The transition from real sports into virtual reality will not be an easy feat by any means. If Echo Arena, a game for the Oculus Rift, is any indication, there is still a lot of work to be done in the coming years. Competitive multiplayer gaming and virtual reality make for an interesting experience, although we are not there yet by any means. Especially when it comes to zero-gravity sports, as the experience can be quite sickening, to say the least.
Echo Arena Has Potential but Comes With Flaws
The Echo Arena game has been around in the form of several beta versions so far. Not much has changed in between the beta and the final version, though, despite making some improvements to the overall gameplay. The objective of this game is simple: two teams of three compete in zero-g against one another. The goal is to put your disc through the enemy’s goal and prevent them from doing the same. On the plus side, this game handles aggression quite well, as you get to virtually punch people in the face quite regularly.
As one would expect, zero-gravity movements in virtual reality are a bit of a mixed bag. With the use of thrusters and boosters, you can move around in many different ways. It is fun and exhilarating, but it is also obvious a lot of people will suffer from simulator sickness along the way. Thankfully, this is less present compared to earlier beta versions, but the issue has not been entirely resolved just yet. Thankfully, the developers try to keep everything along the same up-and-down axis without having to change the settings, which is a nice touch.
For a game thriving due to its multiplayer content, one would expect most people to play as many matches as possible. That is not entirely the case with Echo arena, as plenty of people hang out in the multiple lobby to experience zero-gravity in between matches. It is also an interesting social experiment, as these lobbies allow users to exchange valuable information regarding different movements and such. This is a great way to make games like these more appealing to people all over the world, although even the most experienced players will still suffer from frustrating elements.
Speaking of frustration, there will be quite a fair bit of it along the way. Players can team up and virtually destroy opponents in mere seconds by scoring goal after goal. Zero-gravity gaming is still in the very early stages of both evolution and VR development, that much is evident. Echo Arena is a great example of what the future may hold moving forward, although some of the quirks will need to be resolved sooner rather than later. Balancing teams is a particular issue right now, although that is something the developers may be able to fix. All in all, a good effort, but not perfect by any means.
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