Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR has been in the works seemingly for ages, but one major question has gone unanswered until now: just how does the game’s parkour work?
If you’ve played pretty much any existing Assassin’s Creed game, you’ll know that doing parkour is largely a matter of holding down a button, then pointing in the direction you want to go. If there’s a wall in front of you, your character will find hand-holds and start climbing. If you’re running across the rooftops and reach a ledge, your character will leap to a building across the street and find a hold. If there’s a series of pilings in front of you, you’ll hop up onto the first one and leap from one to the next.
I recently got a chance to check out a build of Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR for the first time on Quest 3, and I was really curious how parkour would work… and, well, it’s pretty much the same deal as the non-VR games, but there’s an interesting twist.
Basically anything that can be done with your legs—like leaping across rooftops or from platform to platform—is done with the kind of ‘automatic’ parkour approach found in the non-VR games. Hold a button and point in the direction you want to go.
But most things done with your hands—like grabbing ledges or climbing up walls—require you to reach out and actually grab the world like you’d expect from a VR climbing game.
I initially didn’t know how I’d feel about parkour being so automatic in a VR rendition of the game, but as I played Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR more I began to see promise.
The game is very clearly built upon the parkour systems and structures that are core to the franchise. And that means you can expect a pretty dense set of possible routes, comprised of many different things to climb, clamber, or bound across. The system that determines where you intend to go is pretty impressive and unrestrictive.
Coming to see the world as more than just the ground around you, and then moving fluidly through newly identified routes, is central to the fantasy that Assassin’s Creed games aim to deliver. Doing all of that locomotion in a VR-native way could easily lead to cognitive overload for the player, or require slowing down the game’s sense of momentum.
Striking a balance between ‘automatic’ moves, and those you have to do with your hands, could really be a good solution to keep the game interesting in VR without losing that signature sense of fluidity.
And you might be wondering… why haven’t I said anything about comfort? Well, in the short period that I got to actually do parkour in the game, I didn’t notice any overt comfort issues, which honestly kind of surprised me, especially as I was bobbing up and down while leaping from one piling to the next, or from one rooftop to another. The game wasn’t even using blinders in my demo.
But I’ll need a lot more time with the game to truly feel out how Assassin’s Creed parkour pans out in the VR context, both in gameplay and longer term comfort. But for now I’m certainly intrigued.
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We’ll know more—like how the game’s combat and other major systems work—soon enough; Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR launches November 16th on Quest 2, 3, and Pro.