[PlayStation VR] Paper Beast Review

by the_nmac

Paper Beast from the mind of Eric Chahi is finally here for you to enjoy. Is his new game a great and worthwhile journey into another world? Find out in Paper Beast review!

Paper Beast is a playful exploration game set in a colorful ecosystem born out of big data. Undertake a virtual journey of discovery through an immersive and poetic gameplay experience.

Somewhere deep down in the vast memory of a data server, an ecosystem has emerged. Decades of lost code and forgotten algorithms have accumulated in the eddies and flows of the internet. A small bubble of life has blossomed. Paper Beast is born.

Paper Beast comes from the mind of Eric Chahi, best known for his 2D classic adventure Another World, which was well ahead of its time. In Another World, you are a human accidentally transported to an unknown alien planet where everyone and everything wants to kill you, and you need to do your best to survive. It was one of the first games to try and use 3D polygons in a 2D adventure setting. I got a chance to revisit it a few years ago when it was re-released and was reminded of the brilliance of it, especially for what was on the Super Nintendo at the time. I’m so glad I got a chance to go back and play that, because while Paper Beast is completely different, so many of the themes feel similar.

Paper Beast Review - 1

Paper Beast starts in the weirdest way I could have possibly imagined. In fact, I thought I had turned on the wrong game for a few minutes, as I had loud pop music plating, and was asked to use the controllers to grab and throw some floating morphing ballons around. They would pop, and more would come, and it was completely out of left field. Then it happened. The game glitches out… sort of. Next, you are in a red tent with a radio playing the music. I started to pull away from the red curtains, and I was in a desert! As I continued to remove the red curtains, I noticed that the thing holding up the curtains was the skeleton of a creature. Then it started moving… the whole structure started moving! It turns out it wasn’t a skeleton, but a living creature, and it just started to walk away. Once I started to familiarize myself with the controls – thanks to a quick tutorial – I started to follow the creature.

The reason I’m talking about the opening sequence in such detail is to give you an idea of what you are getting yourself into. You are a stranger, suddenly transported to a unique alien world, and you now need to explore it. After this, I don’t want to spoil things since Paper Beast is a very story-heavy, surrealist experience that you have to take on your own. There isn’t a major story, per se, but you are seeing and experiencing how everything in this world reacts to one another. Whenever you come upon a new creature, you will need to observe it in its habitat and see what it does, because everything has something to do! At that point, you’ll need to figure out how you can use it to your advantage so that you can continue with your odyssey on this world. It’s really such a unique experience on PlayStation VR that it helped me to look at the platform in a very different way.

Paper Beast Review - 2

Paper Beast uses teleportation as the way you move you around the world. It’s my preferred method of movement on PlayStation VR, and in here it felt great. You can pick up things by aiming your controller at them and lift them up with ease. You can bring them closer to you or push them farther away. It makes solving the puzzles fairly straightforward – for the most part. I was really impressed by the control scheme and how seamlessly it worked on PS VR.

Once you are done with the Paper Beast Campaign Mode, you then have the Sandbox Mode to discover and explore. This was a game-changer for me in PS VR. I have seen some other titles try to have “God Mode” of sorts, but no other game has managed to present something like Paper Beast. You are treated to a vast ecosystem that you can mold. Terraform the world adding mountains, add water to create lakes, then zoom in from your place up in the sky and go right to ground level, and start placing the creatures you saw during the Campaign Mode into the world that you’ve created.

Paper Beast PS VR Review - 3

Once you create something and add more elements to the world, you can watch them interact with each other. Prey will be hunted, day will turn into night, and you’ll see how things change when you’re not there. No matter what area of the world you are in that you’ve created, everything else is still going on around you. Honestly, it’s an amazing addition to the game that I didn’t expect and something that honestly made me want to show it to my friends so that they can see what PlayStation VR can do when a developer dives in and does something interesting with the platform.

Visually, Paper Beast looks fantastic, as all of the creatures in the world look like some sort of masterful papercraft creatures. Some resemble creatures you’ve seen in our world, and others fell like something someone would dream up when high on life. The team did a fantastic job creating a world as thrilling as this one, offering a varied experience from start to finish. It’s one of the most unique worlds I’ve explored on PlayStation VR, and that is saying quite a bit!

Paper Beast PS VR Review - 4

Final Thoughts

Paper Beast is such an interesting game. The campaign is super cool and mind-bending in ways that I didn’t think possible, while, at the same time, offering a robust sandbox mode, doing things on PlayStation VR that other games have tried, but that none have nailed quite as well. Play Paper Beast now. Show it to your friends, and let them experience its magical world.

This Paper Beast review is based on a PlayStation VR copy provided by Pixel Reef.

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