If it’s not an online focused multiplayer title, chances are the next PlayStation VR game you play is one that promises mystery, suspense, and intrigue as you explore a hostile alien world. They seem to be all the rage nowadays despite their questionable quality, and Eden-Tomorrow is no different. From developer Soul Pix, the PSVR exclusive makes a sincere attempt at crafting an interesting narrative, but the experience falls flat on its face when it’s time to pick up the controller.
In classic video game fashion, you crash-land on a planet you have no knowledge of, suffering from a bad case of amnesia. You are awakened by a floating drone calling itself Newton, and the rest is history. The twosome team up in order to find out where they are, who they are, and what exactly is going on.
Despite the clichés, Eden-Tomorrow makes a genuine bid for your attention through some truly fascinating imagery and set piece spectacles that are all the more impressive in VR. Cave paintings hint at the larger world off-camera, while flashbacks provide context for previous events that lead up to the crash landing. There’s nothing truly unique about the game’s story, but one or two memorable scenes are sure to be what you look back on with fondness.
What you’re going to want to forget in a hurry though is pretty much every minute spent with the controller in your hands. If you wanted to be unfair to Eden-Tomorrow, you’d refer to it as a walking simulator, but in practice it’s not actually much more than that. As the unnamed protagonist, you will indeed spend much of your time walking, or eventually running, from place to place and interacting with computer terminals, solving very simple puzzles, and avoiding the dinosaur-like creatures that inhabit the planet. It’s the latter that has the most detrimental effect on the experience, though.
From time to time, you will be forced into engaging with stealth, and it’s this that slows the game down to a snail’s pace. There’s no chance of you actually being spotted by any of the creatures unless you were to literally walk up and touch them, and so you’re forced to sneak by them at a pace that would still have you competing in the London Marathon a week after its conclusion. It’s utterly boring without any sort of stakes to give things even an edge of tension.
Unfortunately, that’s what rings true about the time you spend as the human -- complete boredom. Terminals require nothing more than a button press, while brain teasers could be solved by a 10-year-old. Curiosity will push you forward to the next cutscene that develops the plot, but you won’t have any fun getting there.
In an interesting twist, numerous sections actually allow you to take control of Newton through the use of a type of portal. These scenes are a little more interesting thanks to being able to fly about the place, but they too quickly become very formulaic. The vast majority of these areas have you clearing debris in order for your human counterpart to progress, and this is done by administering a shockwave to the rubbish blocking the path. To do this, you’ll need to collect three capsules of energy found throughout the environment and then deliver the blow -- but you’ll end up going through those exact motions over and over again. Much like control of the main protagonist, it all becomes dull and monotonous far too quickly in an experience that struggles to pass the five hour mark.
Visually, the game isn’t going to impress anyone. Bog-standard design paints a throwaway picture of the monsters while backdrops and scenery barely scratch above a decent standard for the virtual reality space. Interesting imagery is there for sure, but graphics wise, there’s nothing worth shouting about.
Eden-Tomorrow can only be played via the DualShock 4 controller, which immediately restricts its interactivity. With your feet on the ground, the camera can be turned incrementally via the thumbstick, while you have free rein as the drone. This does create one or two issues when it comes to motion sickness, which even we experienced a bit of despite being incredibly familiar with the hardware at this point. This was alleviated by an accessibility option, but it in turn severely restricted our field of view when we were out and about exploring as Newton.
Eden-Tomorrow’s noteworthy narrative drowns amongst a sea of repetitive, mediocre gameplay. It does nothing to differentiate itself within an increasingly cluttered genre, and so the experience is forgotten about before you’ve even had time to comprehend the potential of a deeper meaning.