Review – Immortal Legacy: The Jade Cipher

I remember thinking that virtual reality was going to be a fad before testing the PSVR for the first time. From that moment onwards, I became enamored with the technology and started to look forward to basically every single new announcement for both PSVR and Oculus/HTC, wondering which new boundaries would be reached and which new experiences would be available to consumers. We saw the release of groundbreaking titles like Rush of Blood, Superhot VR, Astro Bot, Farpoint, and so on. With the exception of the latter, those games are usually deprived of a story and short in length. I wanted to see a movie-like experience being brought to VR, something that the Planet of the Apes game failed miserably to do so. That’s why I was interested in Immortal Legacy: The Jade Cipher.

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Published by Sony themselves, Immortal Legacy: The Jade Cipher is a bold attempt at porting the look and feel of the Uncharted series to VR, albeit with a fraction of the popular franchise’s budget. Initial impressions are strong. The game showers you with lore and a ton of backstory, followed by an introductory scene inside an airplane. It features decent voice acting, even though your character is absolutely devoid of charisma whenever he opens his mouth (and that happens a lot). The plane is then shot down and you wake up after being captured by a bunch of terrorists.

The next scene is when any attempt at taking this story seriously goes down the rabbit hole. Your character is saved by, and I ain’t kidding here, a YouTube streamer. Yep, a teenage girl is visiting a remote island just to get some visitors and happened to stumble upon a terrorist camp with a prisoner. To make matters worse, she calls herself “Cookie Pie”. That’s when the game actually begins and you’re introduced to its main issue, the controls.

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Sir, that’s not exactly healthy. Or polite.

Simply put, Immortal Legacy is a weird and clunky game to play, and I can’t even put the blame entirely on the developers. The PSVR is a system with very limited capabilities, and its Move controllers don’t feature enough inputs to provide players with a realistic and comfortable control scheme. The developers did their best to map free roaming controls on what could have otherwise been yet another corridor shooter, but they ended up resorting on a very confusing control scheme, with the main move buttons acting as “move forward”, and a combination of other buttons in both Move controllers to turn the camera, strafe left and right, as well as your standard item management. They did the best they could, but it just doesn’t work as well as it should.

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I’m not interested…

While these issues were more of a consequence of the limits of the Move controllers, I honestly can’t forgive the game’s visuals for being so clunky and devoid of immersion. I may criticize first-person VR games for featuring floating jazz hands, but now I understand why. Immortal Legacy renders your entire arms and they look more like Slender Man’s limbs than something a normal human would have. Immortal Legacy‘s animations are cheap and robotic, making the somewhat realistic character models look like those detailed lifelike androids you see on the news every now and then.

The aiming is quite cumbersome as well. The lack of proper crosshairs, all in the name of so-called immersion, makes the act of properly aiming at an enemy and shooting more complicated than it should be. Immortal Legacy‘s combat is just not fun. It might not be as bad as other games released for the PSVR (looking at you, Bravo Team), but it does very little to move the system forward as well. The inclusion of Aim support would have been massively appreciated, as the controls become even more confusing when holding a larger weapon that requires both of your hands.

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I may have broken my character’s wrist.

I commend the developers for trying to adapt the high-octane cinematic feel of the Uncharted games to a VR landscape, but I think that was too much for them to handle. Immortal Legacy: The Jade Cipher is not exactly a bad game, it has some really cool and ambitious ideas, but all is bogged down by both the limitations of the PSVR and a handful of annoying glitches. I’d still recommend this game, at a discount, if you’re craving for more Drake-esque shenanigans, but just be aware that this plot is definitely not at the same level of quality as Amy Hennig’s scripts.

 

Graphics: 7.0

There are some impressive landscapes in here and some of the character models are actually well-designed, but the animations are so archaic that they ruin any attempt to immerse the player into the game’s world.

Gameplay: 5.0

Immortal Legacy is clearly too ambitious for the dated layout of the Move controllers. The control scheme is too bizarre, even though you can eventually get used to it.

Sound: 7.0

The game has surprisingly decent voice acting, with the exception of your grumpy and unlikable protagonist.

Fun Factor: 5.5

Immortal Legacy‘s laughably terrible story may actually be entertaining to some, but accidental jokes aside, there’s nothing in here that hasn’t been seen or done before in a more polished way. It’s just “there”.

Final Verdict: 6.0

Immortal Legacy: The Jade Cipher is available now on PSVR.

Reviewed on PSVR.

A copy of Immortal Legacy: The Jade Cipher was provided by the publisher.

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