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Rez Infinite review for PSVR, PS4

Platform: PlayStation VR
Also On: PS4
Publisher: Enhance Games
Developer: Monstars/Enhance Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Rez has been around for quite a long time, especially in video game years. It began as a game on the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 way back in 2001. Simply looking at screenshots or even watching a video doesn’t do the game justice. In fact, it can be downright confusing to try and understand what’s being presented on the screen unless you’re the one holding the controller. That’s the beauty of this game: it’s an experience like no other.

At its core, Rez Infinite is an on-rails shooting game. If you’ve played the Panzer Dragoon games back on the Sega Saturn you’ll have an idea of what to expect. The player must move around a cursor on-screen to highlight enemies and shoot them down. Up to eight enemies can be targeted at once for full offensive fury, and you’ll want to make good use of targeting multiple objects at once to increase your score and to clear the screen of hostiles. All of this shooting is set to a pulsing soundtrack that corresponds to your actions. It’s very rhythmic and if you’re strapped into the PlayStation VR (PSVR) helmet with a good set of headphones it’s easy to get lost in its psychedelic game world.

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Rez Infinite can be played on the TV as well as with the PSVR, so if you haven’t yet jumped into the virtual reality space you can still enjoy the frantic action. However, it must be noted that there’s nothing quite like playing the game fully immersed with the world all around you. With the headset on you can look in all directions and it feels like you’re inside some alien computer code program. While the game is controlled with the DualShock 4 controller, highlighting the enemies with the analog stick, as you become accustomed to the camera and the VR setting, it becomes second nature to target enemies just by moving your head and looking at them. In fact, there is a setting that you can turn on called dynamic mode that allows for even faster movement while moving your head that will totally give you an edge over any other control input. For some this might be a bit too jarring and maybe even cause some dizziness, but I found it just fine and my preferred way of playing. The game supports a Move controller as well, which feels more natural than the analog sticks on the normal controller.

Graphically the game is surreal with somewhat simplistic looking enemies and backgrounds. The game runs at a smooth frame rate, even in VR, and everything has a blistering pace to it. The game combines strange and colorful backgrounds with Tron-like grids and shapes to create something completely unique. It’s not designed to win you over with super detailed textures, and in fact in many ways it looks like it did back in 2001. This isn’t necessarily a negative though as the visual aesthetic works great for this type of game.

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If you’ve already played the original Rez or the HD version that came out then you’re not going to get much new here. Most of this game will be familiar, but there is a new mode called Area X that takes the game off-rails and allows you to fly anywhere you want in the environment. This is an all-new experience and as such the graphics look slightly better and the game is even more intense than ever before. This mode automatically opens after you’ve played the game for an hour and I can see it being one of the main draws for people who have already experienced Rez in the past.

Rez Infinite makes a good case for virtual reality. It’s not a game designed from the ground up for the technology, but it’s a perfect fit and really does a fantastic job of surrounding the player in its world. The blisteringly fast gameplay combined with a fantastic soundtrack and unique graphical style make Rez Infinite one of the best reasons to pick up a PSVR. Fans of old-school score attack gaming will soon find themselves playing this game over and over again trying to best themselves. With a bevy of other games in VR that focus on the cinematic experience, it’s nice to see an action-heavy game also perform exceedingly well in the space.

Grade: B+