Among Us VR Review: Deception & Detection In A New Dimension
Among Us VR is available now on Steam and the Quest Store from Schell Games. Is this VR’s new party game or will it become a ghost ship? Read our full review below.
Schell Games is about as veteran a VR game studio as you can find. Its two I Expect You To Die games feature contemplative escape rooms anchored by rock-solid VR design leading to satisfying moments of discovery. Until You Fall, meanwhile, moves hard into the realm of fast-paced action with its intense swordfights. Each can be considered among some of VR’s best single-player games. That focus on solo VR is partially because studio head Jesse Schell is on record saying VR needs to see a player base above 10 million in order for there to be a fair likelihood friends can find a shared game. Reports indicate VR just crossed that threshold. Among Us VR, then, is Schell’s moment to enter the field of multiplayer VR gaming.
Among Us VR Review – The Facts
Platforms: Quest 2, PC VR (coming to PSVR 2)
Release Date: Out now
Developer: Schell Games
So what’s it like being the impostor in VR and accomplishing tasks while looking fearfully over your shoulder? What about finding a dead body in a hallway, or witnessing a murder? In short, it’s an absolute thrill. This is top tier VR design. Claustrophobia closes in when the lights go out and you need to push down a dark hallway. Fear and confusion mix when undertaking the tasks in front of you, just like the traditional version of the game.
More than a flat screen, however, overwhelming isolation is felt in a storage bay far from anyone else — the hollow sounds of the large empty space reinforcing a sense of loneliness. There’s the playful paranoia when you and another crewmate (or is it the impostor?) meet in a hallway and just stare suspiciously at one another. In one game I witnessed a murder and frantically darted across the ship telling crewmates I passed what I’d seen just in case the impostor somehow caught up before I could press the emergency meeting button in the cafeteria. In another game I heard a murder in a nearby room, panicked, and forgot the colors of the crewmates I saw nearby.
Among Us VR Review – Comfort
Among Us VR uses stick-based smooth locomotion with default vignetting turned on and highly adjustable. There’s no teleport movement, but the vignette option shows you a stationary grid world outside the ship’s field of view that works pretty effectively at staving off discomfort. Snap turning is the default with smooth turning optional, and you can adjust both the angle of your snap turns or speed of your smooth turn.
And then there’s the crew meeting — all the survivors with the impostor(s) among us talking through their perspectives and pointing at one another. Which color crew members were seen near the dead body? Was everyone really participating in the tasks? How believable is the lead suspect’s defense? The debate calls for something in between the text-based deception of the original and bald-faced lying that occurs if you’ve played it in the same room with friends. Though the crew members only show the most basic body language there’s still enough between stumbling over words or averting gaze to build an opinion about who might be a cold-blooded space murderer. During one match, I watched a blue crew member turn a corner after another person, facing slightly backward as he did so. It looked to me as if their body language said “am I free to kill someone” rather than “am I being hunted?” My instincts were correct, and we jettisoned the impostor into space.
There’s a lot still to add from the original game — like additional ships — but Schell has a good track record of supporting its games with post-launch content, and there’s enough of the core experience here to satisfy VR headset-owning fans of Among Us.
Among Us VR Review – Final Verdict
Among Us VR successfully completes its task of adapting the game so many have come to know with excellent sound, lighting, and interaction design. The crew tasks are just the right blend of challenge under pressure of death with next-level strategy and planning required to successfully destroy a crew and survive their interrogations as impostor. Among Us VR features cross-play between VR platforms but does not interface with the classic game on flat screens, so it’ll live or die based on whether its ships stay filled with players looking for a game of deception. It’s available now on Quest and Steam.
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