Some of my favorite video game experiences involve peaceful and minimalist interaction with the title itself. Take, for example Journey, Flower, and PlayStation Home (if you didn’t cause stupid childish drama). That’s why I was excited when Perfect was revealed for the PlayStation VR. It’s a game all about relaxing at a generally popular location.
nDreams’ creation could certainly fill the void of Anywhere VR since that is only on the Japanese PS Store at the moment. I love star-gazing or taking in the sights whether I’m hiking, on a secluded beach, visiting the tropics, or up on a mountain. So the thought of just relaxing and being in a beautiful area thanks to the PSVR enthralled me. I had thoughts of grandeur where I would find the most beautiful spot in one of Perfect’s three maps and stay there for an extended period of time. Sadly, the lack of clarity on what the game offered hurt this title a lot more than I thought.
When you boot up the game, it immediately takes you to the main menu that showcases all the places you can go. There are three different maps, each with a day and night variation. The first one I ended up going to was the lakeside cabin in the daytime wilderness. It features scattered mountain ranges around you with tiny forests hugging each one. In the middle of it all is a small cabin and dock beside a lake. At first things at face value looked beautiful but then you realized the core gameplay shortcomings. You can only select up to three locations in a map, by looking around for them, to stand at with each offering a mostly different view. Granted I didn’t think this title would be a walking simulator where you can go to every part of the map but I was expecting a lot more places you could be to take in the sights. The trio of locations will also have a handful of items to interact with. There will be stones or sticks you can pick up, throw, or set alight with a nearby campfire and a radio to turn on that plays peaceful music. However, the pattern of threes continues as you only have that amount of tunes to select from. Then after you tinker with your objects you’ll begin to perform the whole point of Perfect, taking in the views.
Unfortunately, the graphics aren’t very copacetic for that. Trees especially look awful and appear to be straight from a school’s art class. Sure it can be appreciated but not enough to lose yourself in the moment. Water can appear to be hazy at a distance like the pixels are playing mind games with you. Mountains and similar earthly structures are a little bland and don’t offer much in the design department. Even the “Northern Lights” on the winter map are nowhere near as captivating as the real thing. For what it’s worth, when you’re right above water it does look gorgeous and especially so if there’s a small school of fish swimming around. Plus, the physics of the water when you throw things into it are very believable. Although you won’t be doing that much because you’ll have to spin your head over and over again.
The second map I visited was a tropical island with a curved beach, wooden huts, palm trees, and a very tiny island you could travel to. This was probably my least favorite map. I can’t exactly pinpoint why but a definite reason is it offers little in the way of sight gazing. There’s just some rock formations you can view out to sea and the small portion of land before a rock hill block your vision. The third and final map is in the middle of a snowy nowhere. Snow will be falling day or night (albeit in repetitive motions) and your locations are just on the bank of a river frozen over. You can throw snowballs here though! The sound of wolf howls will also pierce the air. When I first heard them on the night variation I picked up a stick, lit it on fire, and starting shaking the thing around me.
The soundtrack for the game is pretty enjoyable even if there are only three different melodies. It was enough to lose yourself in shortly before you recognized all the problems I’ve listed so far. If you don’t like the tracks then you can play your own songs through the Spotify app on your XMB menu. Nothing like listening to Five Finger Death Punch at sunrise on a mountain top. [Ed: The Killers’ Runaways is much better. Just sayin’.]
The sound effects are also pleasant, whether they’re wolves howling, birds chirping, or waves lapping up on shore. If anything, your ears will get the best out of this VR experience. As good as this game is at capturing nature, I still felt like I could be doing something else. Like reading, writing, or playing on my phone. I understand the point of Perfect is to provide an escape from everyday life, but man this game would have been so much better if I had a book in my hand.
It must be noted that during the game’s rather quick loading screens…it mentioned that certain things would happen in each map if you waited long enough. The only things I’ve discovered after ample amount of waiting were a hot air balloon and sky glider appearing on the wilderness map. Unless of course the Aurora Borealis counts as such an event.
Perfect PS4/PSVR Review
I guess the ultimate question is did I feel relaxed in this space? I suppose so, but only for a few minutes at best. The graphics weren’t good enough to sustain a truly beautiful location and the lack of positions to take in the sights didn’t offer any complexity. More to the point, only three maps to “escape” to make this ten dollar purchase feel like a tech demo. Sure the PS4 Pro might enhance the experience but I doubt it would change anything major. Luckily, if you just want to listen to some peaceful music, Perfect has you covered. Plus, some of the nature effects are just lovely. This PSVR escapade is a decent starting point for what it’s trying to do, but it’s just that. A starting point.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital version of the game bought at the expense of the reviewer. This does not affect the content of the review or the final score awarded. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
*Reviewed on a regular PS4.