VR is, at its best, about the power of wish fulfilment. If you’ve long held a desire to fight crime in Gotham as Batman, fly an X-Wing into battle, or be terrorised for seven straight hours in a decaying Louisianan plantation house, VR can make it happen. And high on many people’s wish lists will be becoming a Starfleet officer.
That’s the power of Bridge Crew. Taking the role of engineer, helm officer, tactical officer or (let’s be honest) most likely captain, you’re part of the crew of new starship the USS Aegis. Your considerably less than five-year mission (it should take between three and four hours): to find a new homeworld for the Vulcans, their first having been destroyed in by time-travelling Romulan Nero in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot.
There are two ways to play. One, as a solo adventurer, navigating your menus to give the AI crew around you orders. Or two, with human companions. And it’s the latter where the game really comes alive — a thrilling exercise in tactics and teamwork, where every crew member eventually gets their chance to shine. But here’s a question that may well put a wrinkle in this utopian future for you — how many people do you know with VR headsets? Your ship only needs four humans to staff it, but that still feels like a big ask if you don’t want to play with strangers.
And, if you can’t put together a full complement, then you’re left with AI. It’s not that they’re unresponsive, it’s just a more laboured process to go into your menus, to choose the command you need. Especially when it’s all too easy to hit the ‘Red Alert’ button on your virtual captain’s chair when you really just want to tell your engineer something. Voice recognition is promised down the line — it’d certainly help.
But, as VR simulations go, this is one of the best to spend time in. Yes, your arms may look like oversized pipe cleaners, but the look and feel of your surroundings is spot-on. And there’s a proper game attached, which isn’t always a given. Easily one of the best reasons to own a VR headset.