Arktika.1 – Post-Apocalyptic VR Goodness

Gun Variety 85%
Creepy Dark Levels 80%
Physical Activity 90%
Robots AND Mutants? 100%
Final Thoughts

Arktika.1 is an immersive FPS that looks and feels great to play. An excellent use of the Touch controllers. A must own title for any action lover.

Overall Score 88%

Arktika.1 is my latest adventure in a virtual world and it’s the best FPS that I’ve played on the Oculus Rift so far. It’s the newest game from 4A Games, the people who brought us the Metro series. Every time I pick up a new VR game, I wonder why I ever go back to 2D gaming. Unfortunately, first-person games seem really difficult to do well in VR. Arktika.1 manages to avoid the pitfalls of other games and delivers a solid, atmospheric shooter from beginning to end.

The first thing I notice as I dive into Arktika.1 is that I start the game standing in a car. Yes, standing as I’m being driven to the site of my first mission by a woman that, suspiciously, has a seat. “Well,” I thought, “I can’t wait to see how the rest of this goes,” as I continued to stand in the moving car while rifling through the glovebox, messing with the center console, and rolling down the window to expose myself to the frozen wastes rolling past. My driver seemed entirely nonplussed by the whole experience and I began worrying that I was in for a long, unremarkable ordeal.

It happened that my first mission was to get familiar with my guns in the Arktika.1 shooting range. Pretty standard fare getting acquainted with the basics of shooting and reloading my trusty firearms. I’m far more fond of the reloads that have me bring the weapons to my waist to change clips than the ones that require flipping the gun to the left and back. (I often tilt the gun too much in combat and get frustrated when it tries to reload.) The number of guns available to be made (and found) in the game makes it a good idea to stop by the shooting range often.

Then it was time to put on the (in-game) VR headset and begin my combat training in VR. That’s when I learned about movement in the game and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t going to suck. In fact, the use of a fixed point teleportation system (where I need only look at a highlighted possible jump location and press a button to move) felt more natural than the often terrible point-and-port system used by other shooters. Someday we’ll have holodeck technology, but this is a fine substitute until then.

Arktika.1 is one of those VR games that requires a decent sized play area for the best experience. Physically moving to take advantage of environmental cover is necessary for any difficulty level beyond easy. It does a great job of building up that feeling of danger and a need to finish fights quickly. I’ve also found that immersion on that level makes jump scares much more unnerving for me. I’m glad I wasn’t streaming the first time a monster jumped out of the darkness at me. I’m not going to say that I fell on my ass trying to back up, but I might have been a bit startled.

The overall experience in Arktika.1 is fun and more than a little compelling. My only complaint is not knowing how many secrets were missed in a level. I received a notification at the end of each mission, but I wanted to press on with the story. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help me determine which missions I need to go back to for 100% completion. Not that the game cares about that, but I know I do.

I recommend Arktika.1  for anyone looking to get the most out of their Oculus system. The environments are amazing, the sound is superb, and the gunplay is highly engaging. It’s a worthy addition to any VR library; doubly so if you’re an action lover. My total playtime was somewhere in the 10 to 15-hour range. (The Oculus software should be better about tracking that.) I suggest spending an hour or two per session getting through a couple missions and spending time customizing weapons.

Arktika.1 is currently available for Oculus Rift with Touch.
Dorkadia received a copy of this game for review purposes.