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Arktika.1 - Game review

Game released Oct 10, 2017

VROne Rating
84%
User Ratings
67%
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VR Games Games "A" AAA Games

Arktika.1

Jason reviews Stormland
Review by: Pedro
Posted on: Mar 28, 2020
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About Arktika.1

Arktika.1. From the developers of Metro Redux, Metro: Last Light, and Metro 2033 comes an action-packed post-apocalypse game. Arktika.1 is a breathtakingly stunning, highly immersive, AAA, heart-pumping FPS (first-person shooter) game exclusively designed for the Oculus Touch. Arktika.1 uses the latest version of the 4A Engine to deliver some truly impressive visuals. Experience a post-apocalyptic vision of the future like never before - in full VR. 

Supported Languages: English, French (France), German, Russian, Spanish (Mexico), Ukrainian.
Rating: The game is rated for players aged 16+.
Gameplay Duration: Expect about 4-6 hours of gameplay. 
Disk Space Required: 21.73 GB

4A Games

Not only was Arktika.1 my very first Oculus game purchase, it’s also one of my personal favourites. I am a huge fan of the Metro series, so I knew I was going to get a quality product. I have to hand it to the creators, 4A Games, for creating such an excellent title. Even now, there aren't many that come close to a game of this caliber, with its fantastic gameplay, immersion and visuals. Arktika.1 has it all.

Watch the Arktika Game Trailer


Synopsis

Nearly a century into the future, our planet has fallen into a new ice age after a silent apocalypse. Yet groups of humanity survive in small numbers all over the planet, barely hanging onto existence in the jealously-guarded resource-rich territories to the north and south. Your primary goal is to protect the colony in the wastelands of old Russia from raiders, plunderers, and strange genetically-modified creatures. Your heroism could give humanity a second chance. 

To make a point
Although I prefer co-op games, Arktika.1 does single-player very well. It’s just the kind of game that makes you glad you bought a VR headset

Unfortunately, Arktika.1 has had its fair share of slating, mainly due to its point-to-point teleportation system. Personally, I don’t know why so many disliked the teleportation. Yes, it's certainly a unique way to move around, and does limit your experience of the environment, unlike open-world games such as Gunheart, Arizona Sunshine or Zero Caliber. However, it allows you to quickly and strategically move around the environment so that you can easily flank the enemy and retreat to a safer area should the going get tough. 

Point-to-point teleportation

Once you get used to point-to-point teleportation, everything falls into place nicely.  You’ll quickly come to appreciate the effort that has gone into the making of this masterpiece. Don’t be put off, Arktika.1 IS a AAA title that sits comfortably on the top shelf, alongside the very best.

Beautifully Detailed Environments
The highly detailed graphics, gameplay and cinematic atmosphere really add to the immersion. The textures and scenery are mind-blowing and breathtaking to say the least. The game has a fairly good story-line and a few puzzles - but nothing too taxing. 

Cinematic aircraft hanger

Teleportation in Arktika.1 is a little different to most FPS games, but I feel that the way the developers have used it adds to the gameplay, by providing you with a tactical advantage. 

Tactical advantage

The game is a narrative-driven experience. The storyline isn’t too bad but a little predictable and cliched -  but not terrible by any means. Narration is relayed to you by a humanoid named Viktoria. She communicates with you directly into your headset. Her voice is a little lifeless, but she certainly makes up for it with her looks and athletic figure. 

Viktoria from Arktika 1

You start the game in a snow truck, heading to your base within a secure mountain facility. Viktoria introduces herself and gets you up to speed. Once you’ve entered the mountain facility, it’s up to the control room for some more chin-wagging with Vik. You’ll return here after every successful mission for briefing on the next. 

You and Vik in the Snow truck

Asides from the control tower, you can access the armory. After each completed mission you’re awarded with credits (money). Those hard-earned credits are spent in the armoury on new weapons and upgrades. The armoury, although small, is pretty cool and provides you with everything that you need, and has a target practice area for testing the firepower of your high-tech weaponry.

The weapon loading mechanics are pretty much spot-on, but a little on the easy side. Ammo clips are unlimited, so you won’t be fumbling around for any.

Each gun has its own unique loading gestures. For example, there are two revolvers. One is reloaded by simply flipping the gun to the side to open the cylinder then flipping it back. The other revolver works in much the same way, but requires flipping down and back up, pretty much like a shotgun. Most of the other high tech weapons are reloaded by simply lowering your weapon(s) to your hip and then raising them.

Gameplay
I’ve already mentioned that Arktika.1 uses point-to-point teleportation, but don’t worry, you’ll quickly adapt to it and use it to your advantage. When you teleport you are automatically facing in the right direction anyway. You may end up amidst the enemy, but that’s just the fun of it. Keep your eyes peeled as to where the enemy is and you’ll come to enjoy zipping around the environment, taking them out one by one. The game is too much fun to let the teleportation mechanics ruin it.

