There have been many Cold War-themed games, but is my favorite. There’s no Tim Curry, his squeaky dialogue and sarcastic laughter (a la Command & Conquer Red Alert), but Vertical Robot’s 2018 VR puzzle adventure game is something else. Red Matter 2’s exciting interplanetary exploration conceals an intriguing story. It asks how far one nation will go to win, and combines that with an emphasis on object interaction and puzzle solving that can only be done in VR.
As with most story-driven sequels, I recommend that you play the original first. However, this is not a requirement. All of the necessary knowledge is provided in the introduction which welcomes all newcomers graciously. Our journey continues with Sasha Riss, Volgravian agent, escaping from an Atlantic Union prison. Beta, a Volgravian agent who mostly provides narration over voice comms, is the only major character. These two characters aren’t memorable apart from minor character development. It’s the combination of their stories that turns boring mystery solving into something enjoyable.Red Matter 2, – Gameplay trailer1;29Autoplay setting: On RED Matter 2, – Gameplay trailer
Sasha discovers a distress signal from an old friend, which is why her investigation becomes intertwined in Volgravia’s research into red matter. This mysterious substance has destructive potential and is a mystery to many. As we uncover more of a conspiracy, it has also led to many supernatural incidents. Volgravia is keen to keep these events secret. Although some of the reveals were predictable, I was always pleased with the outcome.
It moves along naturally without any surprises. The tone is set immediately by Sasha’s mind being sent to another body. This makes it easier for supernatural elements to come in. Although this isn’t the fastest adventure, it takes six hours to complete. Red Matter 2 has the advantage of never being bored.
You’ll recognize the design if you’ve ever played the original. Sasha’s spacesuit comes with a pair handheld devices that can switch between flashlights, scanners, grips, and eventually a gun. It’s easy to use the controls, and the buttons on the Meta Quest 2 controller perfectly match the in-game ones makes it feel more immersive. The process of picking up items feels accurate and real. You can’t lift a heavy box like air. Sasha isn’t a cosmonaut Superman. However, you can drag them out of their way or put them on a cart.It is a great way to feel immersed, as the buttons on the Quest 2 controller are exactly replicated by the in-game devices. “
Red Matter 2’s subtler applications for these devices were particularly enjoyable to me. One moment saw me crack a vault’s 4-digit code without any visible clues. Instead of showing me the answer, it increased the controller vibrations when I selected the correct number. This worked well. These devices are a great addition to puzzle solving, as they enhance immersion and complement the environment storytelling.
Sasha travels between many locations and only meets robots and holographic projections. Actual human NPCs are rare. Sasha is dependent on your observation skills to determine what happened, with the exception of occasional chatter with Beta. Many areas are littered in translatable notes and diagrams that explain how certain devices work. Signposting would be helpful for some of these puzzles. I found it frustrating to spend 20 minutes searching for a power source. Red Matter 2’s puzzles could also benefit from more variety. Flipping circuits to restore power for five times is a bit tedious. It’s best to take your time and not rush through.Combat is my only gripe. “
Sasha is also equipped with a Jetpack, which allows for occasional platforming. I was okay with that but it could be nauseating for others. Vertical Robot has been very accommodating and will adjust to your preferences. Although smooth movement is still my preferred choice, the jetpack can be used to teleport, which allows you to point and click to move to the desired location in a matter of seconds. You can also choose to sit down mode, which means you won’t have to stand for six hours. It has adjustable walking and turning speeds, as well as optional blinders that will place a vignette on your screen. You can also choose your dominant hand to make it easier for you.
My only gripe with the story is combat. It doesn’t appear until about halfway through. Volgravia’s base is home to two types of enemy drones. These are humanoids that can only be wounded by shooting at specific weak points like shoulders. There are also floating mechanical eyes which make up for the lack of armor and have an annoying mobility that makes it difficult to hit. There are also a few pesky towers that will shoot Sasha at sight.
To use motion controls to control a gun, you must have a steady aim and be able to use them effectively. This is fine for less intense segments such as puzzle solving. But, what about Red Matter 2’s gunplay. It’s not so great. VR is an excellent format for shooters, especially with arcade games like Robo Recall or Zombieland Headshot Fever. However, enemies in the best games aren’t always so frustrating to hit. It took precision shooting and guesswork to figure out where they would go next. Unsurprisingly, these segments felt slow and drawn out. Red Matter 2 isn’t terribly difficult, and combat isn’t too frequent.
Exploration is Red Matter 2’s true strength. This is thanks to its retro-futuristic style that quietly captures the tension of these abandoned bases. It can feel like you are in a horror movie, as you crawl through dark passages and corridors brimming with red matter. But you won’t be scared. Quest 2’s graphics look amazing! I tried both the PC and Quest 2 versions. This is one of the most beautiful games that you can play with a headset.
These quiet moments at the base are not what impressed me most. You can visit Saturn’s moons by taking an outdoor walkway. It is amazing to see the stars above and the gas giant below. Sasha felt a sense of immersion that VR cannot capture. This was evident when she visited Triton, Neptune’s moon.
Red Matter 2 is a powerful sequel that builds on its predecessor. It pushes the Meta Quest 2 to the limits and nearly matches the excellent graphics of the PC version. This VR-themed sci-fi adventure, Cold War-themed, is one of the best. It features an intuitive control system, great object interaction, and some amazing UI design. Combat is a bit lacking due to having only two types of enemies, neither of them being fun to fight. However, that’s a minor issue compared to the puzzles. They have just enough variety and are often delightfully tactile. This helps to sustain the six-hour-long story with its predictable twists. All of it leads to a mysterious mystery that kept me engaged until the end – satisfying, but not mind-blowing. Red Matter 2 is a fantastic journey that takes you to amazing places.
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