Grab those Aviator’s we’re going to the Danger Zone

Dear fellow virtual reality flight-enthusiasts. Hello and welcome to a tale about Ace Combat 7 on PSVR

Let me tell you about one of the strangest video game sensation’s in my life.

The tale of how my eyes tried to remove themselves from my face via my nose.

Let me set the scene.

It’s early on a Saturday morning. Early enough for the rest of my household to still be a sleep. So I take a chance, the same chance as any other man-child would, and decide to play some video games.

Now, from past experience I know I have to be very careful and very, very quite in these near dawn gaming sessions. If I even so much as make a sound I will wake my cat and then the game is up. For my cat, full of anger from being woken from one of it’s many, many naps will decide to get even with me in the only way it knows how. The little Flea bag will wake my wife and then well. It’s GAME OVER. so as I crept around my living room making less noise than a dust bunny I tried to work out what to play;

Online gaming was out. An over exuberant whoop of celebration or the (much) more likely tears of defeat would give them game away far too quickly so I looked for something else, something that would give me enjoyment without making a sound

As I stumbled around my front room in near darkness, I tripped upon the perfect solution, VR. deciding that I could wear headphones for the sound and wrap myself in a blanket to hopefully mask that tell-tell clickity click of the controllers, I settled down to play Ace Combat 7

Now Ace Combat is a series that may be well known to some of you. It is after all a series that has been around longer than time but, somehow I hadn’t stumbled across it before now and where I found the traditional non-VR gameplay slightly uninteresting I had been told (quite sternly) to go back and play the VR section of the game as this is where it really shines.

So on that cold Saturday morning, wrapped in a blanket from head to toe, looking like a ghost that had run out of white sheets and with a gap in the blanket big enough for the PlayStation camera and lightbar on the PS4 controller to make that all important connection. I said down to play Ace Combat 7 and let me tell you

At first It’s wonderful. From the very first moment of lift off, it’s a pure adrenalin rush as your fighter jet races along the tarmac of the transport carrier, to the moment the jet tore up into the sky my heart tore along with it. As I pulled back ever tighter on the elevation and sored higher into the sky, it was for a moment as if a dream had come true – I was flying. It was great

But then the cold hard grip of reality tug on my heart strings and pulled me back to reality for as I flew along to meet up with my fellow crew I started to feel bored. I was flying at close to two thousand miles an hour but, it didn’t feel as if I was flying that fast. The ground below me didn’t whizz past, the clouds above my head didn’t vanish before my eyes. Nothing really made me feel as I if was in control of a state of the art military jet. It could of been anything. The plane just seemed to toddle along, not a care in the world. then I met up with my squad

Then I met up with my squad. This is where things changed again. Suddenly the game felt real again. Suddenly where only mere moments ago, it felt as if I was out for a nice Sunday afternoon fly, now I had to be careful, careful of not flying into my squad mates. Careful of not somehow flying into the sea, which now seemed to be moving with me. As I flew ever faster the sea too flashed before my eyes ever quicker. Then we met our enemy and the game started to slow down again, before suddenly and without warning handing me back the reigns and letting me fly, and fly I did with crazy abandon and utter ignorance of the laws of physics.

Turns out, this was a mistake.

Obvious really but, as I dog fought with my enemy, whipping through the clouds, with nothing but a blanket on my back and a smile on my face, I started to get cocky and cocky dear reader is something you should never do in VR. Not unless you have an iron congestion and a pretty strong stomach – two things I lack

But as, I flew through the clouds I started to grow ever bolder ever cockier, I started to barrel roll – it felt good. Started to do loop the loop – that felt great. Then my eyes and brain started to have a conversation. Brain said ”are we up side down” Eyes replied ” yes, wait, no. Yes I think so”. Brain ” can you check again? It’s quite important” Eyes ” okay, we’re sitting down, looking straight ahead” Me deciding to now fly the plane upside down. Eyes ” wait he’s done something, strange, we’re upside down but… sitting normally, straight up” Brain ” I don’t like it”. Eyes ”I know, I feel…” Brain” hold it in soldier!” Eyes ”I can’t” Brain ”be strong” Eyes ”I don’t know where I am” Brain (panicking) ”hold it together” Eyes ” I have to go”

The next thing sensation I feel is one of utter terror, of shame, panic all rolled up into one. Followed so closely by a feeling of nausea so strong that it makes gag out loud. Causing me to panic. In a frantic hope that I haven’t woken anyone up with that sound. A sound so disturbing I wouldn’t want to wake anyone up with it. Let alone the people I live with, quickly I try to tear the headset from face, momentarily causing another wave of nausea to rush through my body as a Brain still trying to come to grips with flying upside down is suddenly faced with a new reality. A reality that in the rush to be free of the PSVR headset has now managed to wrap a headphone cable around his neck and in the half light of an ever approaching dawn is now frantically trying to free himself along with trying to not be sick. It’s not a pretty sight but in seconds that felt like hours I am free. I stand up, stumble to the bathroom, not turning the light in a last ditch attempt to not disturb any of the household with the noise of the extractor fan connected to the light switch.

I think too my self. ” that could have gone worse”

and then I hear the meow.

Bugger

P.S Despite all my troubles, feline and otherwise. Ace Combat is a blast in PSVR. The VR really adds to the immersion of being in the plane, in flight. The only downsides are that you need to have some pretty strong VR legs and that the whole experience is about 30 minutes long. Although there are varying difficulty levels

P.P.S Top Gun soundtrack is optional but, brilliant to have on as you tear through the sky 🙂