Spider-Man video games are usually hit or miss. On one end of the spectrum, you have 2018’s Marvel‘s Spider-Man, which is not only the best Spider-Man game ever made, but also one of the greatest superhero games ever made as well. On the other end though, well, we don’t really like to talk about those (Friend or Foe). Spider-Man: Far From Home Virtual Reality, while also being quite a mouthful, fits somewhere in the lower end of that spectrum. It’s not bad, but it’s definitely rough around the edges. What sets Far From Home VR apart from the myriad of other Spidey-sims is the ability to put on the suit and swing through the New York skyline yourself, something many have dreamed about since they were kids. While it’s not perfect, Far From Home VR delivers on that fantasy with flying colors, and it’s enough to carry the game amidst a laundry list of issues.
Game Name: Spider-Man: Far From Home Virtual Reality
Platform(s): PSVR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive
Publisher(s): Sony Pictures Virtual Reality
Release Date: June 25, 2019
Before we get into things, it’s important to note that this isn’t a full game. It’s an experience, so don’t expect to get hours and hours out of it. It’s also free so you might as well give it a go if it sounds even remotely interesting to you. With that out of the way, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of Spider-Man: Far From Home VR.
Spider-Man: Far From Home VR puts you in the shoes of, you guessed it, Spider-Man. Unlike the Homecoming VR experience, Far From Home VR actually has some depth to it. There’s a very brief story mode that sees you battling a giant robot making its way toward Central Park while Peter’s friend Ned provides support through your earpiece. The combat is barebones but serviceable, you just repeatedly shoot webs at the robot and the smaller drones surrounding it until they blow up. Once you bring the bot down, Peter and Ned share some lines and then the credits roll. Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon reprise their roles as Peter and Ned, but the performances sound phoned in, and the story itself is practically nonexistent. The whole thing is over in under ten minutes. None of that matters too much though, because the “story” of Far From Home VR is essentially a glorified tutorial for the real meat of the game: free roam.
That’s right, unlike Homecoming VR, Far From Home VR actually features an open world for you to swing through, complete with collectibles, time trials, and combat challenges. This is where Far From Home VR truly shines. I got to live out my childhood dream of being Spider-Man, and I had the biggest smile on my face the entire time I was airborne. The city is pretty up close, with close by buildings featuring nice reflections and the streets below being populated with citizens and cars, but distant buildings have flat textures of a single color, usually gray, which can be immersion-breaking if you look too hard. Of course, the game fares much better visually on PC, but it’s perfectly playable on PlayStation VR. Thankfully, you won’t pay much attention to the distance anyway, because Far From Home VR does it’s best to keep you in the action at all times.
The swinging itself isn’t as complex as it could be, but considering this is a free experience, a deep swinging system wasn’t to be expected. Still, there’s a lot to it and it definitely takes some time to master. Rather than swinging like a pendulum, you pull yourself toward wherever your webs attach to. You can still get a swing going, but you’re not going to be diving down and getting huge air on the upswing like in other Spider-Man games. Still, this neutered movement system suits VR well. A super intense physics-based swinging system would cause many users to lose their lunch, and even though it’s watered down, there’s still a lot of enjoyment to be had with Far From Home VR‘s swinging. Not only can you swing, but you can also climb and run along the sides of buildings. Chaining these with swings made for some really satisfying movement combos, and leaping from rooftop to rooftop was a great source of enjoyment while hunting for hidden collectibles.
Combat is the weakest aspect of Far From Home VR simply due to how braindead it is. As I mentioned before, you just sort of barrage flying robots with webs until they explode. There’s hardly any skill involved with small-scale encounters, but when swarmed by a large group of drones, avoiding their shots becomes a challenge. Getting hit will disable web usage on one of your hands, so you really need to jump and swing around to maintain your abilities, otherwise you’re out of luck. Luckily, combat challenges spread throughout the city provided plenty of enemies to tackle at once, keeping the combat from getting too boring.
Time trials are the better of the two activities offered in Far From Home VR. Rather than fighting waves of robots, you’ll be swinging from one point to the next, trying to hit checkpoints within a certain time frame. These checkpoints will be at different elevations most of the time, and managing your height while swinging provided an interesting challenge, preventing you from just bolting forward all of the time.
When you’re not fighting or speeding through checkpoints, you’ll be hunting for Spidey-Tokens, which are collectible coins hidden throughout the city. There are 20 total, and they’re all pretty easy to find for the most part, with almost all of them out in the open on various rooftops. While not the most active activity, scouring the streets for Spidey-Tokens was the most fun I had in Far From Home VR because I could simply swing around at my own pace, pretending I was Spider-Man, which is the whole point of this experience.
Why partake in these activities and collectible hunts? Far From Home VR actually has unlockables. While you begin the game in the Stark suit featured in Spider-Man: Homecoming, you’ll unlock the new red and black suit from Far From Home immediately after finishing the story mode. The homemade suit from Homecoming and the stealth suit from Far From Home are made available through further play. Far From Home VR gives you a reason to keep playing, and if the prospect of VR web swinging isn’t enough to keep fans of the webhead hooked, then unlockable suits will definitely keep them playing. Everyone loves unlockable suits.
Spider-Man: Far From Home VR isn’t necessarily a great game. The small pool of missions get repetitive very quickly, the voice acting is awkward and there’s practically no story, and even the swinging isn’t amazing. However, the experience is short enough to where the problems don’t really get too irritating. Also, the swinging is just good enough to make any Spidey fan smile. Far From Home VR is just another movie-licensed VR experience that doesn’t really bring much to the table, but it let me live out my childhood dream of putting on the mask and freely swinging around myself, and that’s pretty special.
Spider-Man: Far From Home VR may not offer much longevity, but that’s okay. Swinging through the New York skyline as the web-slinger himself is surreal, and that is more than enough to make this experience worth playing. The time trials and combat challenges are a nice distraction, but they get repetitive quickly, and after completing the handful of them in the game and finding the Spidey-Tokens, there isn’t much to do but swing. The story is paper-thin and the performances are stilted. Despite its many shortcomings, Far From Home VR is very much worth checking out, especially for the low price of free.
- Web swinging in VR
- Much deeper than Homecoming VR
- Barebones combat
- Bad performances
- Repetitive missions