It may perhaps seem strange for what is soon to be a 15-year old game to be amongst the launch titles for a new piece of hardware.
Surely new, forward-looking technologies should be showcased with new software, right? Rez Infinite begs to differ, and by utilising the capabilities of PSVR to both enhance the gameplay and create a more immersive experience, it might just be the best of the headset’s impressive initial line-up.
A hybrid rhythm game/on-rails shooter created by the legendary Testsuya Mizuguchi, Rez Infinite shouldn’t really need an introduction, but here goes for those not already in the know. After the advanced AI called Eden, responsible for the data flow within the computer super network Project-K, begins to shut herself down due to an existential crisis, it’s up to you to log into the system and reboot Eden whilst obliterating any viruses or firewalls that hinder your progress. So yeah, basically shoot anything that moves whilst listening to a thumping soundtrack, and maybe shoot anything that doesn’t move too while you’re at it.
Rez Infinite isn’t the type of game where you fire wildly at targets with a machine gun though, instead tasking you to lock onto enemies by moving a receptacle over them whilst holding down a button, releasing a destructive barrage upon release. Up to eight targets can be locked onto at once, be it enemies or their projectiles, and to aim you can use a combination of your head and the left stick of a standard PS4 controller, or your head and a PS Move controller. Either way, it’s extremely intuitive, and the head tracking is spot on, giving you confidence in your endeavours.
Despite being a shooter, Rez Infinite is quite a laid back affair with the only challenge being its end of stage bosses. Not having a health bar as such, you’re required to collect blue support items throughout each stage to evolve your avatar, allowing them to sustain an extra hit with each spurt of development. Getting hit on the other hand will cause your avatar to devolve, with a game over being the result of sustaining damage while in your most basic form. Wise players then, will save their red support item fuelled Overdrive special attack for when the screen is awash with danger, allowing them to remain unscathed from even the most harrowing onslaught.
On paper, Rez Infinite’s gameplay may seem rather derivative, which to some degree it is, but in conjunction with its unique audio and visuals if feels anything but. Graphically it’s a mesmerising combination of colours and lines; simple but hugely effective at conveying an alien digital world that is eerily absorbing. Complementing the trippy visuals is a soundtrack that has each stage’s associated tune building layer by layer as you progress, raising your adrenaline and spurring you on. Even shooting and destroying enemies produces sounds that add to the beat, culminating in an almost trance-like experience that is heightened by the PSVR headset’s ability to effectively isolate and immerse you in another world.
Admittedly those who delve into Rez Infinite will find that it doesn’t take long to complete its five stages, perhaps only an hour or so depending on skill, but it’s the type of game you’ll return to again and again just for the sheer thrills it offers. Some longevity is also provided by a wealth of additional game modes, such as score attack, and the unlockable direct assault and boss rush. There’s even a bonus Lost Area stage to work through and a never-ending Trance Mission. The most worthwhile of Rez Infinite’s extras, however, is the brand new Area X.
Made especially for Rez Infinite, Area X is a level in which you actually have control over where you go, adding another dimension to the gameplay whilst retaining its core values. Making use of the PS4’s power, it’s also drastically more visually spectacular and varied than the main game, leaving you wondering what a fully-fledged sequel could be like with similar production values. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t detract from the original game’s charm or make it feel dated, it simply supplements the overall package, and with its boss taking on multiple forms depending on your actions it stands-up well for repeated play-throughs.
Playable with or without PSVR, Rez Infinite is a fantastic game that deserves a spot in your PS4 game collection regardless of whether or not you’ve played a previous version of it. Those with a PSVR headset however will find that it is transformative, taking an already euphoric experience and elevating it to the next level. In my opinion, PSVR already has a killer app thanks to Rez Infinite, making it worth owning a headset straight off the bat. If you’ve picked up PSVR at launch then, I implore you to buy Rez Infinite. Honestly, you won’t be disappointed.