Detached (PC) Review

By Chris Leebody 25.07.2017

Review for Detached on PC

In every walk of life there is a certain type of person. One who seems to have (either through nature or nurture) managed to conquer the limits of what fear and nausea does to those unlucky enough to suffer it. Being strapped into a jet and being introduced to head-spinning rolls is a thrill to these types. On the other side of the fence stands the type who trembles at the thought of going down a steep hill in a car at 60. Forget any in-game battles; this is the battlefield that Detached inhabits. This exploration title from Anshar Studios throws the full rigours of 360-degree space exploration at those VR wearers, including a single-player component, as well as a competitive PVP mode online. However, Anshar Studios throws the full VR experience right up front, and this is one title that is going to separate the man from the boys.

In fairness to Anshar Studios, there is no hidden agenda. The intensity of the experience is put front and centre in all the descriptions both on the Steam page as well as the Oculus Store. This is a brutal and intense ride for the stomach.

The first thing to note is that there are a number of control options, ranging from a pointing style, which is probably the most 'stomach friendly,' all the way to the rather gut-wrenching full throttle movement, in which the analogue sticks on the Touch Controllers act as the thrusters and rotation.

In one sense, it is hard not to admire this approach, as the majority of developers play it safe with the teleportation mechanic, sacrificing immersion for the sake of comfort. On the other hand, it is hard to see the type of person who won't feel that tinge of head spin after smashing head first into a wall.

For while normally the perspective of a headset and thrusters would be enough to 'ground' a VR experience in order to allow the brain to compensate for movement, here things are quite different.

Screenshot for Detached on PC

The physics engine at play is remarkably accurate to the sensation of being an astronaut. Now, if you can handle this, it is a wonderful scope into a feeling only a select few humans would ever be able to experience. If not, it ends up entailing almost constant perspective rotation while trying to compensate for the delayed thruster 'float.' Even the addition of an 'eagle eye' view, which restricts vision in the more intense g-force moments, does little to alleviate the nausea.

The investment into getting good enough to avoid sickening spinning loops and twists is also quite a high barrier to many. It does get quite fiddly navigating the left Oculus trigger for thrust, the other left button for break, while using the right for rotating. Although having sampled some of the more expert YouTube playthroughs, it is clear that patience and endurance is rewarded.

It is a shame that so much time has to be dedicated to the mechanics of Detached because the ambiance and atmosphere generated is second to none. No other representations of space in virtual reality have managed to beat the feeling of stepping out of the abandoned station that makes up the setting here.

The feeling of gently floating past rocks and debris the size of buildings is a truly memorable one that is hard to get over. Graphically, in space the game shines, with stunning visuals and the light of a star and planet that makes a spectacular impression.

Screenshot for Detached on PC

It is at this point that every bit of investment in both financial and bodily terms for VR seems to make sense. The beautiful musical score and the atmosphere generated by sound enhances this feeling. It is just a pity this tantalising playground is a mere glimpse and merely interludes between the more mundane.

More than once the temptation to just stop and admire the view of the cosmos got in the way of any advancement of the single-player portion of the experience. It is deliberate that it is described as a 'portion,' for despite the introductory cut-scene set-up of an abandoned station and a search for a missing crew, there is little narrative complexity or development.

Separated into hubs or sectors of various size, objectives stick fairly rigidly to exploring enough to find the power nodes to open airlocks and advance further the search for the missing crew.

It would be more interesting if the areas to explore were generally more varied. However, the awe-inspiring views of space referred to earlier are sadly missing in the rather plain and functional grey rooms, which act as simple puzzle conduits. There is very little character in these generic science-fiction rooms.

Screenshot for Detached on PC

There is a lack of any protagonist, with the main threat being the looming oxygen and fuel bars, which tick down within the helmet perspective offered. It was extremely rare that these presented any tangible danger, giving a rather limp sense of dread. The introductions of weapons and other abilities also seem to tempt at something more complex than the reality ever seems to match up to.

The other offering available is a competitive PVP mode, which pits two players against each other online in a 'capture the flag' style offering based on a similar premise to the single-player, searching the map for power nodes and retrieving them. The cool addition here is that weapons obviously come into play in a more pronounced way, and using rockets to impede the competitor is excellent fun.

The only danger with multiplayer is the slow progress on adding new maps, with a very limited selection (only two so far), and it is debatable how long the player base will stick with Detached in order that it continues to have a thriving multiplayer scene.

Screenshot for Detached on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Detached is a tricky experience to make an individual conclusion on and the verdict given might not reflect what a lot of people may feel when they experience it themselves. As with so many VR titles, and as referenced above, the physical experience of the title reflects a lot of what shapes the opinion. Some people are better versed to cope with the demands that the movement and physics place on them. It is also fair to give props to Anshar Studios for taking a risk like this and not compromising on their vision. For some, that will give them a lot of goodwill. However, even accepting this debate, it still stands true that the experience of Detached is only ever compelling in a few all-too-fleeting moments, and the full potential is yet to be unlocked.

Developer

Anshar Studios

Publisher

Anshar Studios

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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