lone-echo-test-2017

After the subcontracting of a few PSP, Wii and PS3 portages, the Californian studio Ready at Dawn made a notable entry into the big league with its first “real” game: The Order 1886. In addition to its perfect plastic which made it the most beautiful console title ever seen, the exclusive PS4 offered to follow the adventures of the Knights of the Round Table in a dystopian steampunk universe. But the success was not at the rendezvous, whether commercial, with less than two million units sold, or critical, the game not being spared by the press and the players. The fault with a bit light content, generic gameplay and the lack of multiplayer mode. And even if I was one of the few players who had enjoyed the game, especially thanks to his narration, his beauty, and his rather cool weapons, the end had disappointed me, I must say.

So it was with a lot of excitement that I was preparing to host the second big project of the studio, the latter having the nerve to be an exclusively virtual reality experience, available only on the Oculus Rift helmet. And then, will the last baby of the band of Ru Weerasuriya be a little disappointment as his elder quoted above, or will it finally be the bomb that will help the studio to finally meet success at all levels? I think you’ve already read the answer in the title of this test, let’s see why now.

lone-echo-test-2017
lone-echo-test-2017

Lone Echo TEST & Review

Lone Echo arrives in a context currently rather tense for the virtual reality: the helmets sell well, but communication on the latter is minimal of the manufacturers, Sony in mind, which may be discouraging when to the eventual future of technology. Also, the games that come out, however good they may be, are only very short experiences, Batman Arkham VR or Job Simulator in the lead, or projects that feel opportunistic porting, as the future declines of Skyrim and Fallout. I myself melted technology and although initially skeptical, I quickly cracked for a virtual reality helmet, but spent the first few months of wonder, I only came out that the latter to put full view to friends at home, titles like Nioh, Gravity Rush 2, NieR Automata or Persona 5 keeping in my eyes far more ludic appeal in the long term than the current VR productions. But nevertheless, I still have a blind confidence in this potentially insane technology. And Lone Echo is the first title that truly rewards this trust and sets a new standard in what can be expected in future projects.

Lone Echo puts you in the shoes of Jack, an android specializing in the repair of space equipment of all kinds, with an AI and a particular sense of humour … You are assigned to the maintenance of the space station Kronos II, destined for the extraction of helium 3, in orbit around the rings of Saturn, and share your daily life with many androids that do not possess your intelligence, but also Olivia, captain of the vessel and alone on-board facilities. This last one will pack up for another destination, and it is to you that will return the task of turning the hut … Except that nothing happens as planned, and the old one of the departure of your only friend, an anomaly appears in your area (no, Lone Echo is not a pre-that of Interstellar !) and is accompanied by a gigantic electromagnetic wave that will disrupt all the systems of your ship and the mechanisms in the vicinity. It will then be up to you to repair all that, first inside the station, then out, in the interstellar void. And finally, it will be necessary to shed light on the why of this singularity appeared mysteriously, but I would say no more here.

LoneEcho-online
LoneEcho-online

Virtual reality

This scenario, if it starts in an agreed and rather classical way, still reserves its share of surprises and turnarounds, has a rather sustained rhythm, and the end, if it calls for a sequel (which would be grandiose if it was to see the light of day!), will not leave the bitter taste left by The Order 1886in its time, by truly closing a chapter of this history which is self-sufficient. Moreover, with the immersion proposed by virtual reality, the many dialogues we choose to make (in English without subtitles only), we really live the history of the interior, we are not only spectators or player, and one feels truly caught “at play” to the point that one forgets sometimes that one is precisely in “a game”. True feelings of affection will arise for Olivia, but also stress, tension in the face of many dangers, as well as the satisfaction of the work accomplished but also an extreme curiosity in the face of the problems facing us …

