I really, really want a massive, detailed, fantasy MMORPG with a huge world to explore, countless items to collect, and endless quests to experience. My dream game is basically Sword Art Online, but in the grounded semi-realism of a franchises like The Lord of the Rings and The Elder Scrolls. Give me that and I’ll likely be inside of a VR headset more than outside. Raiders of Erda from Cooperative Innovations is not that game, but it’s striking a few similar chords at least.
Earlier today we reported on a small-scale MMO called Age of Heroes, that’s aiming to tackle some similar topics, but we haven’t had the chance to go hands-on with that one yet. After playing Raiders of Erda for myself, I’m noticing that the magic it has going for it is just how convincing its combat is.
Simon Barratt from Cooperative Innovations showed me the demo at the UploadSF office and explained the AI that I was seeing was already interior and outdated when compared to what’s in the game now, but it still felt incredibly responsive. The skeletons would sidestep around me, trying to find an opening to attack, or respond by trying to block and parry my strikes. Instead of just aimlessly waggling my arm like you would in many other melee combat VR games, I felt inclined to stay on the balls of my feet, bouncing around as if I were in a real fight, trying to make my strikes count.
I got to try out both the sword and shield setup as well as a bow and arrow. Using a bow and arrow in Raiders of Erda felt great, just like any VR game that features the weapon, and it was easy to lock my feet in place and just try to pick off enemies from a distance. Barratt mentioned that magic would play a part as well, but I didn’t get to see that just yet.
Of the two forms of combat I tried, sword and shield was my preferred option. Ducking behind my shield, blocking enemy attacks, and stabbing out from the side while their defenses were down was exhilarating. The flow and ferocity of combat really made me feel like I was fighting for my life in a dark, decrepit dungeon.
My brief encounter with this game left me wanting more, which is a good thing. It all ended with a tiny preview of a room housing a massive dragon that felt like something ripped right out of The Hobbit. I didn’t get to try the game’s cooperative multiplayer features, but I can imagine how much more it would ramp up the excitement and fun. Playing the Quest mode in Rec Room is already fun, but an entire experience built around multiplayer dungeon crawling sounds wonderful.
For something that’s out already, I can’t recommend Vanishing Realms enough. Karnage Chronicles is another, similar game that focus on co-op dungeon crawling, with other RPG examples like SoulKeeper, Theseus, Emmerholt, The Mage’s Tale, and more all set to release hopefully this year. If 2016 was the year of wave shooters and zombies in VR, then maybe 2017 will be the year of immersive fantasy RPGs. A guy can dream, can’t he?
For more information about Raiders of Erda read our original preview here, sign up for the game’s newsletter, and follow the developer on Twitter. Raiders of Erda is currently slated for release on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift with Touch.