Crystal Rift - PC / VR Review

Crystal Rift is a missed opportunity that had some good ideas, but in the end the overall execution is simply lacking.

Here is what kills me - I love the dungeon crawling genre of RPGs. Give me a grid-based, first-person adventure through dank and dreary dungeons with a strong sense of atmosphere, a compelling story and some interesting enemies to encounter and I am one of the first on board that particular train. The problem here is that Crystal Rift only gets a few of these elements right while managing to get several of the others very wrong.

Psytec Games Ltd actually released this some time ago, but Crystal Rift has only recently been getting a bit more notice because it was ported over to the PlayStation 4 for the PSVR experience. Thing is, it released well before that on the Oculus store back before there was an Oculus Touch. Missed opportunity number one is that the control scheme kind of sucks and could have proven a lot more engaging with motion controls I suspect. This compounds with how the controls are simply unresponsive at times, causing some timing traps to feel unfair. Technically you can play without a virtual reality headset, but this is a low resolution game with a poor field if sight if playing on a monitor - making the experience an even rougher one.

Another issue is that while the atmosphere is dark and creepy, there is no real story to speak of. No notable sense of progression. There are some side puzzles here, but they are somewhat pointless as well - more akin to random collectibles found in other games that give you a carrot to chase without any real reason to chase it. You get a sword and some spells, but the upgrades are thin and don't bring much variety to the table. Add to it how repetitively simple the combat is, and it becomes hard to recommend Crystal Rift on gameplay merits.

Visually Crystal Rift is something of a mixed bag as well. I enjoyed the dark atmosphere, but VR sickness is alive and well here. I don't know if it's the cramped, claustrophobic hallways, the way repetitive textures zip on by or the lighting, but I was immediately reminded of Dreadhalls - and not in a good way. Dreadhalls remains one of the three or four most difficult to stomach titles I have played on my Oculus, but it now has competition from Crystal Rift which is just as intense.

The thing is, Crystal Rift if not a complete bust. Some of the puzzles are interesting, they found an interesting atmosphere and it is a genre I would love to see gain more representation in general - but especially in virtual reality. Psytec Games Ltd has some decent ideas here, but in the end the execution just lacks polish. Normally a game like this would get some marks for 'old school nostalgia', but once you strip off the VR gimmic, you see Crystal Rift for what it really is: a very basic, uninspiring RPG. 

Game Information

PC - Oculus Rift
Psytec Games Ltd
Psytec Games Ltd
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
PlayStation 4 - PSVR

Provided by Publisher

Article by Nick
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