Review – Into the Radius

There’s something about post-apocalyptic worlds that make them just fascinating to explore. From the cult hit STALKER series to the incredible Subway franchise (both the books and the games, mind you), they often provide some tense and immersive experiences that put just enough survival in there. There may not be any other type of game that is more suitable for the VR treatment. Into The Radius delivers just that.

Set in the post-apocalyptic future, humanity is pretty much wiped out, except for a few groups. You journey into the wastelands to gather supplies for survival, as well as complete missions for other survivors. Whilst there is a story to follow along with, I didn’t find myself too invested into it. What you are here for is the gameplay.

Just about everything in Into the Radius feels natural in VR. You use the grips to well…grip things and manipulate them. Opening doors, picking up guns, climbing ladders, and the list goes on. This is what a VR game should strive to be. Aim, Into the Radius takes that immersion one step further than usual with having to manually insert each bullet into a magazine. The game does a phenomenal job of bringing you into its world. Everything has physical properties, but unfortunately it is lacking in a lot of finer details that would push it even further. Where in Half-Life: Alyx you would be shoving junk around the environment to get to a pistol mag, in Into The Radius everything simply feels conveniently placed there.

Into the Radius is appropriately dark and moody. It does make most of the Quest’s admittedly limited hardware.

Once you start a mission and venture out into the exclusion zone, the real fun begins. You’ll search through buildings for loot and while taking in a very atmospheric environment. Naturally, there are plenty of enemies to fight. Most of which are basic almost to a fault, with very simplistic AI that won’t do much to challenge you, but that’s not to say it’s entirely bad. The combat itself is perfectly fine; you grip the weapon, point, and shoot. It’s nothing terribly special. If you’ve played a VR shooter like pavolv gold Forward before, you pretty much know what to expect, which is very much a good thing. Reloading is done completely manually, and every weapon type has a unique feel. However, if not maintained, you could end up with a weapon jamming. There is stealth in the game, but I’ve not really seen much need for it. Often times you’ll end up in combat anyway.

In a spin on the fantastic Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners backpack inventory, Into the Radius try to mix things up with an interesting idea. Instead of slots on your backpack, each item will take up physical space. This forces you to not only manage your inventory properly, but also plan how things are laid out. You don’t want to be caught in a dangerous situation frantically scrambling through your backpack to find that last emergency magazine. It does look weird at first, with items floating in your backpack, but it’s a wonderful system that does something a little bit different.

In between exploring the radius, you will be at home base preparing for your next expedition. It’s a neat little place where you can take on new missions, sell and purchase equipment, as well as upgrades, and even play a guitar. Maintaining your arsenal is key to progressing. Stocking up on food and cleaning your weapons so they have less chance of malfunction is critical to surviving in the exclusion zone. This will be what ultimately kills the game for some people. There’s no diving in and just going wild; it’s a very methodical experience. Personally, I feel this is what pushes Into the Radius to that next level. There’s a lot to consider and there’s some strategy when trying to survive, and you will be punished if you don’t pay attention.

 Into The Radius Graphics

Into the Radius’ graphics just can’t support its design potential.

As you progress you will gain a lot more equipment, ranging from better pistols, to assault rifles, to shotguns, and a range of gadgets to help you survive. These are drip fed to you at a steady rate and adds a new layer each time. It’s not just one map either, but rather a series of interconnecting zones that makes an otherwise massive world feel a bit more digestible. Each zone looks and feels different from the last as well, stopping the game from becoming boring quickly. There’s plenty to see and do that will keep you busy for a while.

Unfortunately, whilst a solid game in of itself, the Quest 2 doesn’t entirely do it justice. The visuals just don’t hold up to the game’s fullest potential. There’s not a lot of dressing here and the environments can often look flat. However, there are moments that do a great job, especially in dense fogs or dark buildings. Then there are the rather dull enemy designs, which are just shadowy enemies. Not much exacting here. If you have the hardware to run it, I would suggest checking out the PC version, which promises a higher graphical fidelity. Unfortunately, even the PC version still doesn’t quite hit its full potential.

As a whole, Into The Radius is one of those games that shows what VR is capable of. It takes the highlight immersive elements that makes franchises like Subway and STALKER so beloved, and brings them straight into your VR headset. It’s not perfect, and there are some massively missed opportunities, but it’s an experience I can recommend to VR veterans and newcomers alike.

The original version of Into the Radius wasn’t exactly a looker, but the Quest 2 really doesn’t help it. The limited hardware cannot do the game’s vision justice.

Into the Radius‘s core mechanics are exactly what you would expect from a VR shooter, as well as a survival game.

Solid sound design that helps immerse you into the world.

Into the Radius is of the most immersive VR experiences out there, but the hardware it is on doesn’t allow it to quite hit its full potential.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Into The Radius is available now on PC and Quest 2

Reviewed on Quest 2

A copy of Into tea Radius was provided by the publisher.

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