Loading Human: Chapter 1 is the first of a series of games planned by developers Untold Games. Originally built with the Oculus Rift in mind this title has also been released for the HTC Vive and the PlayStation VR. There are three planned episodes in total for Loading Human, each telling a different part of the main characters life.
In Loading Human you walk through the life of Prometheus, an astronaut who has just graduated from the academy. Your father, the brilliant Dorian Baarick, invites you to come and work with him in his Antarctic research base. Throughout your father's lifetime, he has invented all manner of brilliant things including a Dark Energy Engine, allowing humans to travel between planets and the Lazarus, a machine that can regenerate cells, creating a prolonged life expectancy. Your father has reached a point in his old life where his invention is starting to lose its effect, he asks you to travel for 30 years through space to claim the "Quintessence" a massive energy source that may help him become eternally youthful. Accepting your father's request, you now begin your six months of training at the base with your father, his assistant Alice, and an AI named Lucy. Over the course of those six months though a lot happens and you just might not be as willing as you were when you arrived. The story of
The story of Loading Human might not be an action packed VR adventure, but it is an extremely immersive one. Going through the life of Prometheus and not just seeing a highlight reel of his time at the Antarctic base but also performing some general chores (the game even open up on you having to shave) build a level of connection to the character that a lot of VR titles have tried for but are unable to achieve. This connection also extends to the other characters in your life as you interact with them you can feel relationships developing. The episodic nature of this game works well as the story seems to be clearly broken into sizeable chunks leaving players wanting to continue the narrative.
Gameplay for Loading Human was designed with an idea of making interacting with objects in the game as similar as interacting with objects in real life. Because of this if you were to pick up a key you wouldn't just need to hover it over a door it would be up to you to push the key into the keyhole and turn it. Being able to interact in a natural way does wonders for bringing you into the world that you've never been in before. Being built for the Oculus Rift, the motion controls and locomotion systems of Loading Human leave a lot to be desired. The game is designed to be a seated 180° experience, so only the rotation of your head is tracked, even if you are using room scale for the HTC Vive. This means that if you want to take a step forward, or even crouch you will need to press a button instead of being able to take that step yourself. This takes a lot of the 1:1 features of these headsets and limits what you can do with it. Due to the design of single or double camera 180° tracking the game also is designed so that the player can turn their heads, but sitting in a chair it is a better experience to use your controllers to turn your character around. The mismatch between the ability to interact with the world in such a great way to having one of the strangest and least developed movement systems gives the game a real learning curve for movement and can be off-putting. Once you have the movement down there is no issue, there is just certainly a missed opportunity in terms of locomotion.
Set in the 22nd century the developers have done well to create an environment that is not only familiar to players, making it easier to recognize objects and navigate around, but adding a futuristic touch to emphasize when this game takes place. From the kitchen to the greenhouse, each of the areas you travel to have been crafted with a purpose in mind. The character models aren't photo-realistic but they still fit well within the world, you only ever really see one other human other than yourself anyway. More impressive than the models is the voice acting throughout Loading Human, conversations aren't all filled with science talk and flat lines but are filled with character and emotion.
While this game may take some time to get used to the controls once you begin navigating your way around the research base, start your training for space travel, and start getting to know Alice, you'll find yourself wanting to continue the narrative far past its conclusion. This might be one of the best examples of a VR game that doesn't need to be about over the top action to draw in players and provide a satisfying experience.
Loading Human: Chapter 1 was reviewed on HTC Vive using a copy provided by the publisher. It is also available on Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR.
A sometimes slow but very immersive VR game, solid storytelling drawing players in while setting up for the next adventure.(Review Policy)
- Great Characters
- Immersive Story
- Locomotion Controls
- Pressing Buttons to Crouch