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Oculus Rift and Alien: Isolation: I see you


Alien: Isolation is running in prototype form on Oculus Rift at E3. Two things about that:
  1. The full game isn't coming to Oculus Rift for sure just yet.
  2. It's terrifying.
Creative Lead Al Hope first saw the Oculus Rift's horror potential after a demo at GDC in 2013, he told Joystiq. Creative Assembly decided to give it a try and built the demo now stalking the booths of E3 2014.

"To be clear, what we announced last night is that we're showing a prototype of Alien: Isolation on Oculus Rift," Hope said. He made it clear that a demo didn't equate a full game, at least not for now.

This is a blessing and a curse, because Alien: Isolation on Oculus Rift is great, and also greatly horrifying. We sat down with it on Oculus Rift dev kit 2.0, and those few dark minutes were easily 10,000 times scarier than the standard controller-and-screen version.

Gallery: Alien: Isolation (1/20/14) | 8 Photos

The demo is short and tense, set in a series of dark passageways on a busted ship – metallic grates, florescent and orange lighting, a line of lockers and steam pouring from a few open valves. Press a button and your hand holding a radar gun juts out from the bottom-left of your vision field, and it feels like an extension of your own body, even though your real hand is clutching a controller.

You know the alien is near when a dot appears on the radar gun. This contributes to a consuming desire to keep the locator up at all times, constantly clenching down on the controller and flicking your eyes back and forth from the setting to the flickering green screen.

With Oculus Rift, your vision moves as you move your head. This makes one of the analog sticks largely redundant, though breaking the habit imbued in us from years of dual-stick, first-person shooters takes a second to get used to. It quickly feels natural to turn your head rather than the stick.

And then you see the dot. Terror takes over immediately, even before the alien actually appears on-screen. The dot is fast, and soon after you see it, the alien sees you – and that basically means you're dead.

The second I saw that black, beetle-like head turn the corner, I screamed and threw my hands over my face. I forgot I was in a game world for a fraction of a second, and by the time I remembered to use the controller, it was a lost cause. I just closed my eyes. When I opened them again, I was dead in front of a pair of skeletal alien feet.

Again, maybe it's a good thing Alien: Isolation isn't confirmed for Oculus Rift – but it could be a great thing to play in virtual reality.

[Image: Sega]

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