For the last three weeks, I’ve been sinking my teeth into Vampire: The Masquerade — Justice on the Meta Quest 3 and PSVR 2. It’s the first VR entry into the fabled series that takes place in the wider World of Darkness universe, and it gets a lot of things right.
That’s no surprise, given that it’s from veteran VR developer Fast Travel Games, and this well-respected developer isn’t the only one with a new title just in time for Spooky Season. Vertigo Games just released The 7th Guest VR, a reboot of a 90s classic, and unveiled the first gameplay trailer for Arizona Sunshine 2, the follow-up to one of the most well-known classic VR games.
Plus, Schell Games just unveiled the first gameplay trailer for its spooky new game Silent Slayer: Vault of the Vampire. It looks a bit like if you took the classic board game Operation and combined it with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s a bizarre yet lovable twist on the classic Schell Games puzzle game formula, which is present in some of the best Meta Quest games like I Expect You To Die 3.
And there’s plenty more where that came from, too. Scaring isn’t just for Halloween, but this is certainly a great place to start!
Gore at the core
There’s no doubt that many Halloween fans are also fans of gory horror movies. The two certainly go hand in hand at festivals and Halloween-themed Comic Cons, so it makes sense that an appropriately-themed game would focus on some of the same qualities.
If that’s the case, you’re in for a treat with the new Arizona Sunshine 2 trailer. In this sequel to one of VR’s first really big games, you’re on a mission to find patient zero and eradicate their existence for all time.
As the protagonist boldly claims in the trailer, killing patient zero won’t undo all the damage done to the world, but it sure as heck will feel like getting some kind of justice.
My gosh, I cannot wait to get back to the desert and play alongside some friends. Some of my fondest memories of early VR systems include Arizona Sunshine’s co-op mode. I have such a vivid recollection of defending the saloon from zombies with my best friend, as if we really were in the midst of an apocalypse.
It really is incredible what VR can do to memories and experiences.
Plus, this game seems aimed to redefine how much gore you can create in a VR game. One hands-on with the game confirms that the dismemberment system rivals that of Dead Island 2 — a game that already set records for video game gore — and a brilliant new zombie generation system ensures that you won’t be fighting zombies that all look the same.
Seems like they learned a lot from the original and the pseudo-sequel, After the Fall.
But how about something you can play a little sooner? Vampire: The Masquerade — Justice is launching on November 2 and will take you to the iconic alleys and waterways of Venice. You’ll always be playing at night since you’re in the shoes of a vampire — that’s to say, the undead type of vampire, not the sparkly kind.
As the first VR entry of the classic series — plus the fact that it’s developed by well-respected VR developer Fast Travel Games — there are some seriously high expectations of what’s in store for gamers. Thankfully, the game meets some of those expectations but changes up the formula a bit to make it feel like a new game, not just a port of an existing game.
Justice is a game that feels like it would fit very much in the middle of the early 2000s era of stealth games. Level design and enemy AI feel very similar to these types of games, with linear levels that present somewhat open stealth/combat areas every so often.
Between each of these areas, you’ll typically find a modicum of secrets and ways to satiate your vampire hunger gauge. None of the enemies feel particularly smart or well aware of their surroundings, but some players will find that fun as it makes you feel more like a powerful vampire instead of someone playing a VR game.
The obvious downside here is that you won’t likely ever be surprised at the enemy’s intelligence level. This isn’t relegated just to VR games — I’m looking at you, Spider-Man 2 on PS5 — and most enemy encounters are typically solved by either shooting them with a sleeping dart or distracting them so you can sneak up and drink their blood.
The game can definitely be gory, and the language and level of violence plants it squarely in the Mature category. Plus, the narrative and number of choices players can make in the game make it feel a little bit more like playing a proper RPG with choices and consequences than reliving the original Metal Gear Solid with a different theme.
Nonetheless, the theme isn’t something we’ve seen much of in VR, and despite a few really annoying missions you’ll have to trudge through, I found myself regularly compelled to play the game to see what happened next in the story.
Coffins, dark halls, and cracked walls
Drop Dead: The Cabin debuted around Halloween last year, and the game is back in the spotlight for another Halloween thanks to the latest mixed reality update for the Meta Quest 3. The concept behind The Cabin’s MR mode is interesting enough, but it reaches new heights when you take your headset somewhere else.
That’s because the game can use the area around you to create a unique playspace. Windows and doors will appear on walls (or in existing doorways and over windows), and some enemies will even break through the walls to get to you.
At its core, Drop Dead: The Cabin is a wave shooter that sees you and one other friend trying to escape a haunted cabin in the woods. But what if that cabin is your actual home or, as this one video shows, an abandoned mansion that succumbed to fire long ago?
This kind of unique gameplay experience is one of the many ways mixed reality can take existing concepts and make them interesting again just by changing up where the action happens. If you’ve got a Quest 3 and think you’ll enjoy mowing down waves of zombies, you owe it to yourself to give this one a try.
Plus, the base game just got updated with Quest 3-enhanced visuals, so you know you’re playing the best version of an already fantastic game.
Another game you can consider is Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord, which just dropped on the Quest store for $35, and is a delightful experience if you can rope some friends in on the action. This 4-player co-op ghost-busting game puts you in the shoes of an officer of the newly formed San Francisco ghostbusting unit.
As you might imagine, things go awry on your first mission, and the Ghost Lord escapes, signaling the return of harmful ghosts and poltergeists to San Francisco’s shores for the first time in decades.
Armed with your Proton Pack and hip-mounted ghost traps, you’ll embark on one of four possible missions to build up your repertoire and earn coin to upgrade your equipment, all in hopes of eventually becoming powerful enough to catch the Ghost Lord and end his reign of terror on the iconic city.
I’ve been playing with my fellow writer, Chris Wedel, who will be handling the review for us in a few days. Until then, though, if you’re not afraid of ghosts and are ready to capture them with friends, this is your best bet.
Plus, if you’ve got a Meta Quest 3, there’s a mixed-reality ghostbusting game mode that’s exclusive to the headset. You might be alone on this one, but you can embark on the adventure from the comfort of your living room. Just don’t mind the giant hole the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man blows in your ceiling!
And last but certainly not least is the first gameplay trailer for Silent Slayer: Vault of the Vampire. Schell Games is a master of puzzle and escape room games, and that expertise clearly shines in this brilliantly scary trailer for the studio’s next game.
As a famed vampire hunter, your goal is to end these undead beasts once and for all by killing them in the only way possible: splitting their hearts with a stake.
As you might imagine, a vampire is far too powerful to take on in normal combat — Vampire: The Masquerade above will tell you that much — so it only makes sense to take them on while they sleep. But you didn’t think sneaking up on an otherwise immortal being would be that easy, would you?
What transpires reminds me a lot of the classic board game Operation, where you have to weave your tools around an elaborate series of traps that mean certain death if you were to trip any of them.
Plus, the narration, sound effects, and the inevitable jump scares that await make this look like an incredibly fun game to play with a group of friends. The game doesn’t have a final release date just yet but you can preorder it at the Quest store for when it does come out in early 2024.
Every game here can be played on the Meta Quest 3, the best VR console around. Plus, you’ll only get mixed reality experiences like Drop Dead: The Cabin on Meta’s latest headset thanks to a more powerful processor and high resolution cameras on the front.