Game Review: Darknet (Oculus Go)

Welcome to our first-ever VR game review! I’ve been thinking hard about how to approach VR game reviews, because of how different the medium is. But really, all the same stuff applies: is it good? Good performance? Good graphics? We just have to add other stuff, like: does it make you vomit? Therefore, I think it’s only fair that we start with “Darknet”, E McNeill’s revolutionary debut title. Not only have I played in both in VR and on a regular computer system, but it’s still considered one of the best games for Gear VR and Oculus Go.

What’s “Darknet” about then? Well, it’s basically a heist game without the haste (try saying that 10 times fast). You are a hacker, and using your mad hacking skills, you infect nodes with viruses and break down firewalls in order to acquire valuable data. It sounds complicated, I know, but really, it’s a strategy game that’s explained extremely well within the first 5 minutes of gameplay.

You have different tools at your disposal: viruses, trojan horses, basically everything your grandma is scared about, and the reason they pay over the odds for a Mac. On the Oculus Go, you use the Go controller to point to nodes and select your point of insertion. Once you initiate the attack, you must avoid getting hit by an antivirus. You can use multiple viruses at a time, but it may not always be the best way to reach a payload. Patience is key, and so is playing the game, because it really is much simpler to play than it is to explain.

Imagine looking at this, but in VR. It really looks so, so sharp. E McNeill really does have a fantastic, futuristic look to their creations.

“Darknet” looks absolutely gorgeous on the Oculus Go, and the consolidated hardware and software combination makes it run buttery smooth. The fantastic animations coming in and out of nodes feel exhilarating without being nausea-inducing. Overall, the game is a very comfortable experience, focusing more on the strategy than jump scares, jump cuts or fancy VR gimmicks.

Having played the PC version of “Darknet” as well as the Oculus Go version, I can say that, without a shadow of a doubt, the VR version is always the way to go if possible. The environments look beautiful and it runs so smooth, it really makes you feel like you’re in The Matrix, but without the annoyingly simple food. Also, the Oculus Go version is $10 and the Steam version is $15. Another cool thing about the Oculus Go store is that there’s a “Deal of the Day” feature and you can usually find some really cool stuff there.

Make no mistake, then: “Darknet” isn’t a gimmicky VR “experience”. It is a full-fledged game that really benefits from the engrossing nature of the medium and runs extremely well on Oculus Go. If I had to point a hardcore gamer to a single game to play on the Oculus Go as a showcase piece, it would very likely be “Darknet”. It is easy to learn, hard to master, looks great, runs great, and it’s not uncomfortable to play for extended periods of time.

The best thing? E McNeill has already released another 3 games on the Oculus Go. And those reviews are coming next.

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