Dying Light played in virtual reality is a glimpse into what the future may bring, but the present isn't quite there yet.
It's one of the few AAA games that supports the Oculus Rift — Alien Isolation is another — so there's something amazing in being able to look around such a well-constructed environment.
Being inside a world torn apart by zombies isn't for the faint of heart, and in virtual reality you can't look away. You look up and see the sky. You down and see the ground. You look around and things are trying to kill you. It's an interesting, and slightly panic-inducing, way to play the game.
The game also earns points by being simple to set up in virtual reality. You simply launch the game in Steam with your Rift turned on and the rest is done through auto-detection, at least in the beta version I was playing. We're used to fiddling with virtual reality demos for an extended period of time to get them to work, which makes this plug-and-play approach very welcome.
It's also unfinished. Many things in a game need to be adjusted for the virtual reality experience to work well, and right now the menus and display on Dying Light are nearly impossible to see when you're wearing the Rift, which makes button cues and subtitles all but worthless.
Being inside a world torn apart by zombies isn't for the faint of heart
There are also moments where the game takes control of your view, which caused my stomach to flip and turn while in virtual reality.
I reached out to Techland to share these concerns, and they're aware of the work that needs to be done.
"As for now we’ll publish the game as it is. You'll be able to play it on Rift, but there are areas where the VR experience obviously requires more polish. We do plan to work on this further and we have quite ambitious plans going forward," they told Polygon.
"We hope to technologically fully support Rift , and not only Rift, but generally VR, when devices from this segment hit the mass market."
So it's fun, and interesting, but it's not where it needs to be for the game to offer a comfortable experience for long playing sessions. This sort of support is likely something you'll see more of as developers play around with virtual reality while waiting to see when the retail models of hardware like the Rift will be released to the public.
Developers like Techland who have already begun implementation testing and support will be at a great advantage if virtual reality headsets sell in wide numbers and players ask for support.
For now? I'd suggest those with a Rift in their gaming set-up to play in short sessions, and maybe keep a bucket handy.