Every kid who grew up during the 80’s had at least a passing understanding of the Voltron universe. The show was a big hit, and helped spread anime and the giant mech genre to the US as a whole. The idea of five young people working together to save the galaxy was a powerful one, and the fact that they did it in giant robots was just the cool icing on the cake. The show has made a return in the last couple of years, and now it’s spread into the natural space of VR gaming. DreamWorks Voltron VR Chronicles offers players a way to jump into the world of Voltron, but their visit will be very, very brief.
DreamWorks Voltron VR Chronicles puts you into the world of the show, featuring the art style and authentic voice actors from the current series. You’ll mostly be focusing on the Blue Lion, and its driver Lance, though the narrative isn’t shy about bouncing around and showing you things that aren’t in your direct control. Through its hour or less run time, the “experience”, as it is being specifically classified, delivers on the promise of the franchise, except that you might find the big payoff is saved for later entries.
VR gaming, even after a year of availability, is still in a very weird place. Game designers are still trying to suss out what works and what doesn’t. DreamWorks Voltron VR Chronicles still feels like an early offering in a lot of ways, skipping out on some of the newer innovations seen in the VR gaming space. Its core gameplay is simply putting the player in front of a puzzle and letting them interact with it via the motion controls of the PSVR, HTC Vive, or Oculus Rift. These are broken up by narrative segments, which are pretty much just cutscenes rendered in full 3D.
Players can, and often have to look all around them, with the experience placing important segments behind the player. This was likely done to emphasize the VR aspects of the experience, but for players who aren’t standing up it is more of a chore than anything else. If this is your first VR gaming experience then it will likely offer a few “wow” moments with these segments, but more experienced enthusiasts have seen this stuff many times before.
It’s not offering much new outside of being set in the Voltron universe
The puzzles that offer the largest gameplay segments are interesting diversions. There’s nothing brain busting featured in DreamWorks Voltron VR Chronicles, but you’ll struggle here and there to figure out the logic behind some new puzzle. Still, with a less than an hour runtime don’t expect a lot of these to come your way. The other part of gameplay is the semi on-rails shooting.
Flying around in the Blue Lion, Lance has to fend off enemy aliens while working with his teammates. Shooting is handled by just looking in the general direction of the enemy ship, firing with your motion controller triggers and watching as your shots hone in on the enemy. It works well, especially for younger or newer players, but again, if you’ve played a lot of VR you’ve probably done this all before, and this is certainly not the best VR shooting experience.
So, what does Voltron VR Chronicles do better than other games or experiences? For one, it looks great. The art style from the show has been transferred perfectly here, and works exceptionally well with the technology. VR gaming can put a strain on any system, especially the original PS4 console I’m playing on. Yet Voltron ran perfectly while looking great. It was actually pretty jarring to see the animation come to life when I first booted up Voltron, and that impressiveness never really wore off throughout the experience.
The inclusion of proper voice acting is great as well, and fans of the show will really be in for a treat here. As a non-fan I expected to find the characters childish and annoying, the former was true, but the latter was not. They were actually quite funny and charming at times, and playing this has made me redouble my efforts to watch the show.
And if you are thinking about grabbing DreamWorks Voltron VR Chronicles without having watched the show, you might find yourself a bit lost. While I did have a good time, the narrative isn’t easy to pick up. Voltron does practically nothing to ease you into the experience, simply assuming that you’ve seen the show and are familiar with the universe. This isn’t a knock against the experience, as this is a valid assumption to make, but it’s worth warning any potential buyers that you might want to take the time to do the proper preliminary work before diving into Voltron VR Chronicles.
DreamWorks Voltron VR Chronicles does a whole lot of things right, especially for die hard fans of the series. The graphics and voice acting totally put you into the world of the show, and even offers some decent gameplay, if you’re new to VR. For non-fans and VR veterans there’s simply not enough here to warrant a full recommendation. You’ll get a fun hour or so out of the experience, but it’s not offering much new outside of being set in the Voltron universe.
DreamWorks Voltron VR Chronicles
- Available On: PS4, PC
- Published By: Digital Domain
- Developed By: Digital Domain
- Genre: Action Adventure
- US Release Date: September 26th, 2017
- Reviewed On: PS4
- Quote: "The graphics and voice acting totally put you into the world of the show, and even offers some decent gameplay, if you're new to VR. For non-fans and VR veterans there's simply not enough here to warrant a full recommendation. You'll get a fun hour or so out of the experience, but it's not offering much new outside of being set in the Voltron universe. "