy new rifles and accessories such as scopes or silencers to make me less noticeable in the desert. Sometimes I even have to lure shadows or ghost sheriffs sprinting out of cover. I then deliver good photos to the UNPSC for advance exploration.
However, it is generally advisable to creep along the walls to avoid attracting too many enemies. After all, many missions are about tracking down an item, like photographic film, and filling your backpack with vital loot along the way.
In the Ray: Messages from the Ether
Meanwhile, calls for help from the mysterious Katja come to me again and again. She and her companions in misfortune continue to provide me new background stories in the form of short audio messages. The story isn’t the focus here, but the short stories make me curious for more.
Sometimes the jet black silhouettes that suddenly appear give me a good scare. The reason is less a fear of jumping, but more the dense atmosphere in the bizarre world. This is especially true when I go exploring at night.
It’s not just the deadly spiky grass that sprouts from the walls that reminds me to be careful. Enemies regularly gather at the edge of buildings to threaten (and too loudly, the sound mix is not suitable here again) draw attention to themselves. Oddly enough, mobs almost never enter buildings – maybe they can’t use the doors?
But when they do, and one catches me looting, I drop the flashlight in fear. Later I obtain access to useful gadgets like a headlamp.
Manage inventory in the fight for survival
The large inventory of backpacks is clearly implemented less effectively than in other survival shooters like The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners (review). In the large main compartment, many objects simply fit into each other in a confusing way. Targeting and picking up objects with both VR controller triggers is also too imprecise in turbulent times.
This also applies to misplaced inventory belt on the body. I can often only access its contents with very awkward controller movements, especially when playing in a seated position. During gunfights or when I pick up a knife, such inaccuracies quickly lead to a noticeable health loss.
sometimes important objects slide through the holes at the edge of the game world and unreachable thereafter. Or the inventory belt is suddenly behind my back. Fortunately, the game can be saved at any time to quickly iron out these errors.
If technology plays the game, the the handling of weapons creates exciting moments. Only if I fill all the pistol magazines before my next trip will I be safe from running out of fuel. It’s especially fun to use motion controllers to reload shotgun ammo or store it on a stand.
A stuck gun slide causes nasty surprises if I don’t remove it in time. To prevent this from happening in the first place, Good preparation is already needed at the base. Here I even have to regularly spray the gun parts with oil and clean the barrel with a brush and a paper towel. This guarantees reliable shooting operation in the zone. In the persistent world, it takes a lot of care when cleaning anyway.
Into the Radius: A Classy VR Survival Shooter
Finds I bring with me stay exactly where I leave them, including treats to ward off hunger and low stamina. You can even “pick” canned food from the box with a knife in post-apocalyptic style.
All of this actually creates the feeling between the missions that I’m in a fight for survival, for which I must prepare myself scrupulously. The marvelous world and its restless creatures also support the atmosphere, even if the technical realization is only mediocre.
In the PC version of Into the Radius VR, weapons and some objects show nice shiny detail up close. Some fuzzy piles of dirt and woodwork, on the other hand, look a bit dull and outdated.
There are obviously fewer details on the Quest 2 (test). Especially outdoors, the backdrops here are littered with less authentic debris. However, the successful artistic design and (mostly) clean performance create a coherent overall picture on the Quest 2 as well.
In the end, the fight for survival is already happening certain addictive effect in its first hoursdespite some problems such as sometimes jerky commands. Over 90% positive reviews on Steam and almost full five stars in the Quest Store speak for themselves: Into the Radius VR is a very good survival game for virtual reality.