Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
EVE: Valkyrie makes an outstanding initial impression. With polished controls, slick visuals and plenty of lore and world building from the EVE universe, this title takes a solid space combat game and elevates it with its visual immersion.
EVE: Valkyrie is going to go down as one of the titles that showcases just how pretty the Oculus can look, but also how much fun the games can be. That is going to be the key here, because if you enjoy its formula, EVE: Valkyrie is a lot of fun despite gameplay that can border on repetitious over time. For those familiar with EVE and know it is a deep game full of strategy, Valkyrie might be a bit shocking since the focus here is on combat.
My initial reaction was to compare another space flight game to this one: Elite Dangerous. However, they quickly reveal themselves to be aesthetically similar but two very different beasts. Whereas Elite Dangerous is more of a simulation game, EVE: Valkyrie has incredibly tight controls (this is a gamepad game, and I think that makes sense since precision is so important) and with its freedom of movement creates such a fun sense of ‘being there’ as you look out the window of your cockpit while flying and having dogfights in space. Controls are intuitive – I basically was able to pick up and play. Sure, there is the need to learn how the game controls and moves – to get a sense for its speed, but there is a familiarity to the control scheme that simply works.
There is some single player content here, and it is polished if not terribly deep. It runs a half dozen levels, with some of the experiences being mostly spectator ones (that do suitably wow – the visual design here is top-notch) and the other four are over with pretty quickly. The meat of the experience is the online multiplayer, which is handled pretty well. The title supports cross platform play, which is a huge perk for keeping the matches staffed with players, but even in instances where a full team of humans can’t be rounded up, AI bots get plugged in to fill the games. I think this is a smart move as I have played several online-only Oculus Rift games of late, and because the user base is so small, sometimes it can be a challenge to get a proper match off of the ground.
Progression and various ship types help to keep the multiplayer action going, and give you a reason to come back to the well repeatedly. That being said, more modes and maps would be huge. The development team has been adding to the title since its release, and it’s clear that it’s continued to move in the right direction
There are a few other drawbacks in need of mention as well. The single player content is light, as I mentioned. It would be better if it was a proper campaign and not a series of missions that lack any sort of heart or connected narrative. The gameplay is fun but it can be a little shallow and somewhat grindy. That is hardly unheard of in multiplayer games – I think most shooters from Titanfall to Call of Duty and more follow that same basic recipe of progression, some new unlocks, but a lot of repetition. If the game is well-polished and fun, as EVE: Valkyrie, it’s easier to overlook this aspect of the gameplay loop. It is also worth calling out that this is an intense visual experience – those prone to VR sickness might find all of the rapid movement a bit much.
All in all I have enjoyed my time with EVE: Valkyrie. It is quick and easy to slide in and out of matches and it promises to have more staying power than many online games just due to multiplatform and bot options that are just smart design. More than just a tech demo, EVE: Valkyrie is a proper space combat game that happens to be more immersive due to the VR experience.Score: 7.75 / 10