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Is The Mage's Tale the new VR graphics champ?

inXile Entertainment, in collaboration with Oculus Studios, have really knocked this one out of the park, graphically, if nothing else. We could be looking at the newest game to claim the VR graphics throne. Robo Recall, Raw Data and Arizona Sunshine were probably the 3 games to hold that title recently, but a new contender has entered the ring.

Graphics are great and all, but what about the playability you say? Luckily there is good news to report here, as The Mage's Tale has plenty of solid playability to back up it's good looks. You're the equivalent of a wizard's apprentice, and with the untimely kidnapping of your master, you're thrust into a role that you're slightly unprepared for. Thankfully, you'll be aided in your quest by a wise-cracking goblin, who helps teach you the ropes early in the game. You have the ability to activate a mini shield in each hand, and when you have it slightly powered up, you can combine the two mini-shields into one, much larger shield. All of this feels very good, and looks even better. You'll marvel at how well everything comes together in this game. Offensively, you can use either hand to select a fireball or a lightning strike, or whichever spells you have activated at that time. An on-screen cursor helps you predict where you're projectile attack is headed.

There have been a number of minor annoyances with the game that I should mention. First, the game does have some minor performance issues. There can be a bit of stuttering at times, but this could vary depending on the strength of your PC rig. The other big issue is the locomotion options. Teleport is available, but there is also a very herky-jerky trackpad type movement. Instead of smooth trackpad motion, you move in quick bursts. Interestingly, the bursts don't really cause nausea, but they just seem strange and unnecessary. I've been using the teleport which is less than ideal but considerably less annoying than the herky-jerky movement option. I should also mention that sometimes the enemy encounters are too much of a cakewalk. You have shields in each hand, which really gives you ample protection if you time your blocks correctly. Then there's the projectiles you can launch at enemies. You'll feel like Roger Clemens on the mound hurling fastballs when you're throwing your fireballs at the low level goblins. I'm still very early on in the campaign so hopefully the difficulty will start scaling up accordingly.

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