Vertigo 2 Review – A Visually Dated Gem That Dazzles with Creativity

Vertigo 2 Review

After making waves on PCVR, the acclaimed sci-fi adventure makes its way to the PSVR 2. Influenced by the Half-Life series, Vertigo 2 aims to embody the same level of innovation that engulfed Valve’s flagship title. With such a lofty goal from a primarily single-person developer, will the title manage to meet the high expectations and set a new standard for immersive sci-fi gaming on the platform?

You awake, confined to a small room in the Quantum Reaktor, a place that captures creatures from other dimensions. When guided around the premises by a flying robot similar to Wheatley from Portal 2, the unthinkable occurs, a breakout. As strange beings terrorize each corridor of the Quantum Reaktor, you must use your gun to blast these down and escape. The opening is a great way to learn the mechanics and prepare you for the strange journey ahead. Although this is a sequel, you don’t need to have played the original game to get to grips with the story. A recap and background information is presented from the number of characters you meet on your way.

A Strange Story

Some cutscenes are presented on a screen but are still 3D. This threw me at first but I could overlook this quickly. One thing that was harder to ignore was the voice acting. There’s an inconsistency that spreads throughout with certain personalities being portrayed authentically while others lack the nuances found in great performances. The dialogue has moments of humor and while this doesn’t always land, it keeps a lighthearted tone for the adventure. As audio segments initiate through cues in the game, it can be jarring when these sections don’t commence. At times, I would be wandering in the correct direction only to notice that the AI companion had stopped in its tracks. I had to go back to start this sequence so that I could progress. Although not game-breaking, it is an annoyance that can occur.

Gunplay is at the forefront of the adventure. With fourteen weapons available throughout, you will need to master the art of shooting. Each gun feels unique and has its own reload mechanic which adds further individuality to the weapons. In the beginning, it can be a little difficult to accurately shoot the array of enemies striving to end your life. However, as you progress, you will unlock aspects for your weapon adding new sights, extra ammo, and much more. The methodical placement of these elements adds a nice pace to the game as you continually feel as if you are getting stronger the further into this sci-fi epic. Rather than searching for ammunition within the environment, Vertigo 2 includes a system where each gun will synthesize ammo while equipped. This allows you to experiment with weapons as switching between them becomes vital when waiting for cartridges to replenish.

Blasting Beasts

Due to the strange narrative that includes multiverses, the enemies you encounter are varied and odd. Foes attacks in different ways which makes you consider their actions and counter accordingly. Although there are plenty of unique characters, the diverse designs affect the synergy of the world. You jump from shooting aliens with a hand as a head to living rocks in quick succession which ends up feeling like a bunch of ideas thrown into a level.

Visually, the game is a mixed bag. Zulubo Productions opts for a cartoon-esque design that suits the premise and tone of the game. While this works and further ties the game to its influences, there are plenty of basic textures and stock environments that make Vertigo 2 feel generic at times. In contrast to these segments, there are moments of awe with incredible landscapes. Even though these look amazing on the PSVR 2, clipping and pop-ins do occur. The larger, open areas are impressive, however, I did encounter more frame rate drops in these sections compared to the smaller enclosed locations. None of this affects the gameplay but it does hinder the immersion.

Slick Beats

The synth-heavy soundtrack is fantastic and perfectly marries gameplay. At pivotal points, the slick 80s beats pump and really enhance those sequences. Adding to the sound design is the great use of spatial audio. You can quickly and easily identify the location of a creature based on sound alone. Although I was generally impressed with the sound of guns and other effects, bugs meant that at times some sound effects got cut off or failed to appear which did stifle the experience.

Vertigo 2 is packed with great ideas. Being built specifically for VR, there is a nice layer of tactility with the inventory and reload systems. There are plenty of wonderful set pieces that make a bunch of memorable moments throughout the well-paced campaign. Although the visuals are dated and bugs will crop up from time to time, it’s still a wonderful, ambitious game.

*** PSVR 2 code provided by the publisher ***

The Good

  • Lots of Interesting Ideas
  • Tactile World
  • Sound Design

The Bad

  • Dated Visuals
  • Framerate Drops
  • Odd Bugs