EVE: Valkyrie


The EVE Online universe has been a part of gaming for 13 years. Now, it’s gone from being an online hit to being an early AAA-level title for VR technology. It was the first game I tried at an in-store demo for PlayStation VR and it blew me away. Having never played an EVE game, but enjoying a great game of dogfighting, I found it to be a perfect showcase for the technology. Everything about it was fairly user-friendly – but it was easy to see how nothing but dogfightng could get a bit old.


Fortunately, EVE: Valkyrie doesn’t have that issue. Much like how Crimson Skies many years ago on the original Xbox showed that the genre is perfect for online play, that holds true here. The core game is an absolute riot and one that is a blast in either short bursts or with more extended play sessions. Initially, you’re locked into just team deathmatch-style action – which is probably for the best.


This allows you to get used to a VR flight experience, and while that may not seem like a big thing, it really does take some time to get accustomed to controlling your craft while actually being able to look around it. It’s quite immersive, but also jarring – so working your way up to more advanced game modes works nicely. You don’t feel overwhelmed and you’re going to at least be proficient at the core mechanics by the time you unlock more modes.

The left stick moves you around while your face moves your reticule around. Much like RIGS, this setup works wonderfully and it effectively replicates a 1:1 mouse setup but in a way that is far more natural for consoles. Theoretically, the Wii U’s gamepad does something similar – but nothing quite matches being able to move your own head and see what you’re aiming at. It’s a great setup and feels natural after very little time.


The shoulders allow you to barrel roll, while face buttons let you either speed up or slow down – which is a huge key to victory. If you speed up too much, you’ll overshoot your targets. This makes you a sitting duck as enemies pick at you while you turn around into the proper position. Your best bet is to hang back with square, slow things down, and rack up some damage. Assists net you half as much as full-fledged kills, which isn’t bad given that enemies are bullet sponges. This also means that if you wind up a bit out of sorts due to VR, you’re not SOL instantly.


Outside of team deathmath, you’ll eventually gain access to capture point and carrier assault missions. The former are basically TDM battles, but with capture points that remind me a bit of Titanfall. Mode selection isn’t quite as plentiful as that was even at launch, but what’s done is done so well that it’s easy to forgive a lack of quantity when the quality is so high. Carrier assault is a tough one because you have to excel in flight, break down shields, and then attack the shield directly. It’s a wee bit difficult to do all of this while maintaining your sense of direction – but doable.

The on-screen map is a bit lacking, but red markers do let you know where enemies are in relation to you. Thanks to VR, you can look around your cockpit and see out windows. It’s a bit jarring – especially during chaotic battles, but does let you know exactly where enemies are and gives you a far snappier response time than just using a right stick. EVE, like RIGS, really makes it hard to go back to a twin-stick setup after getting so used to the 1:1 nature of head tracking for camera moving and aiming. It’s a fantastic setup and one that allows me to play better than I normally would with a controller.


EVE: Valkyrie is definitely lean on content as a launch title for the PlayStation VR, but it does a better job than most at really selling you on this concept being the future of immersive gaming. Mode selection is a tad lean – but there is a bit of offline content offered up in addition to online modes. The survival mode is great for training yourself for online play, and unlocking new ships gives you a nice edge. Going for ships with fast fire rates is probably your best bet if you’re not a dogfighting expert because you can whittle enemies down very quickly. It’s a shame to see a microtransaction system in place too – but it’s fairly unobtrusive and you can avoid it by literally not staring in its general direction in the menus.


Visually, EVE: Valkyrie is one of the nicer-looking games on the system. The texture work for your pilot is good, even if moving back and seeing a headless body is a bit weird. Maybe you can unlock that that for $1. The physical space in your ship is modeled nicely and being able to look around and see the stars and darkness amid differently colored skies allows each area to stand out. It’s the best graphical showcase for PSVR and there isn’t much room for improvement here based on what’s presented because the texture work is outstanding and that’s been a weakness for the library so far.

The music is fairly impressive, with some epic songs to listen to. The voice work seems reasonably well acted, but the threadbare story being told didn’t compel me in the slightest to learn more about the characters. Longtime fans of the EVE series might get a lot more out of it, but for a newcomer to the series, there was nothing shown here that made me care about the characters or the in-game world.


Story issues aside, EVE: Valkyrie is an excellent game and the most-polished of the bunch for the PlayStation VR’s launch lineup. RIGS may be more fun as a casual shooter, but nothing quite works as well for VR as space combat does. It’s a genre that games have gotten right for many years outside of VR, and now the debut entry for it in VR shows how well it can be done even in what should theoretically be its roughest form. Even then, it’s still a great game – but one that might be a bit lean on content for many to justify spending $60. At $40 or so though, it’s a fantastic value for the money.




Reviewed By: Jeremy Peeples
Publisher: CCP Games
Rating: 88%

This review is based on a digital copy of EVE: Valkyrie for PlayStation VR provided by CCP Games.

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