In Death: Unchained Quest 2 Update 1.1.0 Preview
It’s a tale as old as time; the forces of the afterlife – both good and bad – have become corrupt and seek nothing more than destruction and chaos. You, the chosen hero, must walk through heaven, hell, and purgatory between to fight against the hordes and vanquish them. Maybe it isn’t a story we hear too often, but it’s a strong enough plot to move In Death: Unchained forward and get you going in this VR rogue-lite experience. The game originally launched on the Quest earlier this year, but with the release of the Quest 2, In Death: Unchained takes advantage of the new technology to enhance the game with some brand new touches that make it a vastly more enjoyable experience.
As stated before, In Death: Unchained tasks you with defeating the denizens of the afterlife. You’ll begin in Purgatory and must fight your way into heaven and hell with only your bow and a shield to protect you. As a rogue-lite you, unfortunately, are going to die. A lot. That is kind of the entire point. Each time you fall, your accolades from the previous run go towards powering up and unlocking new skills and abilities. These points are only banked when you die, so don’t be too discouraged if it happens a lot early on.
If At First You Don’t Succeed, Die, Die Again
So what makes this new Oculus Quest 2 edition different from the original? Probably the biggest change I was most grateful for is free locomotion. Previously, you would navigate the afterlife by two means: shooting arrows that would whisk you away to wherever they may land, and a quick-dodge dagger made of light. Wherever you threw the dagger, you would step in that direction to get out of harms way. Fans have been asking for free locomotion for some time now and it is finally here. You can choose to move at a walking speed using the joysticks for a smooth ride while still firing arrows, teleporting, and dodging as before. This feature also makes it much simpler to dodge arrows as you can simply sidestep them as they begin to fall.
In Death: Unchained also features a greater use of atmosphere as a whole. New floating structures in the environment make the area feel bigger and the players field of depth is larger, allowing you to look off in the distance to see what lies ahead. While it may not seem like much, this goes further into immersing the player within the game and their surroundings, as the world doesn’t feel like it only exists one procedurally generated room at a time. An additional affect of the environment comes in its new fog layer system. Volumetric fog creates a more heavenly, ethereal appearance to the world that is quite lovely, although there was the odd time I noticed the fog indoors in an oddly static texture which followed my head movements.
This recent update for the game also addresses the Fixed Foveated Rendering, or FFR. Most – if not all – VR games use some amount of FFR which allows the visible portion of the game in your peripherals to run at a lower resolution and allows the rest of the game – whatever happens to be in front of you – to run cleaner without applying pressure to the GPU. The Oculus Quest 2 is powerful enough to allow In Death: Unchained to run without the use of FFR at all, meaning everywhere you look the game is crisp and smooth. I find this further enhances the immersion of the world around you and heightens the tension as you feel more alert and aware of your surroundings.
Beyond those key features you can expect a whole host of improvements across the game as you might expect with an update to a new platform: better textures, smoother animations, enhanced environments, all the things that take the core of In Death: Unchained and amp them up to the next level. Developer Superbright is quite excited and optimistic for the future of the game, with plans to frequently update and expand on the experience, hoping to become the visual benchmark of VR gaming on the Quest 2.
I personally had a blast with In Death: Unchained. Trying to fire quickly while in the thick of combat is intense and satisfying. Aiming with the bow takes some work (it definitely isn’t like shooting a gun) but I found the learning curve to be small and my accuracy greatly improved. I hope these improvements bring more attention to the game, and that In Death: Unchained really does earn its place as a graphical benchmark of interactive gaming. At $29.99 USD, if you are a fan of rogue-lites you really can’t go wrong with this immersive crusade into the afterlife.
In Death: Unchained’s 1.1.0 update with all of these new features will be available November 3rd. For more information, check out the game’s official website.