Horror games and first-person horror games are a genre that cries out for immersiveness. The more that you can get into the headspace of being there the better the surprises and the more the adrenalin can flow. 4A Games probably isn’t a name that most people will recognise but their titles Metro:2033 and Metro: Last Light will probably ring some bells. ARTIKA.1 takes their expertise with horror and puts it in a VR environment and to make it even more immersive adds in a decent storyline with a book written by Christie Golden.

The book and game are set in a world of the future where too many things have gone wrong. Faced with runaway global warming the human race screwed up and tried two solutions, both of which made the situation worse. Instead of a baked Earth, we ended up blocking out the sun and freezing as well as killing a lot of the human population and mutating most of what was left. The game is set in and around the ARTIKA.1 colony which itself was created out of a small university town in the Siberian outback. You play a mercenary hired to help out against the bandits trying to take over and the monstrous mutated Yaga after their next meal. Thrown in rogue robots and the whole thing fits together.

I’ve had the game for a couple of days and so far it’s a decent mix of a first-person shooter with horror shocks good enough to make me jump and make sure I’m playing it in a room with the door well closed. As well as the decent gunplay I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the puzzle elements involved which have actually needed some brainpower to work out and provide a nice break and alternative from all action all the time.

We’ll have a full review up in a few days but so far it’s holding up to its promise.

 

Buy it from Oculus  

Price: ± € £23

Features

ARKTIKA.1 is split into two sections. First is the individual missions talked through by your handler Victoria and second is the time spent in your base tower where you can mod your weapons, buy extra equipment and get briefed. It’s also got a VR minigame – put on the VR headset in the gun range and play a training game within the game that’ll let you test out and practice with your new guns and equipment.

The control system is straightforward. The normal final three fingers to grip, trigger to fire and the guns reload in different ways. This might be moving the gun back to your hip and back or flicking it to the side and back but they’re easy and intuitive enough to pick up quickly. The method that 4A picked to move was initially a little worrying – one or more pre-selected positions around the room appear in blue or orange. Point the controller at them and click and you teleport instantly to them and are orientated automatically in the right direction. The different colours are for how much cover is available – blue has good cover and orange for not so good. Some corridors only have one or two points you can jump to and bigger rooms can have a much bigger number that let you bounce around and keep the NPCs confused. The environment isn’t completely static either and reacts to being prodded or shot.

Platforms: PC Oculus Touch Exclusive
Genre: Horror, action, First-person-shooter FPS.
Number of players: single player
Difficulty settings: easy, standard, hard, one setting
Comfort: Moderate
Languages: English, Russian and Ukrainian
Release date: 10th October 2017
Audience Rating: PEGI 16 Strong violence

The Book
ARKTIKA.1: My Name is Viktoria
Genre: books/TV/games – sci-fi, fantasy, biography
Written by: Christopher Golden
Release date: 10th October 2017

Language: English

System requirements

Recommended specs from Oculus are an Intel i5-4590 / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or greater, a NVIDIA GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon RX 480 or greater and at least 8 GB of ram.

I’m using a NVIDIA 970 with an  i7-6700K Skylake processor and have been able to run the game on maximum settings without any hitches, dropouts or problems.

About 4A Games

4A games is a Ukranian game developer based in Malta. They’re best known for the Metro Series of post-apocalyptic games including Metro: 2033 and Metro: Last Light both of which were commercial and critical successes and which you can clearly see as the predecessors of ARKTIKA.1.

 We based our Ergohacks initial Verdict on 2 days of playing a pre-release version. This full review is in progress. Codes were provided by 4A in October 2017.  This article was first published on 10 October 2017