REVIEW: Zero Latency Dublin - A Multiplayer Free Roam VR Experience
When it comes to virtual reality, the team here in TheEffect.Net HQ have tried pretty much all forms. We’ve played with Google Cardboard all the way up to testing out The VOID experience in London. Needless to say, we’re big fans of the medium so, when we heard that a brand new VR experience was coming to Ireland, we knew we had to try it out.
Described as a ‘multiplayer free roam VR experience’, Zero Latency Dublin officially opens its door to the public on Wednesday, March 6th but we were lucky enough to test it out earlier this week and here’s what we made of it.
Set Up & ‘Training’
Located in Sandyford Business Park, Co. Dublin, the venue is pretty easy to get to either by car or by taking the Green Luas line. Upon arrival, you’re asked to set up a profile via the dedicated tablet kiosks and from here, you’re brought into the training room.
Out of three game modes currently available, we decided to go with ‘Singularity’ which is described as ‘an immersive space-themed 30-minute shooter experience were you explore a space station to seek out and destroy robots, killer drones, and gun turrets’.
The other two modes on offer include:
- Engineerium & Zombie Survival: This mode is made up of two distinct experiences with ‘Engineerium’ described as a family-friendly 15 minute walking adventure and puzzle experience set on a fantastical ancient alien world and ‘Zombie Survival’ described as a more intense 15-minute shooter game in an undead-themed setting where you are caught in a zombie outbreak and need to destroy the undead hordes while they wait for help to arrive.
- Outbreak Origins: This game is described as a 30 minute multilevel next gen zombie shooter with advanced storytelling, ultra-realistic zombies and an epic final boss battle.
I must add that each game session can accommodate up to 8 people so groups larger than this will be broken up accordingly to fit into sessions.
Once in the training room, you’ll be briefed by your ‘Games Master’ on various health and safety aspects you need to be aware of before entering the arena along with a rundown on how to use the weapons, depending on the game mode you choose. You’ll also be kitted out with the Alienware Backpack PCs, OSVR HDK 2.0 headsets and Razer microphone and headphones, all of which can be adjusted to fit properly.
From the training room, you’ll be brought into the main arena which is 200 metres squared of pure Star Trek Holodeck goodness.
It’s here we were asked to don our VR headsets and our Games Master handed us our weapons. The guns themselves resemble pump action shotguns and have a nice heft to them. The backpack themselves aren’t actually that heavy though, even when you consider just how much tech they have packed into them, and the headsets can be adjusted so they sit just right on your head.
Once we took our places in the virtual lobby, our Games Master launched the game and transported us to a neon soaked spaceship which was being over run by killer robots with giant blades for arms. Immediately, myself and my colleague Tony realised the importance of communication and, using the microphones on our headsets, we were quickly deciding battle tactics to take on the hoards of robots charging towards us.
The headsets themselves have impressive visual clarity and the earphones use spatial audio technology meaning, when your colleague is physically standing to your right and speaking into their microphone, their voice will be played into your right ear, which is a great feature to help you position where everyone is in the room.
You can also see your fellow teammates in the virtual worlds you’re inhabiting and, utilising the 64 sensors and camera mounted in the ceiling and walls, you’ll also be alerted when you’re getting too close to either the walls of the arena or your fellow players which is a logical yet very clever safety feature.
Throughout our play-through of the ‘Singularity’ game mode, we were lead into various virtual rooms, down virtual ramps and across virtual walkways, all of which looked incredibly realistic and believable, even to the point where my colleague Tony had serious difficulty crossing a virtual walk way across a large chasm.
The production quality for this particular mode was very impressive and the ability to walk, duck and lean around the various environments was incredibly immersive and we’ve never experienced anything like it before.
After 30 mins of gameplay, the game finished up and we were allowed to raise our headsets. From the arena, we were lead into the exclusive Zero Latency lounge for our ‘debrief’ which has a very cool ‘Matrix-style’ aesthetic to it.
Here we got to see a detailed breakdown of our stats and who scored the most points, earned the most kills and so on. Seeing your place on the overall leaderboard for whatever particular game you play is also a great incentive to go back and try and get an even better score next time.
Each session costs €39 per person, which, on the surface, can seem quite steep but when you take into consideration the amount of tech being utilised to deliver these experiences and how incredibly immersive the whole thing is, we definitely think it’s worth it. Hopefully, down the line, a loyalty scheme could be introduced to allow die-hard VR fans return at a reduced cost to try and top the scoreboards of each of the games.
Having entered Zero Latency with high expectations, we weren’t disappointed with the experience overall. The quality of the equipment, games and visuals are all top notch and the premium price point is more than justified. This is the best virtual reality experience we’ve tried to date and any true VR enthusiast needs to experience Zero Latency at least once.
We can’t wait to see what new game types are brought to the experience and, having seen the recent rollout of various 2, 3 and 4 PVP (player versus player) modes in Zero Latency’s homeland of Australia, we look forward to testing them out here in Dublin.
One final note on the overall experience and a nice touch for those ‘stats nerds’ out there. Once you finished your game, you’ll be emailed a detailed report of how you got on during your session which is great fun to compare with your friends as you leave the venue.
Overall, we were extremely impressed with what Zero Latency VR is capable of. Being huge gamers here on the site, we’re always looking for the ‘next big thing’ to come to Irish shores and, well, this is it!
You can learn more about Zero Latency VR and book your own session on ZeroLatencyVR.ie.