And if this adventure is so “alive”, it is thanks to its playability, simply one of the most mastered, if not the most controlled, that I have been given to see in reality virtual. The title takes place entirely in zero gravity, and your avatar, therefore, floats in space, freeing its weight. To move around, we will first learn to grab all that is within our reach and propel us in the desired direction. Then we can also use the mini-thrusters in our wrists to give a boost in the desired direction. Finally, a large dorsal reactor coupled with a break will allow us to hang quickly a speed more than important. Whereas other games rapidly spin the sheaf by simulating the walk, a character with a stick to move forward or to turn, here we free ourselves from the legs, and it is our arms that will do all the work. The brain then adapts very quickly – even a little too much for me, who had reminiscences of the feeling of weightlessness many minutes after my playing sessions and wanted to cling to everything within my reach for move me – and the feeling of flying, propelling yourself in the desired direction becomes really exhilarating, and even more when you take a high speed in a confined environment. But beware of shocks against the walls, the brain then creating alerts and adrenaline rises real! The brain then adapts very quickly – even a little too much for me, who had reminiscences of the feeling of weightlessness many minutes after my playing sessions and wanted to cling to everything within my reach for move me – and the feeling of flying, propelling yourself in the desired direction becomes really exhilarating, and even more when you take a high speed in a confined environment. But beware of shocks against the walls, the brain then creating alerts and adrenaline rises real! The brain then adapts very quickly – even a little too much for me, who had reminiscences of the feeling of weightlessness many minutes after my playing sessions and wanted to cling to everything within my reach for move me – and the feeling of flying, propelling yourself in the desired direction becomes really exhilarating, and even more when you take a high speed in a confined environment. But beware of shocks against the walls, the brain then creating alerts and adrenaline rises real! grabbing all that was within my reach to move me – and the feeling of flying, propelling in the desired direction becomes really exhilarating, and even more when you take a high speed in a confined environment. But beware of shocks against the walls, the brain then creating alerts and adrenaline rises real! grabbing all that was within my reach to move me – and the feeling of flying, propelling in the desired direction becomes really exhilarating, and even more when you take a high speed in a confined environment. But beware of shocks against the walls, the brain then creating alerts and adrenaline rises real.

lone-echo-2017-online-test
lone-echo-2017-online-test

Zero Gravity Rush

In addition to this mode of travel, a real achievement, and which I hope will be imitated by others in the future, Lone Echo is also distinguished by other notable components in its playability. Hand management in particular. Or rather fingers managed very successfully independently or grouped. We can very easily try to catch everything that passes … And turning into a perverse robot trying to first touch Olivia under all sorts, but the latter will have a great reaction and we will quickly rewarded done well by propelling us too far from a sudden blow accompanied by a murderous remark! The orders, although confusing at the start, are finally effective enough once one has taken the coup.

We will be able to interact with everyone around us and even benefit from the support of two tools, a scanner to get a lot of information about the universe that surrounds us, but also a laser cutter that will cut doors and inaccessible panels as part of our repairs. This laser will be at the origin of one of the rare reproaches that one can make to the game: a certain repetitiveness in the tasks accomplished. You’re a maintenance robot, so you’re going to have to fix a lot of stuff. With gestures, which, inevitably, will prove to be redundant. But unlike a title like Loading Human, these little things that you are asked to accomplish will have far greater repercussions, and in their scenario, they eventually turn out to be a lesser evil … Other small “physical” defects are of the part, such as the fact that when gripping a moving transport module, if it is rotating, your body does not follow, or the total absence of “trim” adjustment or the top is always on top and the bottom always on the bottom. But I chipotle, these elements have been very probably decided for the good of the player and his stomach.

Lone Echo TEST & Review
Lone Echo TEST & Review

In space, nobody will hear you bugger.

With its exhilarating gameplay and immersive storyline, Lone Echo borders the sans-fautes. But what if the technical side did not follow? Fortunately, this is not the case. On the PC of skill of the editorial, dedicated to the virtual reality, I experienced a pleasant experience from end to end, except this passage in a dark corridor of the ship, or without any explanation, nor 3D models too complex to the game began to row horribly to the point of falling to 10-12 FPS, to become ultra fluid when I came out in a beautiful and very complex field of space debris. Despite restarts of the game, the PC, or even reloading a previous backup, always the same slowdown at this location. I had the misfortune of meeting a few other small bugs, like objects stuck or missing away, far away in space, have forced to reload my backup and return a few minutes back. You’re warned, everything is not perfect, and it will take a real PC killer to turn the beast. The game remains nevertheless very beautiful, one of the most beautiful of the virtual reality, but does not succeed the exploit to stand out as had done The Order 1886 in its day, the current machines not being powerful enough today, and helmet screens not yet having sufficient resolution.

Finally, to finish this test, let’s talk about the multiplayer mode, which deserves a test by itself: using the gameplay bases described above, and adding a punch that will annoy your opponents, the players form two teams , then you are propelled into an arena full of objects to support, and you are fighting a game of Ultimate in weightlessness, or both sides will try to throw a frisbee into the opposing goal area! Simply brilliant, exhilarating, and with great potential. If the sauce takes and players follow, this multiplayer part clearly has the potential to become the Rocket League of the RV, offering an incredible dose of fun associated with controlled playability. Lone Echosets the bar very high in the field of RV, sets a new standard in the matter. We can not wait to see what happens next, and what Ready at Dawn reserves for the future …

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