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XING: The Land Beyond

Posted by GG Goblin On March - 18 - 2019

An AmaXING Journey.

 
Being relatively new to the VR revolution, I am still quite in awe of the PSVR games that I have played. Being able to interact with things in a way that is far more immersive than simply staring at a screen and pressing buttons is still blowing my mind. However, what impresses me more than anything else is the chance to explore and experience whole new worlds without leaving my living room. Even the simplest “VR experience” can fully immerse the player in a world they may never experience outside of VR, and the more complex worlds that include puzzles and interactions are a whole new level of immersion. My most recent experience with White Lotus Interactive’s XING: The Land Beyond, a game which I had never heard of and so had no preconceived notions of, presented me with one of these worlds, or a number of worlds to be precise, and surprised me as one of the best PSVR games that I have played so far. What’s more, XING can be played without VR, so good times for all.

 
xing1 (Copy)

 
XING: The Land Beyond is a first-person puzzle adventure in which the player will find themselves having to explore a number of beautiful worlds while solving puzzles and collecting pieces of different stories in order to progress to the next. The gameplay is not too dissimilar to games like Myst, which to me spells the perfect formula for a PlayStation VR game.

 
XING is made up of four different main stories, each of which the player will have to put together in a different world. The story is that the player is dead, and seems to be stuck in some kind of Limbo. The player will have to head through a portal and discover the story of another lost soul. Once complete, the player will move onto the next, and so forth. Each story will reveal details and information about the spirit concerned and are presented in the form of narration by that spirit and written messages. The tales are all emotional and touching, giving the player reason to seek out all of the snippets as they progress. The writing is very well done and comes together nicely in the game, and is helped by the excellent voice work that really seems to capture the atmosphere.

 
xing2 (Copy)

 
This is no walking simulator though, as players will have to work their way through increasingly difficult puzzles as the game moves on. Each world brings its own theme and thus its own puzzle variations. Most of the puzzles revolve around various environmental factors, such as being able to freeze water or make it rain to present new paths, and the way that the puzzles are sometimes integrated into the stories, giving the player hints or direction, makes paying attention and fully immersing into the world all the more essential. The puzzles range from simple to quite devilish, but are all made more entertaining in VR.

 
The different worlds are a real highlight of the game, made to be quite visually stunning. Even in the low resolution of the PSVR, the worlds look beautiful and it is difficult to not just stop and look around every few minutes. There is no real threat in the game, and so players are able to take their time and explore at their own pace. Outside of VR, the game looks even better, especially for those with a PS4 Pro as the game can have improved visuals or frame rate as the player chooses.

 
Another good reason for the more relaxed pace is that the game includes a number of collectibles that may require the player to leave the most obvious route to find. These can unlock further bonus chapters, some of which simply tell stories, while others present their own mini worlds with puzzles. I take my hat off to White Lotus Interactive for making a VR game that actually runs for a decent time, almost hitting double figures in game time, which is more than most VR titles.

 
xing3 (Copy)

 
But then, XING is not just a PSVR game as it can be played normally as well. In fact, the developers seem to have gone out of their way to make XING as inclusive as possible. Not only do players have the choice of playing in VR or on the TV, but they can also choose to use the regular controller or the Move controllers. Using the Move controllers allows for better manipulation of objects, but then movement is slower than with the DualShock 4. Each control method has its pros and cons, and players with access to both would do well to try each and find their own favourite. When it comes to nausea, the game gives the player a choice of either smooth movement or snap movement with various degrees of motion. Obviously the snap movement is less vomit inducing than smooth, but the game still made me feel a little janky after a short time.

 
Speaking of janky, XING is not without the occasional issue. Small graphical glitches and the occasional bug crop up from time to time, but don’t really impact on the gameplay too much. The big problem was a saving glitch that seemed to cause players to lose large amounts of progress. While I haven’t experienced this problem myself, and the problem is apparently now fixed with a recent patch, I can fully understand it being enough to put players off. For me though, it has been quite smooth sailing.

 
xing4 (Copy)

 
XING: The Land Beyond is a first-person puzzle adventure that is playable both in VR and on the screen. Playing without the VR works well and will give the player a pleasant puzzle solving experience with some touching stories thrown in. However, popping on the PSVR headset will transport players to beautiful worlds that are ripe for exploration. The game is quite laid back, and lasts for far longer than most VR games. With plenty of options for how to play the game, XING is a fully inclusive PS4 title that truly shines in PSVR. XING: The Land Beyond is a great game that all PSVR players should check out.

 

 ★★★★★★★★½☆ 



 

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