Apex Construct (PlayStation 4) Review

By Drew Hurley 24.02.2018 1

Review for Apex Construct on PlayStation 4

VR users on every platform are still desperately awaiting the killer game and as each impressive new game lands, they hope and dream that this, this could be the one. A game that isn't just a tech demo but instead promises to have an interesting narrative, solid controls, immersive VR, and is actually fun to play. Apex Construct promises all of this. Set in a dystopian future, the player acts as a human brought back from "the void" and placed in-between two battling AI creations known as Mothr and Fathr.

The story is immediately engaging. The super-powered AI Fathr has brought the player back to life in a world after some cataclysmic event known as "The Shift" and hopes to use the player to some unknown end, initially having them perform tasks to make a safe haven from what Fathr claims is a malicious entity, another AI known as Mothr. All is not as it seems, though, as there are hand-scribbled notes right from the opening moments that imply Fathr is not only lying about the nature of the world but that he may be as dangerous as Mothr, if not more so. A worrying prospect considering he seems to have taken up residence within the player. Some of these notes imply that Fathr's previous resurrections all seemed to strangely be missing a hand...

The initial missions introduce the core gameplay mechanics. It's not a decent dystopian future unless there is some sort of terrifying monstrosity out to tear the player to pieces. While this usually means zombies or monsters, Apex Construct goes for robotic creatures. Robotic versions of animals stalk the silent halls. Spiders and wolves and big cats, oh my! To try and combat these creatures, the player has had a little augmentation courtesy of Fathr. Apparently, in bringing them back from the void, a hand was left behind and this has been replaced by a robotic prosthesis.

Screenshot for Apex Construct on PlayStation 4

This replacement comes with some beneficial augmentations. Firstly, it somehow has a T.A.R.D.I.S style pocket dimension, which allows any six items to be stored away inside it. It also can be used to track the amount of current health and also to store away the futuristic energy that can be gathered from fallen enemies or spotted hidden away in secret little areas. Taking on the enemies to gather this energy requires a weapon to do so, and although equipped with a robotic hand, that has no sort of offensive ability. Instead, the game implements the age-old gaming go-to favourite, the old bow and arrow.

Well, not the old bow and arrow; early into the proceedings a futuristic bow is found with limitless standard ammo. The controls for the bow utilises one controller for the arrow and the other for the bow, to be able to align the arrow with the bow and pull back to draw. The bow also has a shield mode that can be used to block incoming projectiles and enemy attacks but getting used to alternating the bow's shield and firing of shots is a tricky juggling act to master; when combat gets frantic, the game offers a real challenge, especially since getting killed without "banking" the energy means it's all lost.

Screenshot for Apex Construct on PlayStation 4

Should the player be lucky enough to bank the energy, they can use it back at a home hub area. Here there is a vending machine to purchase items like grenades or cans of drink for health recovery. This can be done in-between the missions that are selectable from a station in the home hub. Each of the missions has secrets hidden away for players to head back in and hunt down, further expanding the lifespan and considering the challenging nature of the enemies, returning with some upgrades makes for an easier and more enjoyable experience.

The VR controls run the gambit between fun and immensely frustrating. Apex Construct utilises the Move controllers in the typical fashion of replacing the characters hands with them. The triggers make the hands grip, which can be used to pick up various items in the environment or to grip and pull or lift things; for example, grabbing a door handle to turn and open a door. This all works relatively well. There are plenty of cupboards and drawers to go digging through and tons of environmental objects to mess around with. There are some annoying moments when trying to open doors inwards and standing in the way of where it needs to be pulled, or twisting a hand to a painful and awkward angle to try and hit the sweet spot… but with practice, these are overcome.

Screenshot for Apex Construct on PlayStation 4

What never works well is the typing. Stumbling upon computer terminals is a regular occurrence in Apex Construct and they often contain text files to read that help with puzzles or require the typing in of passwords. It's horrible. The hand on-screen transforms to the crooked claw of your nan trying to use a PC for the first time, jabbing at the keys with all the finesse of a brick. Similarly, the locomotion system is not great; the teleportation system that has previously been seen in numerous games is divisive and this would have served much better to have the option of using the DualShock, if possible. It would especially make the maddeningly frustrating combat moments more palatable.

While the controls are problematic, the presentation and immersion are absolutely stunning. The world of Shift seems to have drastically different areas smashed together in weird ways. In the middle of buildings, there can be rivers or lakes. Bus stops hang off the side of rocky outcrops, street signs and traffic lights randomly placed here and there - all of it with a rich watercolour palette that really makes a lasting impression.

Screenshot for Apex Construct on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Apex Construct is a perfect example of just how far VR games have come and shows that VR gaming isn't just a gimmick. It's clearly going to be the next step for gaming. However, it also shows some of the glaring issues still being faced with the technology. The controls are still difficult, with the system of teleporting rather immersion-breaking and the wand-style controllers still not quite fitting the bill. Regardless of its flaws, this is one of the best VR experiences currently available and a must experience.

Developer

Fast Travel Games

Publisher

Fast Travel Games

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

It really does seem like the VR scene is picking up between this and some of the games that Chris and Al have recently reviewed.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
K-Pop Korner - The Best of Korean Music
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Adam Riley, FiDRoC, hinchjoie, Insanoflex

There are 4 members online at the moment.