Let’s face it, virtual reality (VR) is still a long way off from competing with flatscreen gaming in terms of numbers. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be innovative whilst attracting blockbuster IPs to attract new players. Franchises like Star Wars, Ghostbusters, and The Walking Dead have all found a natural home in VR. But these all come from movie and TV backgrounds. When it comes to videogames making the leap into immersive gaming, none have done it on the same level as Capcom’s Resident Evil.
Cast your mind back to 2017 when the new VR gaming revolution was in its infancy. The likes of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive had been available for a year whilst PlayStation VR (PSVR) was only a few months old. It was in these nascent years that something incredible happened, Resident Evil 7 Biohazard arrive with VR support for PSVR. The game was already making waves thanks to its first-person viewpoint which ultimately made it perfect for VR.
A permanent VR resident
Resident Evil 7 Biohazard showcased how beneficial VR could be to the action-horror franchise. If you’ve played both versions you’ll know what I mean. On a TV it’s reasonably atmospheric and may even make you jump a few times. In VR, the drama and fear are multiplied several times over, making a casual stroll around the Baker family’s southern home far more terrifying.
It was always a shame that Resident Evil 7 Biohazard‘s VR features were only ever available on PSVR. Considering the game itself came to most platforms including PC.
Whilst Resident Evil 7 Biohazard remains locked on PSVR, thankfully, the franchise grew beyond those borders. Resi’s next VR evolution happened on Meta Quest, with the arrival of Resident Evil 4 in 2021. This was a huge deal because the game marked a big turning point in the franchise’s history. The port was the work of Armature Studio in conjunction with Oculus Studio, no easy task considering the original was released in 2005 for the Nintendo GameCube.
Even so, Armature Studio did a cracking job by combining modern VR mechanics into an almost 20-year-old game. You could dual-wield weapons, manually reload and fully immerse yourself in Resi 4’s world. The only major gripe was the quick time events (QTEs) that still remained. A firm Resident Evil favourite, QTEs just don’t work in VR, they’re too jarring and ruin that sense of immersion.
Does Resident Evil Village have a VR mode?
This was then followed by the arrival of Resident Evil Village for PSVR 2. In a similar method to Resi 7, Resident Evil Village is only playable on Sony’s headset, with a VR mode released in time for PSVR 2’s launch. Once again VR shed new light on a Resi game, bringing an even great sense of scale to Lady Dimitrescu. Even though it is a separate ‘VR Mode’ you can still play the entire campaign in VR, with no watering down of the gameplay.
It may not include the popular Mercenaries mode, however, you do get new VR-specific attachments like a bayonet to deal out some damage. Again, this highlights Capcom’s subtle commitment to VR integration. The company doesn’t need to do it, it just can.
Will Resident Evil 4 remake be in VR?
Lastly, there’s the excellent Resident Evil 4 Remake. Released early in 2023, the remake received rave reviews thanks to its graphical and gameplay overhaul. Then in May, during the PlayStation Showcase, Capcom confirmed a ‘VR Mode’ is in development. A brief trailer teased some gameplay elements but a launch window has yet to be revealed. It’ll be free DLC for players that own the core game.
XR Source can’t wait to see how well VR has been implemented, and once again play through Resident Evil 4 for the umpteenth time.
Half-Life: Alyx may still be the ultimate VR game but when it comes to VR series, Resident Evil is the top dog.
What do you think, agree or disagree with our opinion? Let us know in the comments below.