At this point I probably don’t need to explain to you what Minecraft is all about, and how a Lego open-world game captivated audiences since entering alpha on its way to becoming an phenomenon. That all feels like a distant memory that Microsoft wants to recapture since acquiring for 2.5 billion in 2015 with the franchise heading into the Virtual Reality landscape.
Minecraft VR will arrive first for Samsung Gear VR when it releases this year. Unlike the Oculus Rift, Vive, and PlayStation VR, Gear VR is not a high-end device that tracks the tilt of your head. The result is a mix bag because in-game textures are hidden away to keep the frame rate from dropping. But is the trade off worth it?
At a press event during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last week I got a chance to play a nearly complete version on with the Samsung’s Gear VR head-mounted display. At first Minecraft played like you have gone accustomed, but it’s the little things that put the player front and center. I got to play smaller version of the brick playground, and it’s the little details that dramatically change things up for the player.
Digging straight down I started to feel more claustrophobic as I felt the walls were closing in the more I dug. Resource gathering, the center of the Minecraft experience, starts to become mental challenge on how much you want to take up back up to the surface, and build.
On surface level of Minecraft when night time strikes it’s best to keep a sword, and shield ready at all time. Majority of the fright behind experiencing Virtual Reality is not knowing what’s behind the corner since Minecraft VR 1st person perspective. Creeps and spiders are still easy enemies to take care their low health rate, but I was forced to approach the challenge differently then normally.
In order to aim arrows I had to lock in the shooting distance with Gear VR then fire. The Xbox 360 controller I used acted as the trigger mechanism for the player to use range weapons in Minecraft VR. It takes awhile to get used, however it’s an awarding experience that rewarded every time I slayed an enemy.