Eve: Valkyrie Oculus Gameplay Is Still The Most Exhilarating Gaming Experience On The Planet

134 Eve: Valkyrie Oculus Gameplay Is Still The Most Exhilarating Gaming Experience On The PlanetGet our thoughts on Eve: Valkyrie, now that we’ve had a few days to process the excitement from our latest demo of the game; a significantly more-condensed version of the Eve: Valkyrie gameplay we encountered last summer.

With a new game engine and an updated Oculus dev kit at its disposal, Eve: Valkyrie continues to offer the most immersive and exhilarating gaming experience that I’ve ever encountered. And the current build of the game doesn’t even have a fraction of the Eve: Valkyrie content being developed by CCP Games.

Some of you may remember my Eve: Valkyrie write-up from E3 2013; back when EVE: VR (the original name for the project) was technically still just a really popular tech demo. It was the first time I got to use an Oculus Rift, and only the second event at which Eve: Valkyrie had been shown to outsiders. But it took mere seconds for the game to transform me into one of the many games journalists who seem to be doing double-duty as VR evangelists.

As you might imagine, given the added power of an improved Oculus Rift and the game’s recent jump to Unreal Engine 4.0, Eve: Valkyrie was even more impressive at the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo than it was last summer. If we’re being honest, my hands-on time with Eve: Valkyrie is actually making it kind of difficult to go back to “normal” video games.

It’s hard to describe what it feels like, when a CCP staffer slips a Rift over your eyes, and you suddenly find yourself sitting in the cockpit of your very own starship. Sure, you still hear all the ambient noise being generated around you — the journalists milling about, staffers asking about appointments and the unmistakable sound of empty soda cans being collected from a table — but only until a pair of high-quality gaming headphones are slipped over your ears. Suddenly, reality no longer exists.

You aren’t playing Eve: Valkyrie, a virtual-reality space dogfighting game currently being developed by CCP Games. You are a Valkyrie pilot; one of a handful of highly-skilled fliers who have been recruited to help your leader get revenge on a roaming band of space pirates. And, like any good mercenary, you’ll be looking to earn some spare cash along the way.

But not before you take a few minutes to peek around the cabin of your Valkyrie and, if you’re anything like me, smack your head on your real chair when attempting to look behind the captain’s seat you see inside the Rift. Those who’ve used a Rift before will know exactly the feeling I’m talking about. It can be hard to remember that the images filling every corner of your vision aren’t real.

135 Eve: Valkyrie Oculus Gameplay Is Still The Most Exhilarating Gaming Experience On The Planet

Unlike last year’s early look at Eve: Valkyrie, which saw teams of 4-5 facing off against one another, the latest build of Eve: Valkyrie offered action on a much smaller scale. CCP Games drastically reduced both the amount of time and number of people in each demonstration; distilling the current Eve: Valkyrie experience into 2v2 matches with a three-minute time limit. The game itself remains largely unchanged, though.

Piloting the Valkyrie still feels as natural in this new version of Eve: Valkyrie as it did when I first got my hands on the game last year, and a relatively simple control scheme should make it easy for newcomers to get the hang of Eve: Valkyrie whenever the game makes its long-awaited debut. The game still sports the missile-locking system that helped make it such a hit, too; rewarding Eve: Valkyrie players who can literally keep an eye on their opponents with the ability to send a five-missile volley into the backside of an opposing pilot.

As your own ship takes damage, you’ll see cracks begin to form in the glass canopy protecting you from the vacuum of space, and small fires on the hull of your ship. But even death is actually kind of a treat in Eve: Valkyrie, because it means you get to take another trip down the launch chute. In time, my feelings on that matter will probably change. That’s a problem best dealt with in the future, though.

For now, pretty much everything about Eve: Valkyrie just makes me want to play it more.

136 Eve: Valkyrie Oculus Gameplay Is Still The Most Exhilarating Gaming Experience On The Planet

Unfortunately, most details about the Eve: Valkyrie campaign are still a secret at this time, and the only real link the existing build of the game has to its upcoming story mode are a few lines of dialogue from Battlestar Galactica veteran Katee Sackhoff. But even Rán, the only character from Eve: Valkyrie to actually be given a name/story at this point, doesn’t actually appear in the latest build of the game.

Similarly, CCP Games isn’t talking specifics about the game’s multiplayer offerings yet, so we don’t have any real idea of what size battles to expect when Eve: Valkyrie makes its retail debut.

Honestly, it’s kind of amazing how excited I am about Eve: Valkyrie, when you stop to consider just how little information has been released on the upcoming EVE Online tie-in. I mean, outside of confirmation that Katee Sackhoff will play the games lead, all we really know is that Eve: Valkyrie will offer some form of multiplayer space dogfighting. We don’t know how many people will be able to play, how long the campaign is or even have a general idea of when to expect Eve: Valkyrie to make its debut.

137 Eve: Valkyrie Oculus Gameplay Is Still The Most Exhilarating Gaming Experience On The Planet

So, can some of my general giddiness about Eve: Valkyrie be chalked up to my lack of regular exposure to the Oculus Rift?

Probably.

But that doesn’t change the fact that, of all the games I played at E3 2014, Eve: Valkyrie was one of the handful I actually wanted to talk about when queried by fellow writers. And it doesn’t change the fact that, of all the games I saw at this year’s show, Eve: Valkyrie is the only one that managed to get me to write nearly 1000 words about a hands-on demonstration that only lasted three minutes.

When I walked out of CCP Games’ meeting room last week, one of the first things I did was hop online to sing Eve: Valkyrie’s praises. And, after finding myself thinking about the game semi-regularly over the last eight days, I stand behind what I said on Wednesday.

Eve: Valkyrie is the future of gaming. And I can’t wait to see where it’s headed next.

Be sure to check back with iDigitalTimes.com and follow Scott on Twitter for more on Eve: Valkyrie as we keep close watch on the upcoming space dogfighting project from CCP Games in the months leading up to the Eve: Valkyrie release date.