Once upon a time when I was very young, my parents took me to Alton Towers. We jumped on a ghost train and, I’ll admit, I spent the whole ride sobbing with my face buried in my hands. I was five, it was scary. Since then, in my older years I’ve not had a chance to ever to go on a ghost ride again. The only theme park we have in Wales is Oakwood and there’s no ghost rides there. So perhaps it’s a little empty to say Rush of Blood is the best damned ghost train I’ve ridden.
Developer: Supermassive Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Avg Game Length: Just under four hours for all levels. But there’s infinite replay value in scoring systems and secrets
Requirements: VR Headset, Camera. Move Controllers optional but enhance the experience
This Way Madness Lies
The Until Dawn spinoff, sets you as Josh. A man supposedly having gone insane after the events of Until Dawn. Thematically, the game contains everything to support that idea rather nicely. Rather morbidly. But hey, this IS a horror game and on first run-through it IS scary. You see, despite my whimpering theme park days, I’ve become quite numb to games that try to scare me. Yet Rush of Blood was successful with disturbing imagery and tastefully placed jump scares. It’s as early as the second level that I uttered to myself “have they gone a little too far with this? The pursuit of shocking imagery makes this game one for vegetarians and vegans to look out for.
Keenly attuned fans of Until Dawn will likely pick up many references. Most of which are unmissable wherever you look. Some are a little sneakier to pick up on. Yet none of them find a conclusion for themselves within the game. Except the brief story arc of the psycho who has a habit of switching the lights of and yelling “graaah” in your face when they come back on. Cleverly even the most obvious of things can be left unclear as it is established just how mad Josh has become. In the second level, he inhales a gas that we’re told makes us hallucinate. But before that, his air pistols suddenly become real pistols and crazed men in clown masks start coming out of the woodwork.
Rush of Blood Will Have You Constantly Asking “The Hell Is Going On?!”
It’s pretty safe to say Josh was perfectly insane before the gas hits him. Or if the gas has any hallucinogenic properties at all. It adds to a sense of mystery throughout the entirety of the game. Which is disappointingly short. Between each of the six levels, we’ll be revisited by “the carnival man” who supposedly owns this dystopian hell ride. Simultaneously, he seems to be a mad doctor, prescribing you with experimental medicines. While he pretends to be a fun lovin’ carnival owner, taking you for a ride (literally and metaphorically), he comes across as a bit of an asshole. Not in what he says, but how he says it.
At this point, it’s very easy to say “well what the hell is going on then?”. The answer to that question, I still cannot give. After countless playthroughs. Which isn’t a bad thing because frankly, I’m prepared for countless more. Rush of Blood is just that fun. It has a great scoring system, many variations on tactics, timing and several selectable cart routes. Even super rare collectables (of which I have only found one) that give Josh a rare moment of lucidity, seeing the mad doctor at work and getting the tiniest of clues as to what is really going on. These are all great reasons to play again and again, dulling the effect of the game being so short.
Make Sure Your Headset Is PERFECTLY Calibrated
Although, there are some outlets for frustration here. I keep telling myself this is first generation VR tech I’m playing around with here. So what does that mean? It means I’m convinced there are items that need shooting that can’t be shot. They’re placed at such an awkward angle, that when you move your arms to shoot them, everything gets confused. Josh’s arms start jumping about like a lagging COD player. The camera loses track of your movements and you’ll need to re-calibrate quickly. Essential split second moments that, in a game like this, makes you lose out on further points as a result.
After this admittedly minor gripe, where Rush of Blood really shines is where it takes advantage of its VR capabilities. If anything, this game is a great example of what you can expect your headset to be capable of. One moment has you sat in the dark without the cart moving. Players must look around and catch sight of the taunting ghost in the distance in different instances before the final jump scare. Or nasty things will climb on the front of the cart for the pleasure of screaming in your face. Damn, things look super 3-D. A real sense of perspective gives jump scares so much more weight and I’m glad Supermassive didn’t over use them.
Tight And Responsive Controls Win The Day
Aiming with either your Dualshock 4 light or the move controllers, Josh can blast his way through a great variety of enemy types. With plenty of guns to collect from pistols to explosive flares. We’ve got creepy moving mannequins, mad clowns, zombies, giant spiders, possessed nurses… the list goes on. Really, Rush of Blood makes me yearn for a VR remake of House of The Dead. Not only because it does its title complete justice, but it also gave me that thrill I once found at the arcade box in the pub with my aunt at a very young age. Make no mistake, for £15, this is a game you need to get with your purchase of a PlayStation VR.