Virtual Rides 3 (PC) Review

By Chris Leebody 19.05.2017

Review for Virtual Rides 3 on PC

It's fair to say that despite being the third in a series of titles, this is certainly not an expected title for many. Coming from German publisher 2tainment GmbH, Virtual Rides 3 promises the full theme park experience from the comfort of home. This one sits squarely in the 'budget' category, but that's no insult because as any viewer of the Steam page will attest, the so called 'budget' release has garnered something of a following lately; from mechanic work to train driving, there seems to be something for everyone. Theme parks, of course, are natural territory of a game locale, and with active VR support the proposition becomes more intriguing. If you hate rides look away now.

The thrill of the theme park comes in those sights, smells and sounds that seem to make those summer Friday evenings a magical time. The adrenaline-fuelled fear on the way down from the biggest coaster.

Virtual Rides 3 is less Disney World and more comparable to, say, a local town carnival. That is to say that it still provides enjoyment and thrills, but that the Ferris wheel is rusted and the candy floss machine is broken. In other words, lacking a little polish.

Screenshot for Virtual Rides 3 on PC

This is probably most apparent in the performance. There are a lot of settings to be adjusted in order to get the best experience, and the optimisation leaves much to be desired. It is unfortunate because it is not the most extraordinary looking spectacle, with quite basic textures and rudimentary animation.

It's one thing to suffer from bad performance in normal gameplay, but with the potential of such a title being realised through VR, this becomes critical. Anything less than 60fps using the headsets is usually unbearable. To get a playable experience with Oculus required a fairly large sacrifice on the graphics front.

Where the experience shines is in the colourful and detailed rides, naturally, of course, being the selling point. Everything one would expect of any establishment claiming to be a fairground is here, with an assortment of carousels and spin rides.

Screenshot for Virtual Rides 3 on PC

It has to be said it is a little disappointing that there are no coasters, and it seems like a glaring omission considering the potential of combining them with the VR experience. Although it is fair to note that the developers seem keen on adding content, so maybe this is a consideration for future expansions.

Hopefully along those lines, there may be some expansion to the content on offer. One of the biggest mistakes any buyers of the title will make is in thinking that there is some sort of park development gameplay along the lines of one of the Tycoon games. The "simulator" part of the name is key here. The park is littered with many of the stalls and food vendors seen up and down the land at many a fairground, but the shame is they are purely for decorative purposes.

The main menu features the ability to jump into the park and explore freely or to experience it through VR. The satisfaction comes from the simulation of running the rides, of controlling the swings of the crane or the speed of the rotations, and then sitting back with the many camera angles as the lights flash and the crowds cheer.

Screenshot for Virtual Rides 3 on PC

The cheering from the crowd is in German, by the way. Of course, that is natural considering the origin of the developer; however, it does detract a little when English audiences miss out on some of the atmosphere building by the lack of understanding of the crowd comments and some of the other cultural nods.

They may cheer, but they do not judge, and it would have added more to have some incentive beyond personal critique. It actually seems like the kind of experience that is for enthusiasts to showcase their talents on YouTube, as there are some real amazing examples of users manipulating the lights, sounds and music to create some incredible spectacles.

As mentioned a few times, one of the selling points and highlights was the inclusion of a real focus on VR, as this seems like an untapped market. The pleasing thing is that beyond the aforementioned graphical sacrifice, the mode works well and provides a level of immersion that is not as far from the real life version as could have been envisaged ten years ago. Stepping around the park in that first-person view, with hundreds of people wandering around the stalls and the stars in the sky, evokes a feeling of magic.

Screenshot for Virtual Rides 3 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Virtual Rides 3 doesn't do anything majorly wrong, and it strikes the right tone in creating a realistic portrayal of a theme park or fairground. The issue is that sometimes a mere tone isn't enough and there has to be another few layers on top. The VR experience is on point generally, but the optimisation could use work, and there are a good few rough edges visually that could do with extra care. Additionally, there is not a great deal of content, with only the barebones existing; admittedly, though, genre enthusiasts possibly are not too concerned and appreciate the detail in ride operation. Ultimately, this is a perfectly reasonable budget title at a modest price, but doesn't reach beyond that.

Developer

Zeichenkraftwerk Jeutter & Schaller GbR

Publisher

2tainment

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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