Lone Echo 2 will be the last major VR game released for the now discontinued Rift platform. With the Oculus Rift S having now been sunset, and the Facebook-owned company moving away from PC-only experiences entirely, we don’t imagine another worthwhile title will wind up as an exclusive to the Oculus Rift store.
It is perhaps ironic then that we chose to review this game using the Rift’s successor, the Oculus Quest 2, connecting our headset to our PC through the wireless Air Link feature.
No matter what Oculus device you choose though, this is a truly great VR game from developer Ready at Dawn - a team that definitely understands what the platform is capable of. The only significant letdown is the movement - which while incredibly cool can leave you feeling a little motion sick.
The gameplay can be a little simple too, but with such an immersive virtual world to adventure through it doesn't matter if the game's puzzles aren't super difficult - exploration is its own reward.
Nevertheless, we couldn’t think of a better way for the Oculus Rift platform to go out than Lone Echo 2, and all Oculus headset owners should seriously consider playing this game for themselves.
Lone Echo 2 price and release date
- What is it? A virtual reality adventure through an abandoned space station
- Release date? October 12
- What can I play it on? Oculus VR
- Price? $39.99 / £29.99 (around AU$55)
Alone in the empty void
The story of Lone Echo 2 picks up pretty much where the original game left off. You reawaken as Jack - an android - who has finally been repaired by Captain Liv Rhodes after around four months of being out of action. You and Liv are currently stationed on an otherwise deserted space station - save for a few robotic companions - that is currently orbiting Saturn after having been transported 400 years into the future.
If you haven’t played the first Lone Echo you don't need to go back pick it up (though we'd recommend you do). Lone Echo 2 opens with a handy catch-up of the first game's story, and dialogue options throughout the game’s opening give you the chance to play an amnesiac version of Jack so you can be reminded of everything that’s happened before.
The story can move rather slowly but you’re at least given plenty to do, and exploring the space station is an absolute delight. Over the course of the game's 10+ hours, you’ll be treated to some of the best-looking and sounding VR we’ve ever experienced. This immersion is only amplified by the game’s mechanics.
The world is full of objects and devices to interact with, puzzles to solve, and lore to discover. It feels fuller and more real than a lot of other VR environments which helps to make up for the game’s often simplistic objectives.
One of the coolest mechanics has to be the zero-gravity movement which you are introduced to from the game's earliest moments. While this isn’t anything new for the Lone Echo series it's still so cool to be able to traverse the game world like an astronaut on the ISS - clambering across walls and fearlessly propelling yourself through space.
To make traversal more difficult are globs of biomass that serve as the game’s threat. These floating blobs act as environmental hazards rather than something you can fight, and while they can be a pain they mostly serve as an annoyance rather than a genuine threat.
Feeling a little space-sick
Unfortunately, the movement is also an area where Lone Echo 2 falls down - at least for this reviewer. While many players will quickly take to the game’s movement, others very much do not.
The disconnect between seeing yourself float around in three dimensions virtually while remaining stationary and under the effects of gravity, in reality, can leave you feeling more than a little queasy even if you’re a VR aficionado.
If you’re nervous to drop a fair amount on a game that might make you feel ill, there is a great way to get a taste of what Lone Echo 2 has in store without dropping a dime.
The game begins with a short 10-15 minute tutorial that is very similar to the one featured at the beginning of Echo VR. Echo VR is free on the Oculus platform and offers you a chance to try out the mechanics you’ll be reliant on in Lone Echo 2 - in particular, what the zero-gravity movement is like.
If you take to the Echo VR gameplay then Lone Echo 2 will absolutely be a worthwhile purchase, but if the controls turn you a shade of green then you might want to consider a different title for your library.
End of an era
Lone Echo 2 is an incredible looking and immersive VR game, and the perfect send-off for the Oculus VR platform.
Interacting with the game's sci-fi objects and interfaces is a delight, and Liv's character model looks so realistic that you'll forget she isn't really there. The only experience is one that will leave you believing that you're actually floating through in a space station.
Sometime that imaginary sense of weightlessness can leave you feeling a little queasy though. If you're prone to motion sickness this unfortunately might be a game you have to miss out on - which is a shame given how splendid it is.
- Check out our picks for the best VR games