Review – Green Hell VR
A survival game set in the depths of an Amazonian forest sounds like a perfect game for VR, right? Green Hell is the latest game full console game that has made a transition over to the VR space. Initially launching in 2019, after a year long run in early access, it received a solid following much like its closest counterpart, The Forest. Green Hell VR makes a very successful transition to the VR space, but it’s not without its issues.
During an expedition to an Amazonian Forest to regain contact with one of the native tribes, something goes terribly wrong, and Jake and Mia are split up. You play as Jake, who after an incident must search for his wife who is still lost in the Amazonian forest. Much like The Forest however, a simple fight for survival turns into something so much more sinister, with some surprising twists along the way.
The story is very much optional and is there mostly to give you context as to why you are in the forest being hunted down by the natives. It functions fine and very rarely even gets in the way of the survival. Plus, if you don’t like it at all and just want a pure survival game, then there is that option to remove all the story in survival mode.
Gameplay is exactly what you would expect from a survival game. You are dropped into an extremely hostile environment, and have to scavenge for food and resources to help you survive. You’ve got your standard array of food and water meters, amongst other additions, so don’t be expecting any grand innovations from Green Hell VR. Where it does slightly differ are with the infections you can get whilst interacting with the world. You’ll need to treat them fast in order to stay in the game for while.
That being said, I would actually recommend giving Green Hell VR a shot, even if you aren’t big in the survival genre. Especially since there are a few difficulty settings that do let you go for a more casual survival experience. The game’s default setting can initially be a little bit daunting, as the game doesn’t have the best tutorial to get you started.
There’s of course hostile wild life and natives you will need to contend with to survive. Finally there is crafting, being able to craft small structures, weapons and resources. Crafting has been changed slightly from the standard game to make use of the VR capabilities.
Controls in Green Hell VR are an absolute breeze. On your left hand you have a watch, which will provide not only a compass, but vital signs, dangers, alarms, and more. It’s a neat feature that makes great use of VR controls without taking you out of the experience at all. Your backpack is placed over your…. (checks notes) back and will be your inventory for the game. If you played Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, you should know what to expect from the controls.
Things just come naturally, and being able to just know what to do without much fiddling is great. Your weapons are placed on your belt in two spots that are really easy to find. Swinging your weapon works as expected and interacting with the environment is also solid. For example, breaking open a coconut requires you to bash it against something in the environment, or if you need to start a fire you’ll need to strike a piece of flint. It’s a solid immersive experience. I did have a few awkward moments where jumping over an obstacle was trickier than it should have been, but not enough to become a common issue.
It’s also worth noting that Green Hell VR does not support co-operative play at this time; a major feature present in the main game. On top of this, the free DLC campaign, Spirits of Amazonia, is not present. This may be disappointing for long time fans of Green Hell, but the developers have already stated that these features may be coming in a future update. It might be worth keeping an eye on if you want the full experience in VR. Regardless, this is a pretty packed single player game, and if you can forgive these missing additions for now, there’s plenty to dig into.
As you could imagine turning a PC game into a VR game, especially one running on standalone mobile hardware like the Oculus Quest 2, will have some drawbacks. In this case, there’s a clear downgrade to the textures, lighting, and overall level of detail. Whilst it’s an impactful downgrade that fans will notice almost immediately, it also still looks pretty solid. Of course I expect this to be different for the PCVR version of the game when it releases. Sound design however is pretty much identical with decent enough voice acting and environmental design that really immerses you into the experience.
Green Hell VR makes a successful transformation into a VR title. Making full use of the extra level of interactivity and immersion that VR can provide whilst delivering a (almost) complete gameplay experience. There are some rough spots, but it’s well worth picking up, especially for long time fans.
Despite some cutbacks to get this game running on what is essentially a mobile device it does a good job of immersing.
A pretty standard survival experience, but a solid one nonetheless.
Solid sound design that is pretty identical to the main game.
Green Hell VR makes a pretty successful port into the VR space.
Final Verdict: 8.0
Green Hell VR is available now on Quest 2.
Reviewed on Quest 2.
A copy of Green Hell VR was provided by the publisher.