Green Hell VR on PC offers a much more authentic and demanding experience than the Quest Edition, although that doesn’t necessarily make it better for everyone. Read on for our Green Hell VR PC review!
You know Green Hell VR is doing something right when I say it’s a very frustrating game. It turns out that getting lost in the jungle, shrouded in endless vegetation, covered in leeches and dying of thirst is no walk in the park. Your miles with Incuvo’s usually excellent port of the Creepy Jar flat screen game will depend on how much you enjoy that punishment.
But first, let’s summarize the rather unique situation with Green Hell VR. This is actually the second edition of the game to be ported to headsets from Incuvo. The other, Green Hell for Quest, was released earlier this year and featured a stripped-down edition designed specifically for the standalone headset. It was a logical move that made for a much more accessible and welcoming game that was ideally suited to the platform.
Green Hell VR on PC, meanwhile, is almost enough the fat experience; a one-to-one conversion of the original game with the full map, story, and set of items to craft. The only thing that’s missing is co-op support, although this will come in a future update.
This is without a doubt the more demanding of the two ports. Green Hell VR on PC has more threats to face and the bigger world makes it much easier to keep walking in circles. It’s much more common to spend long gameplay sessions feeling like you’re not really getting anywhere, wondering where to go and looking for scarce sources of water and food that won’t poison you.
But this is, in all fairness, the original Green Hell experience, and anyone disappointed in the streamlined Quest version will be happy with how closely this edition of the game matches the flat screen. If you give Green Hell VR on PC the time and dedication it takes to master its jaw-dropping systems, you’ll be richly rewarded.
The basics of any survival game apply here. Stranded in the rainforest, you must search for food and water to appease the shrinking meters, build simple structures at first that allow you to cook and sleep safely, and explore more of your environment, defending yourself against various threats. But Green Hell isn’t just about surviving as long as possible – there’s a full story here where you look for a way to escape and anyone who doesn’t opt for the more general, last-man-standing survival approach will appreciate this option (and for the last camp there is also a default survival mode).
Judging by the pace and complexity of its systems alone, Green Hell was already a success. Creepy Jar nailed the survival loop the first time around, and the same grueling sense of reward you got from gradually discovering new crafting recipes and expanding a vast list of threats and remedies is alive and well here. It’s also a meaty game with over 10 hours for the main campaign.
When it comes to the VR integration, a range of smart UI choices, physical interactions, and that touch of immersive magic really help improve the game. Green Hell VR properly borrows features from other VR games, such as The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners’ body-based inventory and backpack system, combined with just a touch of Boneworks’ heavy controls. Axes must be wielded forcefully to cut down trees, for example, and spears can be hurled through the jungle with sufficient force.
However, the best ideas are those of Incuvo itself. You could take away the whole rest of the game and just leave me with a spear to fish in rivers and lakes and I would have told you this was one of the best VR experiences of the year. There’s something utterly hypnotic about standing patiently like a statue as the water streams down your ankles, ready to plunge your spear into an unsuspecting stingray as it approaches you. It’s a living, electric moment that really gets to the heart of why you should play a survival game in VR, and there are many similar examples everywhere.
However, not every element of the VR experience is in favor of the game. While I appreciate the desire to bring the entire original game into headsets, the port doesn’t seem to recognize that traversal on a flat screen and in VR are two very different things, and walking through the jungle with a sea of giant leaves and grass obscuring your opinion is much more annoying here. Combat is also difficult to understand and often ends with mindlessly wiping a predator away without really realizing if you are having any effect.
But when you first see the morning mist winding through the bamboo as the sun’s rays penetrate the riverbank, it’s hard not to think of Green Hell VR as a miracle.
That is to say, the game is beautiful – diverse and opulent in every way you’d expect, with its beauty often serving as a lure for lurking dangers. This has always been a game of gruesome delights and never has it been more true in VR as you inspect sickly red spots along your legs or wrap bandages around seeping cuts. It’s also a technical beast, with every tree ready to be felled and every item waiting to be picked up. If you’ve been looking for a new VR game that goes beyond the performance capabilities of standalone hardware, this will be more than satisfying.
That said, it definitely feels like a lot more could have been done to help with performance for those who need it. Even on low graphics settings with a 3070 Ti I’d still get some stuttering and lag in this version of the game, but it never compromises in terms of the sheer amount of interactive items and vegetation around you. This is fine for those with the rigs to deal with, but it would also be great to get a mode that reduces the number of superficial items like leftover bottles and vases that aren’t actually used. At the very least, I’d welcome the option of removing this one from the game world myself for the sake of performance.
Green Hell VR PC Review – Final Impressions
Green Hell VR is easily one of the most impressive VR conversions we’ve seen, standing next to the Quest Edition as Incuvo’s best work to date. It’s a no-compromise experience that retains the masochistic more-ish survival gameplay, while cleverly translating many of the original’s core features into VR. If you want the best translation of Creepy Jar’s brutal experience into VR, this is the way to go.
But sticking so closely to the original doesn’t necessarily make the PC VR version of the game superior to the Quest edition. Dense jungles might be easy to trek through on a flat screen, but it’s much more tedious in VR, and some of the concessions Quest makes in this regard end up being a better fit for the platform. The good news is, whether you want an in-depth, demanding survival game with complex systems, or a more welcoming conversion that takes more VR design into account, there’s a version of Green Hell VR for you.
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