Teleportation tactics

Arktika.1 has about ten missions to complete, all of which are fairly easy. Thanks to Viktoria, you'll always know what your objectives are and what to do next.

The combat is relatively solid, with some really intense shoot-outs. In places,  it’s fast-paced, fun, creepy, and occasionally vicious. Still, it’s a bit too easy for my liking. Ideally, the game needs a few more enemies and less overpowered weaponry. In one case, you can upgrade the Ikari gun, and make it into one of the game’s most powerful weapons by the end of the second mission! 

The basic enemy soldiers not only look amazing, but their animation is almost life-like in the way they move, stumble for cover, and how they drop to the ground when killed. These soldiers aren't much of a challenge. While they can be shot up fairly easily, there are also sniper class enemies that rely on distance and cover. Meanwhile, the heavies are heavily armoured and pose much more of a challenge - you’ll need to fire multiple headshots to take them down.

The enemy AI is pretty damn good. They’re smart and good at taking cover so it’s vital to keep moving around to get the best possible angle of attack. 

Enemy AI

Probably the most nail-biting aspect of the game is fighting the mutant monsters. Meet one of these nasties in a dark place and you’ll literally jump out of your skin. It certainly keeps you on your toes for what awaits you around the next corner. Just remember it's just a game! 

Arktika's mutant monsters


Verdict

Arktika.1 is certainly worthy of being branded a AAA game. It’s an excellent FPS that's so much fun to play. Although on the easy side, the gameplay is top notch and very immersive. The attention to detail and the overall atmosphere is very impressive. The lighting, particle effects, high quality textures and scenery are simply awesome, leaving you gobsmacked - To be perfectly honest, graphically and fidelity wise Arktika.1 is almost on par with Half-Life Alyx... well, not that far off!

For ultimate immersion, set your air conditioning to low to simulate being blasted with cold arctic air. Alternatively, open all your windows and let the cold air in. Wear thin clothes and you’ll have the best sensual experience ever. You’ll even see your cold breath while playing...how cool is that!

Deserted Shooping Mall

The developer made good use of the controller actions and functions in so many ways. You can perform various tasks such as weapon reloading, using switches, pushing buttons, interacting with screens, and even solving puzzles. 

Simple puzzle

The sound is excellent, from the satisfying sound effects of firing the weapons, down to the enemy chatter as they shout to one another in combat. The overall background soundtrack is also fantastic, as it matches the game’s mood.

I’m surprised to see that the ratings aren't higher on the Oculus Store. This seems to be down to many players disliking the teleportation mechanics. Personally, I felt it was very cleverly introduced into the game and works extremely well. Thanks to the teleportation, I felt no motion sickness whatsoever. Yes, it would’ve been nice to walk through the scenery instead of flitting around, but maybe we’ll get that in Arktika.2, if it’s ever developed.

Low game ratings

In regards to VR hardware, it doesn’t take much to play Arkitka.1. Back in the days of the Rift Touch, where VR specs were a little lower than they are now, the game still performed fairly well on a medium spec PC, running an i7-5820K CPU with 8GB RAM and Nvidia GTX 980 graphics card. If you have something better, such as a 1080 or the RTX 3080, you’ll get to fully appreciate everything the game has to offer.

The negatives

There are no main menu options. Once you load Arktika.1, you’re essentially thrown right into the game, without so much as a loading screen. The options screen is pretty basic. There are no settings for tweaks, you’re just left with several presets.

The Big Bad Boss was boring and predictable and left the game with an abrupt ending.

There are no save options. Everything is autosaved, without any indication of checkpoints. Even Viktoria neglects to mention this! To save you the bother - the game only saves once you’ve completed an entire level, or zone, so make sure you complete it. 

Should you buy Artika.1
Yes! If you enjoy shooters, this is one of the best FPS games that the Oculus has to offer. You can expect four to six hours of intense gameplay.

FPS VR games

PROS:

  • Amazing graphics and atmosphere
  • Top-notch game sounds and sound effects
  • Life-like enemy characters and animations
  • Good variety of levels, nothing repetitive
  • Great AI
  • Some excellent puzzle mechanics 
  • No motion sickness

CONS:

  • You wish you had bought it sooner
  • Limited menu options
  • Story is a little generic
  • No save options
  • Not enough enemies
  • Lack of colonists to interact with
  • Too easy
  • Abrupt ending 

Buy Arktika, here on the Oculus store


Have you played Arktika.1? What was your experience? Share your thoughts with me using the comment box below.

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4A Games 4A Games
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