Stormland PAX West 2018 Hands-On
Having not owning my own VR unit, much of my experience with VR gaming has come from preview events. In the past two years, my VR experiences have evolved from a static fishing experience to an on-rails shooter, to an arena-based multiplayer game, and now to an open world action-adventure title. Stormland is undoubtedly the biggest and most ambitious VR title I have personally experienced thus far, and boy is it impressive.
In Stormland, you play as a robotic gardener tending to a planet to ensure that it is inhabitable for humans. However, a benevolent being known as The Tempest arrives on your planet, altering the cloudscape and forcing the once peaceful gardener to take matters into their own hands. In addition to combat, Stormland has players climbing cliffs, flying throughout the world, and completing various quests. My short time with the demo had me completing a quick tutorial before unleashing me against a variety of enemies, dual-wielding machine pistol-like weapons that could change to an SMG style weapon if I held it with two hands. The combat was satisfying, and the overall movements and controls were quite intuitive.
While this sounds like a typical open-world action adventure title, the fact that this all takes place in the VR landscape makes it even more impressive. On top of being in VR, Stormland can be experienced cooperatively. Lastly, The Tempest alters the landmass every week. When I first heard this touted, I simply thought it to be that the layout of the world changes through the story. I was incorrect, and I was glad to be. Rather, the map literally changes on a weekly basis, providing players with new locales and quests to complete weekly.
I was also informed that the weekly changes also influence how the game progresses. While players attempt to solve the mystery of The Tempest, community progress and goal achievement will be vital in progressing the story as a community. In addition to pushing VR capabilities, I cannot help but feel that Stormland is making the most out of the overall gaming landscape, from utilizing the ever-progressing world of virtual reality to providing weekly content updates. With Insomniac’s vast amount of experience and Stormland’s potential, the title is expected to perform well and have loads of content for prospective players.