Right off the bad it’s clear that Immortal Legacy is a serious entry into PSVR’s VR collection.
It’s an action adventure shooter with nice graphics and fairly high production values. Crafted by Chinese developer Viva Games, Immortal Legacy establishes atmosphere like few other titles of this ilk on the platform.
As the opening cinematic plays out, setting the scene, you get a sense of what will follow will be a thrilling action adventure shooter.
Your character is a mercenary of some kind on a reconnaissance mission to recover an artefact of some kind in a military occupied archeological environment of some kind. Your voice carries the same distinctly raspy timbre of the Witcher’s “Geralt”, and a quick Google search confirms it’s the same voice actor.
The game opens with a flashback that serves as a movement and shooting tutorial and here it becomes distinctly apparent of the game’s first major flaw, it’s movement and control scheme.
Movement is handled by either move button and it’s cripplingly slow. Both move buttons pressed increases your movement speed slightly, but only to a standard walking pace which ends up becoming frustrating from escaping the chaos of gunfire. Furthermore, the left / right turn buttons are mapped to the lower, outer face buttons of the left / right move controllers which is incredibly unintuitive, and although does settle into muscle memory doesn’t really ever feel quite right.
There is smooth turn, but this is also slow and introduces thick vignette blinders that obscure too much of the screen, so incremental snap turning is oddly preferable here.
These quarrels aside, the game is routinely fun, pushing you down tight rocky corridors cordoned by cliffs, temples or cave walls and peppered with open areas wide enough to constitute the multitude of ‘uncharted’ style gunfights. These feel suitably arcadey, and although the best strategy is peak and shoot, as sluggish movement prohibits any kind of twitch gunplay, popping a headshot is satisfying every time.
Your weapon arsenal grows pretty quickly, and you can dual wield single-handed weapons or select from a variety of assault rifles, grenades, etc. Nothing too inventive here but it works within the more realistic aesthetic and context of the game.
There are also some light puzzle elements for moving through some areas, and these are challenging enough to engage another function of the brain, without being frustrating.
Aesthetically, the game is mostly washed out hues of brown and grey environments, but despite the occasional muddy texture, looks pretty decent – especially the gun models.
Some of the high-tech and “otherworldly” components of the games design contrast nicely against the drab settings when they appear, so that adds some variety.
The cutscenes I found unsettling though. The camera inexplicably removes itself from your perspective and starts cutting between shots, like in a film. Some of the camera positions are odd, and I’m assuming purposed to show off the artwork rather than make contextual sense. It can be jarring suddenly being thrust onto the lap of the antagonist as she’s delivering her monologue.
Sound and voice acting is decent, if unremarkable. The weapons feel suitable punchy and make up for the lack of sensory feedback, such as recoil, not afforded to the move controllers. Music crescendos to build anticipation in all of the right moments and compliments the tension or the action well.
All in all, Immortal Legacy – Jade Cipher requires some patience to get through its frustrating idiosyncrasies but once things start to feel natural, and you’ve accepted the developers peculiar design choices, there is definitely plenty of fun to be had here.
Released: May 2019
Platforms: PSVR, PlayStation 4
Genre: Virtual Reality
Developer: Viva Games